The country of Verdite has descended into decay. Its royal family began practicing dark magic, guided by evil forces lurking beneath the surface of the country. A remote descendant of the cursed bloodline, Zoela Reinhardt, married the captain of the king's guards, Houser Forester. This valiant man went off to fight horrifying creatures that appeared within the Royal Cemetery. He has not returned, and neither did anyone who accompanied him. His son, John Alfred, ventured into the depths of the cemetery, determined to find out what has happened and whether there was still a chance to rescue his father.
The original King's Field is the first of the first-person fantasy RPG King's Field series and is notable for being one of the first fully polygonal 3D games. It was released in Japan weeks after the launch of the PlayStation, and never localized or released elsewhere. When King's Field II was later released in the West, it was renamed King's Field for those regions. The journey takes John Alfred Forester through a five-level dungeon populated by a few friendly NPCs and deadly traps and monsters. The entire world, including objects, enemies, and the player's own equipment, is rendered with 3D textured polygons.
The player collects gold and items from slain enemies, and can purchase weapons and spells at two shops located within the dungeon. Weapons and magic are assigned to different buttons so the player can easily attack with both, however, recharging action bars for each prevent rapidly spamming attacks. Skills and stats increase with use, and items can be bought or collected that raise specific stats when used (green Verdite stones raise magic, for example). The final boss can only be defeated with magic, encouraging players to grind a well-rounded character to a maximum level.
Each level of the dungeon holds enemies more difficult than the last, as well as greater rewards. The game takes place entirely within the narrow walls of the dungeon, with the only "safe" areas on the first floor. Players can save their progress to the memory card by activating crosses mounted on walls throughout the levels.