Thursday, January 11, 2018

Game 278: Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon (1991)

I think this is the last time we hear about the "legend series."
      
Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon
United States
Westwood associates (developer); Strategic Simulations, Inc. (publisher)
Released in 1991 for DOS, 1992 for Amiga, 1993 for FM Towns and PC-98
Date Started: 2 January 2018

Eye of the Beholder II was released in the same year as its predecessor, and I have book-ended the year with the two games, but the more important aspect of Darkmoon's positioning is going to be the contrast we see with the first game of 1992, Ultima Underworld. I don't want to spoil my opening paragraphs for Underworld, but let's just say that it loudly sounded the death knell for the very sort of the game that Darkmoon represents. The genre didn't die immediately, of course. We'll still be looking at tile-based games in abstract dungeons into the mid-1990s at least. A whole bunch of them are in the pipeline right now and will be released in 1992, including Might and Magic IV, Wizardry VII, and The Dark Queen of Krynn. These will be fun games. But after Ultima Underworld (and Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM on the action side), no one's going to be complimenting "wall textures" anymore. Any serious developer is going to quickly jettison discrete movement in 10-foot blocks with only four facing positions. Eager players finding Darkmoon under the 1991 Christmas tree don't know it, but we're simultaneously at the apex and end of an era.

I will be sad to see it go. I love the immersive, realistic near-simulation dungeons that Ultima Underworld introduced. But I won't be hand-mapping them. There's something enormously satisfying about my mapping process. I love drawing walls and annotating squares, even though I know I'm recording all this detail for no one. Why do I need to know that this square had a treasure chest when I've already opened it and I'll never be coming back? Who am I making these maps for, exactly? Not you; there are already dozens of examples of the maps online, probably more accurate than I'm making. Not myself; in the unlikely event that I ever play this game a second time, I'll almost certainly throw away the maps and create them anew. But purposeless as they are, I wouldn't dream of not making them. The enticement of one more square, one more room, one more corridor is what turns midnight to 03:30 in what seems like seconds. It's possible that I'm more addicted to mapping than the game itself.
          
The sequel starts with a lightly-animated sequence.
        
Eye of the Beholder II uses essentially the same engine as I, which itself owes a lot to Dungeon Master (1987), the first first-person game to break from the Wizardry template by pairing tiled movement with real-time combat. The system allows a player's digital dexterity to make up for poor character attributes or low levels, which of course has some interesting implications when it's applied to the Dungeons and Dragons rulebook. "Armor class" almost becomes a superfluous concept when the player can just side-step enemy attacks. We've come to call a particular pattern of movement the "combat waltz": attack, side-step, turn, wait for the enemy to walk into the adjacent square, attack again, side-step before he can turn to face you, and so forth until he's dead. You have to have at least a 2 x 2 space to do it, but as long as you don't mess up the pattern, you can eventually slay a titan with a pencil. Although that might not be as possible in Darkmoon for reasons we'll talk about.

Eye of the Beholder had a party of up to 6 characters (a mixture of player-created characters and NPCs) explore the sewers beneath the city of Waterdeep to destroy the threat posed by a beholder. During the process, they found some pretty cool equipment and went from Level 1 to at least Level 7.
          
"...and the three other losers accompanying my friend."
       
The sequel starts with the victorious party enjoying a night in the tavern, when all at once they're summoned to the residence of local archmage Khelben Blackstaff, who tells them that a threat is emerging from nearby Temple Darkmoon. Several people of disappeared in the area, including an archaeologist named Wently Kelso. His journal was discovered by a captain of the city guard, investigating the disappearances, and it describes Kelso's search for a village named Torzac, which had been conquered by the Drow long ago. Khelben sent a scout to investigate Darkmoon, and she never returned. He now asks us to take over the investigation and teleports us to a forest near Darkmoon.
        
Do you think I could get a fireplace like that constructed for my house? For how much?
      
The game gives you the ability to create new characters or to import the victorious party from Eye of the Beholder. (And you can import the four characters you created or any of the NPCs in your party at game's end.) If you create your own, you have the usual AD&D races (human, elf, half-elf, dwarf, gnome, halfling), classes (fighter, ranger, paladin, mage, cleric, thief), attributes (strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, constitution, charisma), and alignments. You have the usual race restrictions, such as only humans can be paladins and only non-humans can be multi-classed. The game uses AD&D second edition for its rules, so there aren't any level caps based on race. You choose a portrait from a small selection.

As usual, you can "modify" your starting attributes "to match a favorite AD&D® character," which of course no one ever used to cheat every attribute to 18 or higher. Re-rolling (or manually modifying) can get you some pretty high hit-point scores, too. I only had to hit "reroll" a few times to get offered 69 hit points for a Level 7 paladin, compared to 55 hit points for the Level 9 paladin I imported.
      
Cheesing up a new party member.
    
An imported party starts with a reasonable advantage in power and a significant advantage in equipment. New characters begin with 69,016 experience points, enough for Level 7 for single-classed characters and Levels 5 or 6 for multi-classed characters. My imported characters started with 179,000 experience points, enough for Levels 8 or 9 for single classes and 7 for multi-classes. The cap in this game is Level 13.
        
As far as I can tell, the only things I lost were "luck stone medallions," plus a bunch of keys and quest items.
           
New characters get some packets of food and potions, plus a mixture of appropriate weapons and armor, most regular, some enchanted at +1. The imported party, on the other hand, starts with almost all of their equipment from the first game, including some very high-leveled magic items. I'll cover what I have below.

My party from Eye of the Beholder consisted of:

  • Starling, a lawful good human female paladin. She has a long sword +5, banded armor +3, regular leather boots, shield, and helmet, and a Ring of Protection +3. Rings of Protection don't seem to stack with magical armor, so shortly after the game started, I gave it to Gaston.
  • Bugsy, a chaotic good dwarf male fighter/thief. His primary weapon is a +5 polearm, but somehow that doesn't stop him from carrying a +1 shield, too. In his inventory, he has a +3 long sword, a +3 axe, a +3 mace, and a spear. I don't know why I'm carrying around so many extra weapons except that it seemed wrong to just drop +3 stuff. He also has a Scepter of Kingly Might, which can be wielded as a weapon, but I have no idea how it compares to other weapons. It doesn't register as magical when I cast "Detect Magic," so maybe it's just useless. Another mystery is a "Ring of Adornment," which is magical but seems to have no effect on statistics.
       
My fighter/thief and some of his inventory.
     
  • Marina, a neutral good elf female mage. She's wearing a magic robe, a helmet, leather boots, Bracers of Protection +2, and a Ring of Wizardry that confers extra spells. There's a long sword +4 in her inventory even though she can't use it. Her weapons are a bunch of daggers and knives that she can throw, including a dagger +3.
  • Gaston, a chaotic good half-elf male ranger/cleric. Oddly, he doesn't have a single magical weapon or armor item, just regular plate mail, helmet, leather boots, and a bow with 21 arrows in the quiver. He's wearing another mysterious Ring of Adornment and a Ring of Feather Fall and an amulet that doesn't even register as magical. He has a bunch of scrolls that I never used from the first game. If I ever need him in melee, he can wield many of the extra weapons that the other characters have, including the swords--I guess his ranger abilities override his cleric restrictions.
      
After I started playing, I checked the original game and saw that many of my magic weapons had names there. My long sword +5, for instance, is called "Severance" there. The import process kept the weapons' pluses but not their names.

The character names come from "Best Picture" nominees for the Academy Awards in 1991. I guess I didn't have room for The Prince of Tides.
         
The small forest map.
      
The game begins within a small forest, which in some reviews gives the game extra credibility for featuring an "outdoor area," but it functionally isn't because the trees serve as "walls" and you can't really roam very far. It's a dungeon with outdoor wall textures. The forest is crawling with dire wolves, which are easy but respawn frequently. In the northeast section of the forest are a bunch of shallow graves which may mark the burials of the recent missing persons; if so, it was awfully nice of their murderers to erect grave markers. A secret passage through one forest path leads to a small underground area with a "Blur" scroll and some magic leather armor.
          
Dire wolves supply grinding opportunities in the forest map.
         
We meet an old woman in the forest who offers to take us to the temple, which is accessible from two different directions. At the temple entrance, we meet two friendly priests named Nadia and Joril, who invite us to stay and relax. Nearby is a troubled woman looking for her lost sister, Calandra. The sisters are probably the two "warrior women" mentioned in Kelso's journal.
          
You just know these guys are evil.
      
It turns out that Nadia and Joril won't let us penetrate far into the temple, so it's clear that we're going to have to kill them to proceed. I don't like the idea of being the aggressor, but fortunately the game solves the problem for me when I accidentally smash some stained-glass windows while fooling around with the controls. The two priests attack and we kill them.
         
I was trying to capture the lightning bolt killing Nadia, but I was a split second late.
      
The map with the temple entrance turns out to be very small--only 17 squares. There are stairways up and down, a teleporter, and something called the "Seal of the Four Winds" that's either a decoration or an actual "seal" we'll have to open later. The stairs up go to a corridor with a guard and two locked doors, neither of which respond to lockpicks.

They were only useful about three times in the first game.
      
The teleporter goes to a small area with an ankh cross and a promise to resurrect slain characters--up to three times.
       
I think those words are antonyms.
      
That leaves the stairway down. It leads to a larger dungeon area with several guards to kill. The game starts to introduce its puzzle conventions, offering keyed doors, levered doors, and doors that open when you weigh down a pressure plate.
          
Weighing down a plate with a rock to open a door at the end.
      
In a jail cell, I find halfling thief named Insal the Quick, and he joins my party. Insal is mentioned in Kelso's journal as a guide that Kelso hired but later fired so he could move more quickly. I give him some knives and rocks to throw in combat and leave him in the rear ranks.
            
Insal's statistics. You really can't trust these chaotic neutral types.
      
There are a lot of barrels that we can smash in this area, most of them providing food. Every character has a food meter, but since one casting of the cleric's "Create Food" completely fills it for everyone, there isn't a lot of point in carrying food.

Combat, which I'll cover in more detail in a later post, has been easy enough that I get a bit cocky and stop paying attention to my characters' health meters. This came back to bite me when I opened a new door, entered into combat with a couple of guards, and suffered a wholly unnecessary death. I hadn't saved for about 10 minutes, so this seems a good place to stop my first session.
           
Time to waste one of my three resurrections!
       
From my initial foray, I can report:

  • It may be an emulator issue, but the game is horribly unresponsive to my keypresses, particularly when trying to turn. There are times I have to pound on the "7" or "9" keys on the numberpad (to turn left and right, respectively), half a dozen times to get one turn. This is going to have some implications for "combat waltzing."
  • So far, NPC interaction has been more verbose than in the first game. I also like that most enemies have a line of dialogue or two before just attacking you, creating what I called a "contextual encounter" in a long-ago post
      
Contextual encounters are so much more fun than simply being attacked.
      
  • This game also has a lot more dialogue from your own characters. They make frequent remarks that fill in bits of lore or provide hints like the locations of secret doors. For instance, when we entered the dungeon beneath the temple, Marina noted that the entire place had been built by the Drow, although they disappeared a long time ago.
         
Some interesting, if ultimately unhelpful, dialogue.
     
  • The series still doesn't require any light sources.
  • Clicking on things often gives you a little description. I don't remember this happening in Eye of the Beholder.
        
"I hope nothing happens to it."
       
So far, the game seems to be destined to feature a lot of small interconnected areas rather than large levels, but perhaps this will change as I move forward. I'm curious if there are hidden "special quests" in this game the way there were in the first.

I'm also curious, of course, whether a beholder is going to have anything to do with the game, or whether they're just capitalizing on the first game's popularity. The Gold Box games avoided what TV Tropes calls "artifact titles." (Although Curse of the Azure Bonds did briefly feature the Pool of Radiance and thus had a legitimate claim to Pool of Radiance II.) There's no way SSI is going to keep a beholder relevant for three straight games, right?

 Time so far: 3 hours

134 comments:

  1. There's probably no way to easily verify this, but if this game sticks true to AD&D 2e rules then you should get a 'saving throw' bonus from rings of protection, even if the AC bonus doesn't stack with armour.

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    1. On that topic, I'd also like to note that AD&D 2e DID have racial level limits by default, though they were less strict and the DMG had suggestions on removing them.

      I think 2e, and especially 2e CRPGs, were coming into an era in which people didn't much care for racial level limits, which I feel work worse in a single-player CRPG anyways. This is why you don't see them in Baldur's Gate, for instance.

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  2. The Dungeon Master/Eye of the Beholder sub-genre was made extinct by full-3D games, primarily because the real-time combat style was always a clunky fit with discrete tiles (as the existence of the "combat waltz" makes clear.

    However, the turn-based sort (such as Wizardry and early Might and Magic titles) never disappeared entirely. It shifted from the US to Japan, and thus (since PCs-as-game-machines never caught on over there very well) from PC to console, but the genre is still around. The most recent release I know of is 2016s Etrian Odyssey V for the 3DS. This series (which began on the original DS) has manual mapping built into the game engine via the touchscreen.


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    1. Step-based games didn't disappear as quick as you make it sound - there were legitimate titles published well into mid-90s. DreamForge even went from the continuous movement of Ravenloft series back to step-based movement in Anvil of Dawn (1995 game). Even after that there were some Eastern European step-based games like Gates of Skeldal of Evil's Doom in the 1997-98. And then in 2011 Legend of Grimrock became a huge hit and led to quite a revival of Dungeon Master clones and even Might&Magic 10.

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    2. Sorry, that was meant as a comment to the original post, not a reply. Although somewhat related ;)

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    3. Though MM10 was not a step-based 'dancer' - it was like Might and Magic rather than Dungeon Master.

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    4. I know. But it still wouldn't have happened if not for Grimrock.

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    5. From my personal experience, RPGs suffered a general decline in popularity in the mid-90s. Tile-based first-person was mostly replaced by isometric perspective (Fallout, Baldurs Gate, Diabolo, ...). I think 3D really only became popular in RPGs with Morrowind.

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    6. Pet hypothesis: after the triumph of the pc as gaming machine the market considerably expanded in the90ies. Dominant genres were shooters and real time strategy games with multiplayer option as well as sports games. The two classic genres hit hard by this were crpgs and adventures. Numbers of gamers remained perhaps stable, but the market was static. Popculturally we are still very much in the 80ies with most crpgs until like 1994, 1995.

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    7. Based on the master list, single-player RPGs on the market shrink in '94-'95, and continue to dip during the "golden age" (e.g. Diablo, Fallout, Baldur's Gate) and never really recover. The master list doesn't take into account the rise in MMORPGs though, and as Oliver pointed out, studios shifting development into easier to create genres that are on the rise. With Chet's in-depth analysis of development houses it'll be interesting to see which ones steer away from complex RPGs.

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  3. "..the game is horribly unresponsive to my keypresses.."
    there is NO WAY to finish the game if you don't solve this problem (e.g. moving pits). Maybe try a clean dosbox installation?

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    1. Or try to play the game in SCUMMVM.

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    2. I recently replayed through this and I had no problems with dosbox. I just cranked up cycles to at least 7500 (or even 15000). Fully responsible keypresses. Although I use WASD (+QE) keys, not number pad

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    3. EDIT. To use WASD keys, you must edit dosbox keyboard mapping (ctrl+f1) and edit bindings for keypad keys to WASD +QE

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    4. I also dosboxed this recently and had absolutely no problems with the controls, so yeah, this will be something to fix if you're to have a good experience with this game.

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    5. I tried to replay this on various PCs using Dosbox, and encountered unresponsive keys on all of them... not as bad as the Addict reports (i.e. keys not responding at all), but a kind of lag that usually lets the enemies get in at least one hit. Makes some of the later level quite hard – also there are areas where the combat waltz is hard or impossible due to terrain *cough*level4*cough*

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  4. Idly, tile-based dungeoncrawlers ended up as a fairly consistent niche thing in Japan even after they faded out over the course of 1992, but they wouldn't be seen as much here for at least another decade and a half.

    I don't know if you'll hit any seriously good tile-based dungeon RPGs on computer, as opposed to the console ones you don't play, before 2012's Legend of Grimrock. There were at least a few entries in this vague genre between those times, of course: 1993's Dungeons of the Unforgiven, 1995's Mordor, 2000's Demise, 2003's Devil Whiskey, 2004's Legacy, 2005's The Quest, 2011's Frayed Knights, and Swords & Sorcery Underworld (note: I'm not actually sure about the date on that one; the author's re-released it at least twice, and the only ones I'm sure of are 2012 for the first re-release and 2015 for the latest) at the very least, but not much in the way of memorable or professional titles.

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    1. Japanese devs kept on releasing very good turn based crawlers, with or without automapping, up to this day. For instance, you might be willing to get your hands on a 3ds and the Etrian Odyssey games, who give a very good turn based, tiled based 3D dungeon crawling experience.

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    2. Frayed Knights has continuous movement.
      Legacy: Realm of Terror (1993) and Anvil of Dawn (1995) are pretty good games with step-based movement (although not party-based), as is Gates of Skeldal (1998, both party- and turn-based). Realms of Arkania: Star Trail (1994) allows you to switch between continuous and step-based movement. Then there are Lands of Lore (1993) and Stonekeep (1995), but those are of questionable goodness. And then there's a bunch of Amiga titles that I don't remember the dates on. Evil's Doom is from 1996 I think, but I haven't played it that much.

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    3. Oh, forgot the Yendorian Tales trilogy. This one is funny because the first game has isometric perspective and is close to Ultima/Magic Candle in mechanics, but the second (1996) and third (1997) ones surprisingly switch to being decent M&M-likes.

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    4. Of the ones I listed, Dungeons of the Unforgiven and The Quest are also not party-based. I did just forget Frayed Knights had continuous movement, though.

      And now you have me looking up some of these. I think I actually have Anvil of Dawn on GOG, but I'm not sure I ever heard of Legacy, Gates of Skeldal, or the Yendorian Tales.

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    5. Imban,

      Gates of Skeldal is an english translation of the title Brány Skeldalu.
      http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/brny-skeldalu
      The game is Czech, but english fan-translation is somewhere on the Internet.

      Legacy is an adventure-minded RPG, with very tight, limited resources the character has. A bit like the Elvira series, but without all that wacky humor and camp.

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    6. Frayed Knights had continuous movement when exploring, but you didn't move around in battle.

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    7. Yes, but this whole discussion is not about combat systems.

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    8. Sorry, I was thinking specifically of the combat waltz for some reason.

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    9. I played every clone I could get my fingers on, but the original stays the best. Sure, some games added lore, NPCs, shops, overland areas and stuff, but even without too much of that, DM/CSB had the best atmosphere, not to mention the best gameplay. Not a single clone managed to improve every strenght of DM/CSB, only the weak aspects.

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    10. Well, if a game has the same strengths as DM, but improves on weaknesses - doesn't it automatically make it a better game? For me Grimrock 2 was one such game, primarily because of tighter character system and open-world design.
      Legacy: Realm of Terror is another real-time crawler I would rate as high as DM/CSB, but it diverges from the formula in too many ways (horror theme, emphasis on avoiding combat, multiple solutions) to compare directly.

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    11. Well, you should think so, but none of the dungeon crawlers between CSB and Grimrock actually managed to improve on the gameplay. Not a single dungeon crawler has the same strenghts as DM: fast paced gameplay, intuitive UI, lots of clever but fair riddles, good balancing, interesting combat, ...

      What DM/CSB did perfectly right was understanding its limitations (quote from the Shadow Keep article ;-)). The game engine and also the computers back then allowed only limited actions, but all of those actions have been used well. Those limits also enforce a special kind of logic, every riddle makes sense. That's something Eye of the Beholder, Lands of Lore or Stonekeep surely can't claim. Other games like Might&Magic introduced "player riddles" like crosswords from outside the game. Next to the tiny riddle room, every riddle in DM/CSB was inside the game, something your characters did.
      Kind of hard to explain really, but it breaks immersion for me if I, as the player, have to solve some riddle while my party waits for me (or is paused). In DM/CSB, you are always in the game.

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  5. Those images sure brings back some memories. Don't think I ever finished this, though, so I'm looking forward to seeing the parts that I didn't get to on my own.

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  6. I feel like I've seen those two guards with their chainmail-coif-under-a-skullcap-with-a-noseguard in several thousand games over the years.

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  7. Many portraits from this game were re-used by Westwood in their "D&D: Order of the Griffon" (1992, TurboGrafX-16). Zenic Reverie could tell you more. I wonder how to justify people moving from the Forgotten Realms to Mystara (as the identical portraits suggest)... Ah, yes: Spelljammer!

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    1. The resolution difference is pretty big that I didn't recognize them until you mentioned it. The green portrait looks like Chanda, one of the priests, and the portrait shown when you're creating the human fighter was used for a mage.

      https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-GuMSS_laxIY/VyZnoXKgh0I/AAAAAAAAJxs/vCtfWgxQb94jIzFj6I3wIDdFsCniiFN9ACLcB/s1600/Image_240416_165658_00006.bmp

      Also, your paladin looks like Larissa, although with brown hair.

      I have these games through gog.com, so maybe I'll play through them one of these days.

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    2. Technically, Mystara is in another dimension, so you can't spelljam there.

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    3. You could probably get there through Sigil though...

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  8. When I first played these games (at a very young age) I was unaware that the 'combat waltz' existed; I completed most of the game before figuring this out. Based on my experience, I suggest that the game was intended to be played WITHOUT waltzing, and is actually more fun if you don't waltz. I would like to suggest that you try this for at least one level. If you do, the spells become much more relevant (note that they have hotkeys, which are more convenient than mouse-casting).

    Yes, the unresponsiveness is an emulator issue. The titular Beholder jvyy or sbhaq ng n yngre yriry, jurer lbh svtug n ohapu bs gurz jvgu yvggyr cybg eryrinapr. Also, Special Quests qb abg rkvfg va guvf tnzr, cebonoyl orpnhfr abobql svtherq gurz bhg va gur svefg tnzr jvgubhg n uvag obbx.

    The ring of wizardry is a funny one. Vg vf gur orfg bs fhpu evatf va gur obbxf, v.r. vg qbhoyrf lbhe sbhegu naq svsgu yriry fcryyf. Guvf zrnaf vg'f nyzbfg pbzcyrgryl hfryrff va gur svefg tnzr. Ohg hfrshy abj.

    Rings of Adornment qba'g qb nalguvat naq jrera'g zntvpny va gur svefg tnzr. Aba-zntvpny nzhyrgf nyfb qba'g qb nalguvat. Sbe gung znggre arvgure qb aba-zntvpny uryzrgf naq obbgf.

    The Scepter of Kingly Might vf fhccbfrq gb or n cyhf gjb znpr nppbeqvat gb gur Q&Q ehyrobbxf, ohg orpnhfr bs n oht va RBO1 vg'f npghnyyl cyhf mreb.

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    1. Not doing the waltz works fine all the way through the whole game up to the end boss, and then you die horribly if you don't use it.

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    2. Which is yet another beef I have with the game.

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    3. Today I learned "kingly might" in ROT13 is Xvatyl Zvtug, which seems loaded with potential. It could be a death curse in a dark language, a demon's name, or even a good title for a deathmetal album. I don't really know. I just know I like it.

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    4. It occurs to me that ROT13 might be a fun source of character names.

      As you'll see in the next entry my Ring of Wizardry got stolen in the next session, and I rolled with it rather than reloading.

      As I'll be covering the next few times, this game does a decent job limiting the opportunities for waltzing by creating more confined spaces. Also, enemies now have the ability to side-step, which they didn't before, meaning the old waltz pattern doesn't really work as reliably. I agree, therefore, that use of buffing spells (all spells, really) takes on more importance in this game, which is a good thing.

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    5. Of course this game was intended to be played without the combat waltz.

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    6. I don't know what makes you say that. The game uses real-time combat in which maneuvering is clearly part of the system. In the rule book, under "combat strategies," the authors recommend "maneuver your characters into advantageous positions." Later in the section, they offer, "Remember that you can move and fight at the same time. You can move backwards to dodge an enemy melee attack. You can move sideways to dodge an enemy ranged attack." No, they don't recommend the specific waltz pattern, but I don't think it's against the spirit of the game.

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    7. I think after Eye of the Beholder 1 they saw people play their game like that and they didn't want to restrict it because it flows naturally from how their engine works and it'd take significant changes to stop it. But both EotB1 and EotB2 can be tackled in terms of combat without much difficulty (if you've got priests) just standing there and taking the hits and healing afterwards. Only the beholder battles are unfair and I think there you're just supposed to die and reload until you pass 2-3 saving throws in a row, which is shitty design but I doubt they wanted you to lean in to the combat waltz. Perhaps back-stepping once or twice in a combat, yes, which would be a tactical retreat in a d&d fight of some sort.

      The reason I don't believe they meant for you to combat waltz is because its silly (I don't mean this as a value judgment, just in context) it breaks immersion. The EotB games are very straight-laced dungeon crawlers with a ad&d second edition license. The people that played these games didn't like arcade games or tests of reflexes, they liked stats and stories and mapping dungeons. In actual d&d disengaging from enemies that you're locked in melee with would incur some sort of attack of opportunity, you're not supposed to do it without risk. What mimetic equivalent to dungeoneering is the party performing, exactly, when they attack in unison, take a step sideways, rotate 90 degrees and wait for an enemy to line up? Imagine them doing that in a 4-people monoblock. It's straight out of an Asterix comic with the roman soldiers in turtle formation.

      It's an accidental byproduct of how these games were made that was embraced, I don't think it's intended and I know from experience it's not necessary, but I'm not saying you shouldn't do it. I'm just saying 20 years ago we didn't do it.

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    8. That would mean they made a DM-clone that they thought we'd play differently to the way we played DM. If they wanted to block the waltz they could have frozen movement while you had expended hand slots.

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    9. That argument hinges on the idea that you need to do the combat waltz in DM as well. You don't. You don't need to smash enemies with doors either. You can, but you don't have to. And if you do, you have to (if you're playing these games as role-playing games) justify what your characters are doing to yourself in your internal story of the game.

      This is a similar conundrum to quicksaving all the, right? You can do it in a lot of games but it kind of leaves a bad taste in the mouth of some players when they do it.

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    10. Aren't both DM and EotB -extremely- grindy if you don't dance? I guess if you modmaxed everyone in EotB it would be a lot faster, but that seems anti-immersion to me as well.

      Delete
    11. I guess you can call them "tactics"?XD

      Delete
    12. I am going to line up on Helm's side here. I actually played EOB1 and 2 with a 3 man team in a college dorm. One to move, one to click attack buttons, and a navigator. We played it as a D&D dungeon crawler, where we lined up against the enemy and whaled away just like we had done in innumerable tabletop corridors. I had never heard of the combat waltz before I played Legend of Grimrock and I had to look up how to defeat some stupid tough late game creature. As far as "modmaxing" stats, when I played 2nd Edition D&D we commonly allowed 4d6 rolls for stats, turn the lowest one into an 18, because the difference between a 9 and a 15 is 5%. Far too little granularity in stats before 3rd Edition. So stat bumps were far more common and reasonable than the combat waltz.

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    13. Whether a game CAN BE PLAYED without doing a certain thing is a different question from whether the developers intended that style of play, and therefore whether a style of play goes against the spirit of the game. By explicitly recommending in the manual that you maneuver in combat, the developers show that that moving and dodging is a perfectly intended form of gameplay. If you can win without it, more power to you. You're playing with a "conduct," the same way I would be if I insisted my characters use only fists or never cast "Fireball" or something.

      Having a player devoted solely to attacks while someone else moves breaks the rules significantly move than waltzing and should hardly be used as evidence that a single player can get through the game without trying to dodge enemy attacks.

      "That argument hinges on the idea that you need to do the combat waltz in DM as well. You don't." So to be clear, when you face the dragon, you just stand there and suck up its fireballs? I suppose it's possible. But I don't take naturally to action-oriented combat in the first place, and I'm sure I wouldn't have had the mental or physical dexterity to keep up on healing potions.

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    14. The argument will head towards apocrypha if I make a distinction between general maneuvering (encouraged, considered by the developers as they were developing) and the combat waltz as a discrete technique (probably not considered during development) and honestly I didn't mean to suggest I knew better than anyone else, I'm just making an informed guess.

      It's one thing to get scorched by a dragon and ran away further back in the dungeon and quaff your healing potions before re-engaging and it's quite another to be expertly dancing around this dragon in a 4-person turtle formation. The first one I can incorporate in my own storytelling of what's happening in the game, the latter not so much.

      The spirit of the game is a good, subjective place to let this argument settle. I think it's against the spirit of these games to combat waltz everywhere but others might interpret the spirit of the game differently. I realize my error was to be assertive about how 'of course these games were not meant to be played this way by the developers'. What do I know? I don't mind me playing these games in my way being considered a 'conduct'. It's all good.

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    15. When this game came out, I was in high school and watched at least 20 people play it. All of them figured out the square dancing, though not all of them liked playing that way. All of them actively dodged attacks through attack/move combinations, just not all of them felt like doing the square dancing was fun.

      If you think these behaviors are meaningfully different in terms of game design, I really don't agree.

      Incidentally attacks of opportunity did not exist in 1st edition AD&D, nor second really, though there are some very very vague hints of such an idea in the early rulebooks and it was fleshed out in splat books later as optional rules, and only was formalized into clear rules by 3rd edition, many years after these games were released.

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    16. A bit late, as I'm quite behind in the blog, but attacks of opportunity were present, just not by name. 1st ed. DMG (Efreet cover) pg 70 "Breaking Off From Melee" grants a free attack against an opponent disengaging from melee, with bonuses as a rear attack. Presumably this was the basis for their presence in the Gold Box games. Iirc, later materials softened this somewhat allowing a reduced-speed fighting retreat.

      Enjoy!

      Delete
  9. I just finished watching two guys beat this game on Youtube. It was brutal.

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    1. Me too, it sure took them long enough!

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  10. For the responsiveness! Check the "num lock" light. Switch it on or off, depending on its status. Then you can move freely!

    Enjoy one of my favourite games. I consider this a kind of equivalent of Wolfenstein 3D or Doom, but square based, and this is because the maze design is really really good. You'll see.

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    Replies
    1. And it is NOT an emulator issue: I had this issue when I played the game for the first time in a 386. And found the solution by chance.

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    2. This was going to be my suggestion. I've had the issue with other games of this type and numlock toggling helped.

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    3. So I've already scheduled two more entries for this game (I won't be able to play much during the last two weeks of January, so I scheduled a bunch in advance). In the next one, you'll see that I'm still complaining about the responsiveness. In the one after that, I remark that it mysteriously got better. It's not impossible that I had some occasion to press NUM LOCK in between. In fact, I'm almost sure I did. I got stuck in a pit in Deathlord, which requires the ^ key to get out, and I had to hit every key on the keyboard before I figured out where VICE mapped that key.

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    4. Thanks for the tip, I meant to add. If it comes up again, I'll know what to try.

      Delete
  11. "Any serious developer is going to quickly jettison discrete movement in 10-foot blocks with only four facing positions."

    Often that jettisoning was only skin-deep, as technology capable of handling true freeform 3D worlds at good frame rates was still quite far off. Internally, many games still used 10-foot blocks to represent the game world for a long time. Some were more successful than others to give you the illusion of freedom, some not so much. You'll notice this soon enough in Ultima Underworld's automap, which really doesn't look any different from your Excel maps, except for occasional use of 45 degree angles.

    "Ring of Adornment"

    As the name suggests, completely useless as far as I know.

    "Scepter of Kingly Might"

    It's just a regular, unenchanted Mace now. It'll even transfer to EOB3 as such.

    "It may be an emulator issue, but the game is horribly unresponsive to my keypresses, particularly when trying to turn."

    Hmmm, never had anything like that. Are you using the GOG version? Try tapping CTRL+F12 a few times to increase DOSBox's speed, maybe that'll help.

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    Replies
    1. The "Ring of Adornment" is pretty funny when you think about it. It sounds like a magical item, but on reflection, the name just states bluntly what any ring does. It should go well with my "Sword of Stabbing" and "Shield of Defense."

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    2. Or Pants of... wait. What are pants for? *strips off and runs free*

      Delete
  12. EOB2's intro sequence is still one of the best I have ever seen even after all those years. Dark, moody, foreshadowing and mysteriously beautiful, perfectly captures the game's atmosphere. Superb art direction. And the quiet and haunting music gives me goosebumps. Probably the most atmospheric game I have ever played...

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  13. A few quality of life notes - all things that aren't to my mind spoilers but will save you heartache later. You'd probably guess them anyway.

    On respawns and XP: Bgure guna gur jbyirf ng gur fgneg, erfcnjaf ner ynetryl abg n guvat. Gur gbgny KC ninvynoyr va gur tnzr vf zber be yrff svavgr.

    On inventory management: Nf jvgu RBO1, cvpx hc rirelguvat, naq gura qebc vg va n tvnag cvyr va n prageny ybpngvba. Gurer ner chmmyrf gung jvyy jnag fcrpvsvp vgrzf gung lbh zvtug bgurejvfr unir qvfzvffrq nf hfryrff be yrff cbjreshy guna jung lbh'er nyernql nezrq jvgu.

    On magical weapons: Abg nyy jrncbaf erprvir uvtu-yriry zntvp inevrgvrf. V oryvrir gur orfg cbyrnez va nyy guerr tnzrf, sbe rknzcyr, jnf va RBO1 naq vs lbh qvqa'g oevat vg jvgu lbh sebz vzcbegvat lbh'er whfg arire tbvat gb svaq na raqtnzr cbyrnez.

    On character stats: Ubcr lbh qvq va snpg purrfr lbhe punenpgref gb fgenvtug 18f orpnhfr sebz zrzbel gur tnzr onynapr arne gur raq bs RBO2 naq guebhtubhg RBO3 nffhzrf lbh unir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I decoded the last one, and now I'm sad.

      Can't agree with the first one, I'm afraid. I just finished a level where I nearly went mad with all the respawning (had some gelatinous cubes and margoyles).

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    2. Huh, maybe I'm remembering wrong about respawns?

      My memory is definitely they're quite limited, although there are a number of invisible triggers that release / create new monsters so it feels like they're respawning... I might be just dead wrong though.

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    3. I suppose that's possible. If you don't know where the triggers are, the difference between "invisible triggers" and "respawning" is pretty much indiscernible.

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    4. respawns: lrf, erfcnjavf ner n guvat guebhtubhg gur jubyr tnzr

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    5. I only ever got halfway through the game, but from what I remember, respawning is a thing throughout, albeit not always very quickly. I do remember those margoyles giving me hell time and again due to the level's nature and their relative quickness. They always used to pop up from nowhere right behind me, and suddenly my wizard was dead before I even noticed...

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  14. Ahhh the terribly designed Eye of the Beholder 2, firmly near the top of my list of top 5 most overrated CRPGs.

    I won't enumerate all the reasons, it will all become clear soon.

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    1. It's very well designed, which makes it very playable. I understand it is so streamlined that it can be annoying, but your sole opinion is absolutely useless if you don't give any context for it, as what do you consider a good crpg and why. If you may, of course, and if I may request it.

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    2. Honestly I think the reason most people play this sort of RPG (and the reason I can't really get into them very well) is because these real time step based engines allow for a very abstract kind of puzzle solving you can't really find in other games.

      And the biggest problem with EOB2 is that some of those puzzles are just absolutely unfair. Dungeon Master had some evil puzzles and navigational issues, but they were mostly very solvable, but there are a couple in this game that I have no idea how you would solve without a walkthrough or very explicit hints.

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    3. My first playthrough was definitely without a hintbook and I finished it. I almost certainly missed some optional stuff though.

      I love this game to death, but EOB1 is certainly tighter, if only because level 1 to 8 in D&D systems is always a more satisfying and meaningful progression than 8 to 14.

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    4. I think that EOB2 is quite solvable without a walkthrough, sans maybe ”yrnir znal guvatf oruvaq”, the exact solution of which is not really hinted at anywhere AFAIK. I had seen that in a hints section in a gaming magazine while first playing, and couldn't un-remember it.

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    5. I just went through that one last night. I was actually quite proud of myself for solving it. Once I realized that weighing EVERY plate wasn't working, I calculated the potential number of ways to weigh 9 plates, which turns out to be 510. But I figure that the hint to leave "many thing" precluded about half of these. I further guessed that barring any other hints, the solution would probably be symmetrical. Fortunately, I was right, and I got it in a few tries.

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    6. High level progression in D&D always seemed rough to me with numerous instant death spells, and increasingly high damage spells that only a fighter has a reasonable chance of surviving, suggests that the PnP creators intended a lot more research, preparation, and diplomacy considerations that are not easy to reproduce in a cRPG. Knowing you'll face an army of storm giants, the party might invest in a full compliment of electricity resistance rings, but a cRPG might only provide one or two. Consider Pools of Darkness as a prime example, whomever gets initiative first usually wins.

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    7. Well, that's the nature built into the game even in pen&paper play. Once you hit the high levels, the game turns into rocket tag. Especially once the spellcasters get toys that LET them win initiative... except if there's an opposing spellcaster there who has the countertricks.

      Delete
  15. I remember a British game magazine that had two or three opinions or reviews on EOB2 vs Ultima Underworld. One view was clearly in the past saying that UU had blocky graphics compared to EOB2. The other reviewer saw the revolution that UU brought however and said it was his dream dungeon game come true.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "One view was clearly in the past saying that UU had blocky graphics compared to EOB2"

      Well, it does. Underworld's sprites are extremely blocky compared to EOB's, to the point of being down right primitive. The computers of the day simply didn't allow for higher resolution with the free-moving texture-mapped 3D tech.

      Ultima Underworld is one of those pioneer games, like Virtua Fighter 1 (to think of a random example) that were utterly mind-blowing at the time due to introduction of never-before-seen technology, but have aged like milk since everybody who came after them implemented that technology better. Meanwhile EOB2 is a very polished implementation of an old, tried and true formula, that does nothing special but does it well. Games like that tend to age much better.

      Delete
    2. Heh, what does implementing better tech matter, when the level design and gameplay is more primitive?

      Delete
    3. My experience with UU is that the gameplay is anything but "primitive." In equipment, NPC dialogue, economy, role-playing choices, and the magic system, I expect it to beat EotB2. Probably not in combat, though.

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  16. That fireplace looks sweet as, but Khelben would definitely have had to enchant it to make it functional.

    Speaking of Khelben - he's one of the jerks who trapped you in the sewers at the beginning of EotB1. Friend my arse.

    Copy-edit: The long sword of the first game was named "Severious".

    Weird, I've never heard CotAB called "Pools of Radiance 2" - that would be a bit of a silly name for it.

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    Replies
    1. Oh and there were a handful of click-exploration messages in EotB1. Drains and such.

      Delete
    2. I wasn't clear in what I was trying to say. CotAB was never called Pool of Radiance 2. As I said, D&D games have generally avoided (at least so far) taking the name of a successful game and adding a "II" to it even if the original name no longer makes sense (e.g., Baldur's Gate II has nothing to do with Baldur's Gate). But then I was adding that if CotAB HAD done that, it wouldn't be an example of an "artifact title," because the Pool of Radiance did appear in CotAB and thus Pool of Radiance 2 would have made sense.

      I'm not sure my explanation clarifies it any more. It was a bad paragraph. Ignore it.

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    3. I thought it was the beholder that trapped the heroes in EOB1.

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    4. The title could be taken as a double-entendre. The titular Beholder's eye captured the PCs and the player was seeing the game first person, so it was his eye doing the beholding.

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    5. Oh wow I've been misreading that intro my whole life.

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  17. I remember watching my brother and friend play the EOB games and have been mightily looking forward to them in my own playthrough. I played through a chunk of this one and then accidentally copied my save game files the wrong way when trying to move my save files from my laptop to my desktop. It's sad that I quit at that point because there was no way I was going to redo the tricky/unrewarding progress I'd made between the two saves.

    I played the same one-two punch of this game followed by Ultima Underworld, experiencing the disappointed expectation of this one (love the graphics and atmosphere but simply don't enjoy playing it) and then finding UU just as much of a blast to play as the first time way back when.

    I had weird problems with turning on this one too and assumed it was my keyboard. I was turning left 3 times instead of turning right because that key worked so rarely. Maybe it was something to do with Num Lock as mentioned above, since I had to use num lock on the laptop to use the "keypad".

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    1. Forgot to mention my main regret with quitting was that I'd grown absurdly attached to my characters because I'd given them "normal" names like Brian and Tracy.

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    2. I had a different experience and thought eob had aged comparatively better than UU. But for me the mind shattering looking glass experience was actually ss and not so much uu even back then somehow. Anyway, both are great games.

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  18. I really liked EOB1, but 2 I never finished. Looking forward to following along.

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  19. Aaaah good old Eye of the Beholder II still one of my favourite oldschool RPGs ever. I hope you´ll have a fun experience with it and looking forward to your blog entries regarding this!

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  20. I still think this is one of the most beautiful cRPGs ever. The artstyle is just clicking with me and I can never get enough of those beautiful enemy sprites and dungeon walls.
    Just gorgeous...

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  21. >We'll still be looking at tile-based games in abstract dungeons into the mid-1990s at least.

    It's interesting that in Japan, these games continue to be made today. Etrian Odyssey 5 came out in October 2016 and the most recent Wizardry game is 2014.

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    Replies
    1. Not every country enters the future at the same speed, alas.

      Delete
    2. In German there's an awesome way of putting it (coined by a historian iirc): "die Gleichzeitigkeit des Ungleichzeitigen". Rolls right off the tongue...

      In English it would be sth. like "the contemporaneity of the noncontemporaneous"?

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  22. I think those two guards at the temple weren't wanting to go back to SLEEP... you interrupted a night of passion and they are PISSED :)

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    Replies
    1. This will now be my default headcanon in all such situations.

      Delete
  23. And thanks for the well written, beautiful intro...loking forward to exciting weeks on this blog. And, yes i like to read about forgotten games and historical footnotes. But what gives me goosebumps is reading about you retracing the steps I did as a teenager in the early to mid nineties, when everything was new and a little wonder.

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad that was your opinion.

      Delete
  24. EOB2 is supposed to be better than EOB1. I remember beating EOB1 a while ago but never got that far into #2. The dev team went onto make the classic Lands of Lore after this, while some other B-team followed up with EOB3 which is supposed to be the worst of the EOB games.

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    Replies
    1. I think I like it a little better than the first game so far. We'll see if that holds.

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    2. We, Westwood Studios, were acquired by Virgin Games. SSI, who were publishing the EoB series, did the 3rd one themselves.

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  25. I had this game as a kid, I can't remember how far I got, but eventually I stumbled upon a cache of neat-looking items, only to discover that approaching the square unlocked a wall behind you stuffed with liches or something.

    Never got past that fight. Quest for Glory II had arrived along with EOB2, the former was more kid-friendly in difficulty.

    ReplyDelete
  26. "...and the three other losers accompanying my friend."

    That joke slays me because now I'm imagining the Eye of the Beholder crew going to *everything* in a 2x2 monobloc formation: Business meetings (the front row pushes out business cards while all four of them together chant 'pleasure to meet you, we're level 7 dungeon exterminators!') , birthday parties (back row holds the wine, front row delivers gifts) and also the odd romantic engagement (I'll refrain from painting a picture of how that'd work, suffice to say that the party member with the most charisma is doing some heavy lifting for the rest of the crew).

    This is my favorite tile-by-tile movement dungeon crawler by far. I played it with a tool that helps you map it last year and finally beat it, though I've been on and off with it since I was 12 years old. Mapping tool was a godsend because I don't share your love of mapping these games square by square. Some really solid level design, here. This got my appetite going and since then I've finished Lands of Lore (same developer when they lost the ssi + tsr deal) and I'm working on Anvil of Dawn by Dreamforge Entertainment as we speak. You'll have fun with this game, I don't suspect it'll be difficult at all for you and it's not overlong. It's in some ways one of the first 'modern' rpgs you're playing in your series in terms of user comforts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Audible laughter was produced. Someone should do a skit like that.

      Delete
  27. It seems that I need to buy a mouse. Playing UU with a one-button or a multi-touch mouse just isn't accurate enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't remember having problems playing UU on my mac before, have you been using the mouse to move around instead of using the keyboard?

      Delete
  28. I don't know if anyone has said anything yet, but I just noticed Heroes of the Lance on your list and that is definitely not an RPG. It's a side scrolling action game with some "stats" for flavor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Addict is on record as saying, "I know it doesn't fit, but it's short and sounds fun so we'll play."

      Delete
    2. I generally prefer action games over CRPGs but I can tell you that game is anything but fun.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. Heroes of the Lance, "it's short and sounds fun so we'll play."

      This will be a quote for the ages.

      It's right up there with "What could possibly go wrong?" and "Don't worry, I know what I'm doing."

      Much mirth will ensue.

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    5. "Hang on a sec, I wanna try something..."

      Delete
  29. One of the character portraits looked a lot like a member of my family so I always took my Uncle Les into battle (dwarf fighter/cleric)

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  30. While a transferred does get to keep all the +5 weapons they found in the first game, there is one fairly significant removal: Not only is the scroll of Stoneskin removed, the spell itself is erased from the book if it was scribed.

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  31. This game, more than any other, convinced me that gold box was the best interprétation of AD+D rules. Manual dextérité and thinking sometimes do not go well together. I could never complete it because it became too frustrating to keep track of 4+ characters in réal time. Atari Adventure requires lots of dextérité, but you only hold one item at a time. EOB never worked for me.

    Having said that, It is a beautiful game and I appreciate the work that went into it. It is a moody and evocative game and was popular at the time.

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    Replies
    1. 100% agreed. Good game, would be better if it wasn't an AD&D game specifically.

      Delete
  32. While there was no way to become "walking dead" in the original Eye of the Beholder, in this game there a parts where the player can end up in an unwinnable state, four that I'm aware of. I'd recommend you rotate or back-up your saves. The first isn't for quite a while, though.

    Oddly, the sound quality in the DOS version is worse than the Amiga's this time around. The DOS version also still has those fancy time-stopping spell effects, something I remember commenting was a plus for it at the start of your playthrough of EotB1, not realizing how much they'd slow down combat.

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    Replies
    1. There is? Must have been lucky... Do these involve throwing away obviously important items? Be gur evatf va gur ynfg gbjre, whf orsber Qena?

      Delete
    2. Oh my god, you're right. ADDICT, TAKE NOTE: Near the end of the game you will be receiving a number of large red rings (item). When you do, SAVE INTO A NEW SLOT AND NEVER OVERWRITE THAT SAVE. It's quite easy to waste the rings on accident and be permanently stuck. You have been warned.

      That's the only non-obvious "walking dead" situation. I know of two others, but they're very clear that you're screwed and you probably wouldn't overwrite your save there.

      Zing: Gur bgure gjb ner gur gencf gung frny lbh va creznaragyl (bar unf n pyrevp va vg, gur bgure unf n pbecfr jvgu rdhvczrag).

      I don't know what the fourth one Man spoke of is.

      Delete
    3. The fourth comes about if, in vague terms, the player puts one piece into a sword relief before he has the other two pieces that go in there.

      In specific terms, gur cynlre arrqf gb vafreg gur Rlr, Uvyg, naq Gbathr bs Gnyba vagb gur fjbeq eryvrs ba Grzcyr Yriry 2 gb bcra gur jnl gb gur Pevzfba Gbjre. Cvrprf pna'g or erzbirq nsgre gurl'ir orra cynprq. Gur Rlr vf nyfb arrqrq ba Nmher Gbjre Yriry 2 gb trg gb gur fgnvef gb gur arkg sybbe. Vs gur cynlre svaqf gur Rlr naq onpxgenpxf gb gel vg bhg va gur fjbeq eryvrs orsber bcravat gur qbbe gb Nmher Gbjre Yriry 3, ur'yy or fghpx.

      Delete
  33. I might have sent you this in an e-mail , Chet. But if not and if anybody wants to play the first two games again with automapping, The All Seeing Eye is a must

    http://personal.inet.fi/koti/jhirvonen/ase/

    The cluebooks are integrated into the game so you can see them only if you want to. It has the usual character editor and other helpful stuff. There is one for EOB III but it does automap only since Westwood didn't do that game. I'm finishing up EOB I now and really enjoying it. Going to jump into II as soon as I'm done

    ReplyDelete
  34. It's funny when you think about...
    Who the hell would:
    1. Approve a religious structure of dubious beliefs named "Darkmoon" to be built in the middle of wolf-infested forest?
    2. Think it's a good idea to pay a friendly visit to a temple with such a name and expect to come back unharmed?
    3. Make one-way teleportation to said temple? Did they think the Temple would arrange free shuttle services back into town?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been trying and failing to find a TV trope titled something like "Maybe We Should Have Known" that would encompass a lot of CRPG characters and places. "You mean the Bloodwych/Temple Dakmoon/Lord Blackthorn turned out to be EVIL!?"

      Delete
    2. Perhaps this one? http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ObviouslyEvil

      Delete
    3. That's close, but most of the examples are known to be evil from the start, they just really look the part. "Obvious Judas" is closer, but even then most of the examples are more about characterization and actions than the simple fact of the character's name.

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    4. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PropheticNames

      ?

      Delete
  35. You are right, after EoB II in order to compete against Ultima Underworld we added the fake 3D turn stuff to Lands of Lore.

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    1. Are you Joseph Hewitt who did art and animations for Lands of Lore, by any chance?

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Joseph! I was kind-of just guessing above, but it's good to have confirmation from an era developer. I look forward to playing LoL.

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    3. Don't give obviously fake Dawn/illusion Scotia the key when she shows up asking for it. There might still be a bug in the game where it doesn't appear later in Scotia's's castle like it was supposed to.

      Delete
  36. Ah, good old EOB2, probably the CRPG I have the most separate playthroughs in (five). While Dungeon Master is a better game and Captive holds a special place of nostalgia in my heart, I must admit that I enjoy EOB2 more than either of them. It's such a comfortable little game, and such a huge improvement over the first EOB in terms of map design, puzzle design, balance, audio-visuals etc.

    ReplyDelete

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