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The Immortal takes place in the "labyrinth of eternity", where the player's character (who is never named) is looking for his long lost master Mordamir.
The game has several playing aspects to it; one of which is just basic exploring, as the player moves their wizard around from chamber to chamber, picking up and/or using and buying the occasional item from a merchant who appears a few times during the game, gathering information through dialog with other characters and from dreams the wizard has when he sleeps on piles of straw.
Another aspect of the game involves one-on-one combat, which each character (the player's and the enemy's) has vitality and fatigue meters; attack the other character for too long, and that character's fatigue level rises, giving the other character the ability to attack them up to several times in succession. Combat does not end until one of the characters dies (once their vitality level reaches the bottom of the screen, which decreases with every hit they take from an enemy).
Also, the game has a puzzle aspect to it as well, as there are several items that need to be used a certain way and situations that need to be performed in a certain order for the player to advance through the game in order to hopefully beat it.
In the first room when a new game has been started, if the player approaches the onscreen table, a vision of Mordamir appears from its candle, proclaiming of how Dunric must save him, as he is trapped many levels below, although Dunric is not the character's name.
Upon exiting the room, a man named Ulindor will be met, who the player can help defeat a goblin he is in battle with. He tells you of helping Mordamir and gives some information (as well as an item) about the dungeon and all before disappearing.
Also in this level is a slain fighter (with some items on him), a room which sets off flying arrows once the player steps on a wrong floor tile, an enemy known as shades, pit traps, and a huge, impassible crater in the last room with a ladder and a puzzle in regards to revealing the exit to level two.
Immediately upon entering this level are two fast-moving slime creatures that will kill the player if they make contact with them. The player also makes their first connection with a merchant, along with encountering four will 'o the wisps, several goblin guards defending their king, a troll, a grumpy stonecutter, and several pentagrams in the last room that have a puzzle that is needed to be solved to open up the entrance to level 3.
There is a big chasm/chamber separated into two parts once the player enters this level. There are also fights going on in between goblins and trolls, a room full of spikes that appear from the floor, fireballs shooting from walls in a room, another puzzle to solve to be able to enter level 4, and the goblin king that seemed to have died on level two reappears and tells of the war going on between his people and the trolls.
Immediately upon entering this level, the player is attacked by a troll, but Ulindor -- who is standing several feet behind -- kills it, saying that you and he are now even and gives you some information/a warning about further dangers in the level (along with giving you an item). There are fireballs that shoot from the walls again, floor torches, trolls, goblins, giant worms are a danger (if a certain action is not taken), and Ana, Dunric's daughter, is in the level and gives a clue to solving the puzzle (if a certain action is performed correctly) to escape from the level.
Once this level begins, a goblin approaches, says his chief wants to talk to the player, which they discuss (/further the plot of) the problem with a fountain of youth that used to have a plentiful amount of water, but unfortunately there is only a trickle of that water left. A norlac -- a water monster -- guards access to the water, along with the player's need of accessing the lower levels of the dungeon, so the player is going to have to lure the norlac away so one of the goblins can open a sluice gate to drain the water and be rid of the monster.
The merchant from level 2 also appears again, there are also small dragons to contend with, a hallway that appears to lead to nowhere, trolls, possibly worms, slime, and a pentagram puzzle to continue to level 6 to deal with.
This level is very sparse in chambers; the first one has spider webs everywhere with only two crawlholes leading to another room. Occasionally the legs of a giant spider can be seen emerging from one of the crawlhole tubes, tugging at parts of the web.
Taking a tube into the next room reveals more spider webs and egg sacs, the giant spider, and a ladder leading to another chamber. That room leads to one last hallway of webs and egg sacs, along with a ladder that leads to level 7.
Immediately upon starting the level, a troll stabs a man who is chained to a wall, which turns out to be Dunric. In an exchange of dialog, he reveals that Mordamir actually isn't being held captive after all and that he kidnapped Ana.
Once the player climbs down to the room below, Ulindor appears once more, but engages in a fight with the player once he realizes Dunric told him the truth behind it all, telling the player that he would have to kill him, that it was "Mordamir's orders".
If the player is able to defeat Ulindor, they finally will happen upon the water-filled area with the norlac that the goblins told about back on level 5. The player must lure the norlac to the whirlpool at the other side of the area (when the player entered this area, they climbed onto a barrel and had been using their staff as a paddle); meanwhile a goblin will appear and start to activate the sluice gate to drain the water.
If the player is able to make it to the whirlpool before the norlac catches and kills them, the player will then be transported to the final level.
This final level only has three rooms, one of which appears to be totally empty. If the player performs the correct action, they will find themselves in a cavern with a dragon, which will attack the player several times. The player has to use several spells to survive the attacks, which, if done correctly, Mordamir will appear and demand for the player to "read the words" to obliterate the dragon once and for all, which he has been waiting to do so for a thousand years, as the dragon destroyed a civilization Mordamir lived in.
Mordamir then begins to attack the player, which, if the player performs a series of steps correctly, will not only keep himself alive, but he will also strip Mordamir of his only protection against the dragon, who will send Mordamir to a fiery death, then descend back into the cavern's depths. A rope ladder will then appear and Ana and the player's character will ascend out of the cavern, thus ending the game.
Note: the player only gets one life here, rather than the usual three.
- The game also had ports to the NES, PC, Apple IIGS, Amiga, and Atari ST.
- Due to the game's difficulty, a walkthrough of the entire first level, along with notes, illustrations, and hints for all levels (except for the last one) were included in the instruction manual (the "Codex of the Serpent" section), along with a separately sold The Immortal cluebook giving a walkthrough of the entire game was available for a while after the game's release.
- Many games from Electronic Arts came with a fold-out poster/catalog included in the package, advertising many of the company's other products. The box of The Immortal on at least one of these promos showed drawings representing several of the death scenes as part of the front cover. It is unknown if this was changed or if the released product had more than one cover available. A t-shirt was also sold from the company, again illustrating several of the deaths on the front, along with a second design on the back.
- The game came with a sticker on the box, warning of its "gruesome fantasy violence" content when it was initially released.
- There is what could be a continuity error in the last level: once the player falls into the pit trap, their staff will break in two and their character will fall down and land onto a rock slab below, yet their staff somehow becomes instantly whole again once the wizard gets back up.
- The game has an alternate ending: if the player does not give Ana her ring in level 4, once the game is beaten, the ending is the same, except for a goblin rescues the player at the end.
- The Immortal came out before video games had an established rating system, although it was during the time when there were ongoing talks/complaints in regards to the subject (via parental groups, politicians, etc.). This game, however, somehow seemed to slip under the radar, as Mortal Kombat was usually named whenever the subject of future game ratings was brought up at the time in the media.