Ah...I can still remember the good old days of RPGs. In a lot of ways, they were so much better than today's. The character generation meant something. The action was more tactical. They were intricate on a level lacking from most of today's commercial RPGs.
If intricacy is what you're looking for, then look no further than Darklands. It's the penultimate in 'OK, so this means this, and that means that, so if I use with that...where did that come from?' gameplay.
No, no, no; this is not a put down. There are times when you want to play a game that's only limited by your own skill at it. This is especially true of Darklands, with its completely nonlinear gameplay.
Install it, run it, and the choice is yours. Want to wander around the same town for an entire month, slaying the local lowlife? You have your pick of towns. Wander around the countryside and fend of the woods? Be sure to take a sword, you're gonna need it. Or perhaps you'd like to accomplish the games one and only loosely laid out goal: becoming famous. If so, gather your party, strike out for the castle of an evil robber knight, and save the oppressed people!
As pointed out by the previous fan, the game is incredibly historically accurate. And the character creation system is awesome. Do you want to play as a merchant's son? A nobleman? A peasant farmer? An experienced war veteran? A bandit? A clergyman? It's all up to you. What's your history?
But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the game is the 'magic' system. Rather than the traditional 'throw fireball and cast heal' spells, the game uses a myriad of authentic Saints to assist characters. Rather than simply casting a spell, the hero has to pray to a Saint they have knowledge about. And of course the more pious and knowledgeable your chosen hero is, the more likely the prayer will work. A half-hearted plea to the patron saint of hangovers isn't going to help you much when facing down a hoard of angry villagers.
On the down side, a lack of a true goal makes the game lose some of its playability later on, and it can indeed become somewhat repetitive. But this takes a good long time; it'll take longer to get sick of Darklands than it takes to actually finish most other games. Between it's infinite gameplay, true to life game aspects (if you're a history buff, have intimate knowledge of medieval German countryside, and have memorized a book of saints and their prayers, this game is natural for you; and even if you're a historically ignorant, geographically challenged wasp like me, you'll still love it from start to....fame!