The game does not end. However, there are a limited number of quest types available, causing the game to become repetitive after extensive play. This type of gameplay is sometimes called sandbox mode.
The player is free to complete quests that will give them a positive reputation, or to pursue a negative reputation by performing evil deeds. In Darklands your reputation is limited geographically, allowing the player to be simultaneously hated in one region and exalted in another.
Age is a factor in this game. Characters will begin to lose physical prowess (most notably, agility) as they age. However, the older the player is when the character is generated, the more skills and better equipment he or she starts with. A common tactic would be to create very old alchemists / physicians (that came with many nice potions and other equipment) and strip them of their wares, handing them off to younger characters, before casting the aged ones aside.
Real-time with pause combat system. This was very rare in RPGs at the time, though went on to become the standard combat system after being popularized by Baldur's Gate.
Darklands was released by MicroProse with a number of bugs, ranging from minor to major. These included many instances of what would now be called crash-to-desktop (CTD) errors. Additionally, the "character colors bug" results in on-screen characters colors being replaced with random (often bright) colorings.
All the cities that one's party may visit in Darklands are real places that existed in the Holy Roman Empire of the 15th century. Most are in modern-day Germany, but some are in other countries including Denmark, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and Poland. The city names given in the game are old German names of the cities, some of which are now exonyms. The new local names are given in parentheses.
players: single player
input: keyboard, mouse
graphics: EGA, Tandy, VGA
sound: Adlib, Covox, Sound Blaster, Pro Audio Spectrum, Thunderboard, Roland, MIDI
Abandonware DOS popularity: below average