Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wizardry VI: Final Rating


Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge
Sir-Tech Software (developer and publisher)
David W. Bradley (writer and programmer)
Released 1990 for DOS and Amiga;1991 for FM Towns, Macintosh, and PC-98; 1995 for SNES
Date Started: 10 October 2013
Date Ended: 26 October 2013
Total Hours: 38
Difficulty: Moderate (3/5)
Reload Count: 29
Final Rating: 53
Ranking at Time of Posting: 106/119 (89%)

Without intending to, I managed to make most of this game's discussion about its frequent depiction of nudity, with various commenters opining that the source of my discontent was my liberal political views, some deep-seated psychological issues, or just general prudery.

Some of your perspectives on the issue strike me as absurd. Some of you seem to think that the impossibly full, round breasts displayed by the Amazulus, Rebecca, the sirens, and the faeries were the product of a dedication to historic or thematic authenticity--as if David Bradley looked up "Zulu" in the encyclopedia and thought, "Well, I was planning to clothe them in chain mail, but it looks like historical Zulu women were bare-breasted. As much as it pains me, I can't possibly depict these fantasy warrior women in a way that would be inconsistent with history. My impressionable young players might grow up with the wrong idea of South African cultures. I mean, 'Zulu' makes up half of their name, and there's no way I could possibly consider changing it." If you think the nudity was included for any reason other than to titillate the mostly-juvenile audience for CRPGs in the 1990s, I think you're deluded.

I'm not the one cavorting around with an unclothed teenager.
 
But let me be clear: I have no problem with sex or nudity in games, film, or literature. Given the tastes I've expressed over the years, I don't know how anyone could possibly think that I do. I praised the Malazan series. I watch A Game of Thrones. I practically live on Bourbon Street, for Christ's sake. I was a Playboy subscriber for many years and probably would still be if physical magazines were still a sensible thing. But put my favorite issue of Playboy in the hands of some creepy guy sitting next to me on a train, have him wave it repeatedly in my face while saying, "Hey! Look at those bazzoombas! Oooh, yeah. Look at 'em! Look at 'em!," and now we have a problem.

If that's not how the game feels to you, that's fine. There's a lot of room for personal preference when it comes to these things. But every time I saw nudity in Wizardry VI, I saw David W. Bradley grinning behind the images, gurgling out his encouragement to look at those bazoombas. Maybe my reaction would have been entirely different if I hadn't looked at his photo in the hint guide before playing the game.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that this is the first nudity we've seen in a western CRPG, so kudos to Wizardry VI, I guess. Even though I mentioned it several times, I didn't mean to suggest that it hurt my enjoyment of the game. Let's GIMLET the rest of it.

1. Game World. Before this year, first-person dungeon crawlers have been notable for offering only the thinnest, most forgettable framing stories, concentrating on combat mechanics and character development above NPCs and lore. Bane bucks the trend established by the first Wizardry game by offering a story integrated throughout the game without sacrificing any of the other mechanics. The legends of the Cosmic Forge and the mystery of what happened to the castle's denizens make for intriguing gameplay, even if the game's "reveals" (e.g., the king became a vampire and is named DRACULA, the abrupt ending that resolves very little about the Cosmic Forge) don't always live up to the promise.

The various themes and encounters in the world don't always hold up well, and the game isn't big enough to get as high a score as, say, Pool of Radiance or Ultima IV, but it rates higher than any Wizardry title so far. Score: 5.

Looks more like a sword than a pen to me.

2. Character Creation and Development. One of the better ones. The game offers a substantial selection of races and classes, including some original (if derivative) ones and the ability to change classes at will. With selection of spells and assigning of skill points, the game supports extensive choice during the process of leveling up, and leveling comes often enough that you feel substantially rewarded. There's not much opportunity to role-play characters, and I don't think my all-female party had a substantially different game than an all-male party. Score: 6.

My lead character at the end.

3. NPC Interaction. Another leap forward for the Wizardry series. The basic mechanic was already introduced in Wizardry V, except that in that game, the conversations were less important, and all the NPCs were frankly idiotic (as opposed to about 20% of them in this game). There are only a handful with whom you can have serious conversations , but that handful is interesting, and I love that you can play "evil" and just kill them, but still find enough clues to make it through the game. As some commenters pointed out, the NPCs have some of the same complexity of real people: they lie, try to bend the party to their own purposes, and invite you to consider if you really want to put up with their nonsense.

I'm divided on the mechanic for interacting with them. On one hand, I love the idea of typing actual sentences and having what feels like real conversations. On the other, I think the technology isn't quite there to properly parse the sentences. There were annoying variances in responses to extremely similar questions. An NPC might say, "You must seek the wizard!" and you'll get completely different answers depending on whether you say THE WIZARD?, WHO IS THE WIZARD?, and TELL ME ABOUT THE WIZARD. But when it worked, it worked well, and there were several yes/no dialogue options that allowed some role-playing. Score: 7.


4. Encounters and Foes. There were some decent encounter options related to NPCs, and the copious inventory puzzles, some of which offered a satisfying challenge, bolsters the score a bit here. For the enemies, I didn't think they were any better or worse than the standard dungeon-crawler. Only a few had special attacks that required an adjustment of tactics. A handful of "boss" battles were more interesting. Plenty of randomness and opportunities for grinding. Score: 5.

5. Magic and Combat Bane improves slightly on the previous installments' combat system with weapon skills, more attack options, the ability to switch inventory during combat, and a more sophisticated approach to multiple attacks. I also like the magic system better, with spell points replacing the "spell slots" system, and the ability to vary the amount of energy channeled into a single spell. The spells themselves are a neat mix of offensive, defensive, and utility spells that make each spellcasting class valuable in its own way. In total, I liked it best of the Wizardrys so far, but to be honest, I'm past the whole "line up your attacks and execute them all at once" system. Score: 7.

Fireballing some ninjas.

6. Equipment. I always like the process of slowly building and improving equipment, and this game does well with armor, shields, helmets, leggings, gauntlets, boots, and the ability to dual-wield weapons, along with the usual scrolls, wands, potions. There are also a fun series of items like "sparklers" and "fire bombs" that allow anyone to replicate certain spells. I thought the process of assessing equipment and shuffling it around was a bit cumbersome, but the "identification" spell at least made the assessment possible. I also liked that except for some special items, equipment was generally randomized throughout the game. Score: 6.

7. Economy. I didn't love it. Mostly, all you can do with money is buy things from a handful of NPCs, and they rarely offered anything that I needed and couldn't find throughout the course of my regular dungeon explorations. I ended the game with tens of thousands in unspent gold. There were a few times I needed gold for plot-related reasons, but I always had more than enough. Score: 4.

8. Quests. The game features an interesting main quest with multiple steps on the way that provide some role-playing choices. The endgame offers a series of options that lead to several potential outcomes, which is rare for the era. No side quests, unfortunately. Score: 5.


9. Graphics, Sound, and Interface. The graphics are marginally better than the previous games, although as I noted repeatedly, it replaced monotonous wireframe walls with monotonous brick walls. Monster and NPC portraits were okay. The sound is passable, but barely so. As for the interface, I didn't care for it. I don't understand why games that offer keyboard, mouse, and joystick support have to treat keyboard players as if they're using a joystick or mouse: doing anything in the game means hitting ENTER and then arrowing around a group of menu options instead of, say, being able to hit "U" to use something or "S" to search. Switching between character profiles means arrowing to "Review" and selecting the character rather than just hitting F1, F2, and so on. I don't have a lot of patience for that. Score: 3.

10. Gameplay. Bane is a little linear. You have to explore its various areas in a precise order to find the keys and other special items necessary to progress. Although there is some general nonlinearity within each of the major areas, there were times I felt I was on a rail. I give it some points for replayability, as different character choices would face different challenges, and there were some role-playing options and end-game choices that it might be fun to redo.

Despite some pre-game literature that suggested a complete game would last "200+ hours," I completed it in 38, which is just slightly longer than I would have preferred to spend on it. The difficulty was a little uneven, tending towards the easy side for the first 3/4 of the game and suddenly kicking itself up a notch at the end (although my choice to switch classes late in the game may have accounted for that). I'm not sorry that the series abandoned permadeath, but I thought it perhaps went a little too far in making saving and reloading a simple affair. Score: 5.

The final score of 53 is much higher than I gave its predecessors, influenced by the much better approach to the story and NPCs, and the slightly better approach to magic and combat. It's a good game, and if I sometimes seemed less than enthusiastic during my posts, it's because Bradley rubbed me the wrong way in the game materials and continued to rub me the wrong way (at this point that phrase becomes unfortunate) with his frequent invitations to look at those bazoombas.

We'll encounter him every few years for a while, starting with Wizardry: Crusaders of the Dark Savant in 1992, CyberMage: Darklight Awakening in 1995,  Wizards and Warriors in 2000, and Dungeon Lords in 2005.


Reviews of the game were universally positive. ACE called it "an absolute gem," Amiga Format "a great game with some pleasant touches," Amiga Action "a great game which breaks the rules and still comes up looking good." Marc Clupper's review in the February 1991 Computer Gaming World praises the character creation process primarily, but also the innovative trap system, the lack of symmetry in dungeon design, the NPC dialogue system, and the sound (which he experienced on a different platform), and concludes that the game is "a triumphant celebration of the Wizardry heritage and provides a legacy almost predestined to repeat the glory of its predecessor." The game was nominated for "Role Playing Game of the Year" in November 1991 but lost to another game prominently featuring breasts: Elvira.

As I said last time, I was a little disappointed in the abrupt ending, but I look forward to seeing how the story continues in Crusaders of the Dark Savant. For now, on to something called The Dragon Sword! [Later edit: I can't seem to find a copy of The Dragon Sword. On to Dungeons of Doom!] [Even later edit: Can't find a copy of that, either. On to Dragonflight!]

129 comments:

  1. I know tastes differ, but could you please explain why it ended up scoring less than Champions of Krynn on the "Character system" category?

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    1. While I certainly don't want to encourage commenters to ask me to explain 1-point differences, I'll say that W6 perhaps had better mechanics associated with some aspects of character creation--primarily in the skill system--I thought CoK had more role-playing consequences to its character classes, including the knights' orders and the mage/moon system.

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    2. Oh, sorry about that. It wasn't about 1-point difference, it was more of a "what's so good about ad&d" question, because the appeal of that system, especially in computer games, is totally lost on me. So since you're not a PnP player, and thus aren't prejudiced, maybe you could enlighten me in regard to its advantages? I hope I don't sound confrontational, because I'm not, just curious ;)

      Oh, and on a completely urelated note: have you in the course of this blog already played a game, that'd feature alchemy as a mechanic completely seperate from magic? I wonder what's the first one to do so.

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    3. VK - I'm curious too. Darklands, in 1992, was notable in that it featured a system of alchemy that REPLACED casting magic to a large extent, but I have no idea if it was the first one to do that.

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    4. You could make an argument that The Magic Candle is the first to do so, having mushrooms with effects that are separate from spells. But if by "alchemy," you mean the ability to COMBINE ingredients into potions, in a way distinct from the spell system (e.g., not Ultima IV), I'm not sure we've encoutered any yet. And the first that I've played after this point is Might & Magic VI, but I'm sure there must be something in between.

      As to the character thing, I value games that have some consequences to the selection of character class, such that different choices feature different games--and I mean in terms of story, alignment, and roleplaying options, not just in terms of combat mechanics. The earlier Gold Box games didn't really do very well here, but CoK introduced some elements that made a bigger difference while still offering good mechanical elements.

      When I rate games in each category, I tend to go through the elements of my GIMLET and assign the appropriate score based on how well the game met each of the elements. So if a category has 5 elements, I'll assign a max score of 2 to each one, and perhaps give the game 0.5, 1, 1.5, of 2 in that category. The sum of the element scores is the total score for the category, perhaps adjusted for something the game does PARTICULARLY well in one element, and of course adjusted for the fact that I don't do fractional scores. The category you asked about has four elements, and I think my rationale on CoK was:

      -Extensive customization: 1.5
      -Rewarded for combat and quest completion: 2
      -Advancement process satisfying: 2
      -Encounters different with different characters: 1.5

      My rationale on W6 was:

      -Extensive customization: 1.5
      -Rewarded for combat and quest completion: 1.5
      -Advancement process satisfying: 2
      -Encounters different with different characters: 1

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    5. The earliest game to feature alchemy and magic that I can remember is Blade of Destiny (1992 too), but I wonder if anything comes before that.

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    6. I am curious as well...

      Darklands is the first game that I know of to feature Alchemy in the sense Chet describes in his reply (mixing ingredients to make potions), although one could argue it doesn't have a magic system...but it is debatable, since there are other mystical elements outside of the Alchemy mechanic that could possibly be interpreted as spending "magic points" (under a different name) to boost party skills of various sorts. I don't want to spoil it for Chet, so I'll keep it vague for now...

      Darklands was also created in 1992, though, so it doesn't come before Blade of Destiny.

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    7. I remember playing an RPG also published in 1992 called "Spell Craft" that has a full-blown spellcasting system based on Alchemy alone.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spellcraft:_Aspects_of_Valor

      Strangely, it's not in Chet's master list. Probably because it's categorized as a Strategy game even though it definitely fits the bill as an RPG (or Adventure game even) more than a Strategy game.

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    8. Doesn't meet Chet's requirements. No character advancement, and combat is not based on character stats (mostly equipment and spell stats as far as I can tell). There is equipment and spells. Also, the game is completely centered around alchemy, which is used to create spells.

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    9. Really? I could've sworn there were Levels in each elemental domain.

      Also, combat is more about having higher level spells to bolster your chances of a successful campaign.

      So, citing Chet's requirements:
      1. Inventories not dependent on puzzle-solving. This term confuses some people, but I don't know any other way to say it. Here, I'm contrasting CRPGs to adventure games, which have "inventories," but the items you pick up are meant to be used in some way at a particular location to advance the game. CRPGs, on the other hand, let you load up your inventories with weapons, potions, scrolls, and other items to use whenever you want.

      -Check.

      2. Player-driven leveling and development. It's "player-driven" if the player can exercise some choice on how fast to level (e.g., "grinding"), how to improve the character (other than through inventory improvements), or both.

      -Check.

      3. Combat based at least partly on probabilities and statistics, as derived from character attributes, as I discussed above.

      -Partial check.

      But, anyway, wouldn't mind if it's passed over. Just thought it's a really good game. Or maybe it's my freaking nostalgia.

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    10. I actually just watched about 3 or 4 episodes of the Let's Play, so I could have missed something. Maybe it's worth a check.

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    11. Good timing. It does appear on my "new" list. GameFAQs listed it as an RPG.

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    12. Woot! Let's call 1992 "The Year Of Alchemists"! XD

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  3. Well, what I was trying to say was more like, he only did what others did those days, just look at fantasy artwork in general. Heavy Metal, Louis Royo, etc., it's not that uncommon. Games often did use such artwork for their covers. They even used a known erotic model for the cover of Barbarian, another 80s computer game. And for ingame graphics it's understood that such elements don't necessarely make a bad game, a critical example would be Duke Nukem 3D. It was still praised for great gameplay back then but also has some very tasteless moments. Didn't stop those game critics from throwing awards at it.

    So personally I wouldn't have bazoombas influence my own voting, otherwise I'd have too consider that nudity presented in a profane sense means automatic downvote for quite a lot of other games, too. What with The Whitcher and all that.

    But don't mind me, as you said, it's your blog and personal bias is absolutely allright for your scoring. On the other hand what really bothers me is that you have such a bad opinion of Bradley now. I guess I'm more forgiving when it comes to his self-adulation in Wizardry 6. I think he really did great CRPG's. And yes, I think that would even comprise of Wizards & Warriors, though not liked by much.

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    1. Whatever I felt about the nudity, it absolutely did not affect my scoring. There's no category that even encompasses that.

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    2. The Witcher was an *extremely* misogynistic game. I found the first one so repellent that I dropped it about halfway through, and haven't touched the sequel.

      I mean, fer chrissake, you collect trading cards for women you've fucked.

      I think that's the most demeaning game I've personally played since Custer's Revenge on the Atari 2600.

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    3. @Malor: It's still better than Gothic games, which (at least the first two) don't feature a single remotely important female character at all.

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    4. Speaking of important female characters in RPGs, I've been playing Phantasy Star 1 on my GBA SP, and found it really progressive in that the protagonist (Alis) is female. Of course, there isn't a ton of depth to the plot or characters, but I did enjoy the twist at the beginning in which her quest is motivated by the death of a male that is important to the protagonist (brother I think?). Alis is also depicted in a surprisingly non-sexualized manner on the game's cover: http://www.mobygames.com/game/phantasy-star/cover-art/gameCoverId,59220/

      Were there any earlier notable RPGs (console or PC) with a female-only protagonist?

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    5. I don't know about the consoles, but the earliest such PC game I can think about is Septerra Core from 1999. I might be forgetting something though, I have an awful memory ;)

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    6. @HunterZ: Don't worry, they correct that in the sequel by putting up a male lead with a subordinate female who follows him around. ;P

      There really aren't many games that feature specific female leads. That is discounting games where there's a choice (create your own characters or choose between male or female characters). Looking through my list I come up with:

      Legend of Ghost Lion (Lone girl seeks her parents after they disappear)
      Lucienne's Quest (An upstart apprentice wizard seeking... something)
      Parasite Eve 1 + 2 (NYC cop fights against fantastical monsters)
      Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure (Girl seeks prince, hilarity ensues)
      Dragon Warrior Monsters 2: Tara's Adventure (I'm not really familiar with the series)
      Xenosaga ep 1 - 3 (Shion and KOSMOS are the leads as far as I can tell)

      My knowledge gets a little hazy after that point, but I believe Wild Arms 3 has a female as the lead (if you can call it that). She's on the cover at least.

      There are other games that feature female characters, but I don't think they could be called leads. The first Wild Arms, Secret of Mana, Saga Frontier, etc. all feature equal characters with a mix of male and female. Still other games allow the player to choose to play as male or female.

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    7. @Zenic: You're technically correct about Xenosaga. Episode II switched the lead to Jr. (gun-toting red-haired kid) as one of the things they did in their attempts to appeal to a wider audience.

      @blog in general: I can think of a few specific games tied to franchises which have female leads. But the games derive from the source material and they *are* the leads originally. Slayers had an SNES game that came out in 1994 featuring the charismatic Lina Inverse (money loving soceress).

      It's an SRPG but in Fire Emblem Gaiden (1992) Celica (priestess. uses a sword and can conjure fire) shares the spotlight with Alm.

      @HunterZ: Yeah, that's her brother.

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    8. No edit for an anonymous!

      And Xenosaga III reverted the leading role to Shion.

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    9. Well, if we're talking about newer games too, I should add Gods: Lands of Infinity and Venetica to the list, though both feature ridiculous amounts of fanservice.

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    10. The new design interferes with accessing the data easily, but Mobygames maintained a substantial list of games with female main protagonists: http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/protagonist-female

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    11. Yeah, but there's no easy way to filter non-RPG titles out.

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    12. There's also Chantelise, Reccetear, Valkyrie Profile and Koudelka (with the latter ones having superior character depth) are all RPGs with a central female lead.

      Western RPGs have a lot of catching up to do. The closest we have is where there's an OPTION to use either male or female.

      When the character is already set, it would always be a HE. Wonder why...

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    13. Oh yeah, not sure how I glossed over Valkyrie Profile. I don't think it's been suggested to Chet, but there's another game that in most opinions is a must play (although a little harder to emulate).

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    14. "The Witcher was an *extremely* misogynistic game. ... I mean, fer chrissake, you collect trading cards for women you've fucked. I think that's the most demeaning game I've personally played since Custer's Revenge on the Atari 2600."

      I honestly don't comprehend this argument at all. What in the world is misogynistic about giving the player an incentive to have mutually consensual sex with many women? What makes it as bad as Custer's Revenge - a game that's literally about raping a girl tied to a cactus? What is the argument here - should Geralt just pick one and start a family? Is sex as pure entertainment somehow bad?

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    15. Isn't Geralt sterile? How would he start a family? By adoption?

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    16. I also don´t think the witche ris misoginistic. Geralt never implies women are somehow inferior, and the important female characters are not simple damsels in distress or fanservice. All the sex Geralt has is consensual.

      I don´t think the cards are misogynistic per se, either.

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    17. That's true. And how would we know that the female NPCs who bedded Geralt didn't get HIS trading card?

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  4. I'm a little bit disappointed that a half of this final rating is about nudity. I really don't care about boobs in games, not an interesting topic for me. I want to read about other aspects of the game and i really hope that in future posts there won't be SO MUCH written about it. Otherwise great blog.

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    1. It's not like I have a maximum post length. I promise you, however much I wrote in clarification of my nudity stance, I didn't exclude anything I otherwise would have written about the game.

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    2. Hmmmm. How about a "Bazoombas!"-Category? Okay, okay, just kidding. But I really like that word, never heard it before.

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    3. There's also "Gazongas!".

      Ah... the number of derogatory terms we use on female anatomy. Progressive, aren't we? XD

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  5. I didn't know there was an Elvira CRPG, though I suppose it isn't terribly surprising. What is surprising to me is that an Elvira CRPG would win an award as "Role Playing Game of the Year". I guess when you finally get to it thirty games hence we'll see how much it may or may not have deserved it...

    Oh, gad, glancing a bit farther ahead on your list I see it even had a sequel...

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    1. Both Elviras are nice adventure games with some stats and combat thrown in for additional flavour. The first one beating Wiz6 isn't just surprising, it's plainly ridiculous.

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    2. Well, Elvira did introduce a special combat mechanic; aiming with the mouse cursor to hit at an enemy's weak spots.

      Depending on the character's skill levels, the actual hit would land closer to where you clicked as you progress.

      Cobra Mission (in 1992) also uses this system. More boobies too.

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    3. I know. But I think that win had more to do with pretty graphics ))

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    4. For Cobra Mission?

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  6. 38 hours. That's quick. I played it when it was released on GOG and it took me 80 hours to beat the game.

    The area with the catterpillar is optional. I killed the happy couple before I explored that part. (I didn't realised that I already had everything I needed in my inventory.)

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    1. Okay, so a bit of a confession: I didn't track my hours very well on this one. It could be more like 45. I had to estimate.

      Did your 80 hours include mapping every bit of the game? I stopped after a while, and it went a lot faster after that.

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    2. I mapped nearly everything. I stopped halfway through the last temple because all those teleporters left me too confused to know where I already was and where not.

      I just loaded my save again and I think the biggest different in our playtime is the amount of grinding...

      - Male Felpurr Samurai: Level 21 / 5150206 Exp / 1264 Kills
      - Female Dwarf Valkyrie: Level 25 / 5150206 Exp / 797 Kills
      - Male Dracon Ninja: Level 19 / 4964127 Exp / 777 Kills
      - Male Rawulf Monk: Level 20 / 4664859 Exp / 717 Kills
      - Female Gnome Priest: Level 21 / 4664859 Exp / 274 Kills
      - Male Elf Mage: Level 21 / 4664859 Exp / 1501 Kills

      I never changed class but if I HAD to change one it would be the monk, probably into a bard.

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    3. That's some serious grinding you've done there. And after all those hours wasted on grinding you stop some minutes before the end???
      Hint: the temple is quite small and not really that difficult to map.

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    4. I agree, my post sounds like that. ^^
      Don't worry, I finished the game. I just stopped mapping in the temple.

      And I don't even remember grinding that often. First at the very start of the game, then in the mines and then in the temple. It's nearly half a year ago so I might remember it wrong.
      Besides that I was killing enemies while thinking about the puzzles. Some of them were quite difficult (at least for me...)


      (Note to myself: Make an account if you keep posting.)

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    5. No need to make an account. Chose Replay as: Name/URL, but you can leave the URL field blank.

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    6. Finally! Thx Petrus.

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    7. I should have known something like this will happen...
      Well, that anonymous is now known as "Dotur".
      As proof, here's the screenshot of the samurai: http://i.imgur.com/rtNej0j.png

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    8. Your willingness to spend time grinding far exceeds mine, but congratulations on achieving such high levels.

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  7. "various commenters opining that the source of my discontent was my liberal political views, some deep-seated psychological issues, or just general prudery."

    I say all three!

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    1. I can't get over the fact that we're in a world where criticizing nudity is somehow "liberal." It's like the whole culture war didn't happen.

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    2. @killas2: I had the same reaction to the suggestion.

      Interestingly, there's no visible blood in Wiz6 from what I can remember, even though there is a fair amount of animation. All enemies simply explode (with sound effects and puffs of smoke no less) when killed.

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    3. @killas2: in the 80s, the anti-porn feminists and the religious right made for strange bedfellows.

      I've never played Wiz 6, but if every female monster is nude as described here, then it's just silly and gratuitous.

      I'm hardly a moralist, but when I watch Game of Thrones and nudity and sex are just thrown in for the sake of nudity and sex, I just roll my eyes.

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    4. Classically, it's conservative if you dislike nudity because you believe that sexual desire is a sin, and it's liberal if you dislike nudity because you believe it exploits women. Neither concern was behind my dislike of its use in this game.

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    5. CRPG Addict said:
      "Classically, it's conservative if you dislike nudity because you believe that sexual desire is a sin"
      Well, I'm not sure what your conception of a "conservative" is (it's a relative term that keeps getting redefined), but if you had Christians in mind, your statement is either a misconception or just not properly phrased.

      I'm not here to argue morality, nor will I if goaded into it, and I trust that CRPG Addict isn't either. But I do feel compelled to lay out the facts.

      Jesus said, "I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman [or man] lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28).

      At the same time, he also said (while quoting Genesis), "'Haven’t you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh"? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate'” (Matthew 19:4-6)

      Here's the conclusion: God created sex, and sex is good, but he created it for one man and one woman in a lifelong monogamous relationship.

      So, for a Christian, sexual desire is fine as long as it's for one's husband or wife. It's when the desire goes outside of that it's a sin. (N.B. Americans have a sense that sexual sin is somehow more damnable than other sin, but that's not a biblically supported notion.)

      Catholics teach that sex is only for procreation, but that's not supported by the biblical text (cf. Song of Songs).

      Delete
    6. Chet was probably over-generalizing, but public nudity and nudity in media (which are what has been discussed here) both fall under even your definition of sexual sin.

      Having been marinated in fundamentalist Christian dogma as a youth, I can also attest to the fact that much of it is not biblically supported.

      Delete
    7. "Classically" was the wrong word. "Stereotypically" is what I was going for.

      Nonetheless, Gamma Leak, I'm a bit mystified by your response, which is in no way a counter to what I said. First, whatever the Bible says, American political conservatism is traditionally quite sexually conservative as well, and that this almost certainly has a religious basis. Second, your own attempt to counter the Christian basis for sexual conservatism only reinforces it. By your own admission, Christianity teaches an extremely limited form of sexual desire and sexual expression. That Catholicism (sex=only for procreation) teaches something more draconian than other versions of Christianity (sex=only for your spouse) doesn't make the latter exactly liberal.

      Since we're talking about a game in which we're invited to ogle the breasts of a demon-woman conceived via the rape of the mistress of a vicar, I don't think it's a stretch to say that conservatives--however flexible Jesus was when it came to sexual desire in your own committed, lifetime, monogamous relationship--would have a problem with this game.

      Delete
    8. I suppose I wasn't clear, and for that I apologize.

      I was keying on your statement that "conservatives ... believe that sexual desire is a sin."

      That particular blanket statement is not accurate. That's all I meant to convey.

      Delete
    9. Speaking of games that garnered conservative reaction: Have you played the Mass Effect Series chet? I can't remember.

      I consider it the spiritual successor to KotOR.

      As opposed to SWTOR, the actual (regrettably) successor.

      Delete
    10. I only played the first 15-20 minutes of the first one. I didn't dislike it, but Irene didn't like it, and for time management purposes, I only play modern games that interest her.

      Delete
    11. Ok, Chet: You aren't allowed to read anything about the ending for the next 20 years or so, so that you are unspoiled when you play it for the blog. Your reaction is going to be priceless. I know mine was.

      Delete
  8. Chet, I know you probably don't want to get into it, but you don't even strike me as a liberal to begin with.

    On Wizardry 6, I have to concur with your assessment. Though I didn't finish it - I rarely finish these sorts of games, being a spineless liberal - I have to say I am very disappointed to read that the game has only one tileset. I really like the graphics and animation actually, and if the environments were varied I would consider it one of the prettiest EGA RPGs.

    I think the big problem with going half-way with graphics such as these is that the game ends up straddling an uncomfortable line between symbolic representation of space (of which the Platoist wireframe dungeon is perhaps the greatest example after ASCII roguelikes) and a proper simulation of a physical environment (of which perhaps Dungeon Master can claim to be the best contemporaneous example). In Dungeon Master as you might recall me making a point of, you could look through the door bars to see what sort of monster lay in wait for you, or use landmarks to get your bearings, that sort of thing, it made the place feel alive and the geometry significant. Wis6 is sadly just too much of a Wizardry game in spirit to pull that off. I guess you'll have to wait for Wis7 or even better, 8 for a full step in the simulationist direction in this series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You make an excellent point on "half-way" graphics. I was thinking the same thing but couldn't articulate it as well. I don't really mind games that require me to use my imagination (Wizardry, NetHack) or games that show me a nicely-rendered environment (Skyrim, Dungeon Master), but I don't really like it when a game falls halfway in between.

      Delete
    2. That's the reason I never finished this one, having a gray wall represent everything got really old really quickly. Luckily, Might and Magic 3 came as a turn based blobber that finds, in my opinion, a perfect compromise between simulationist and imaginative environments.

      -BelatedGamer

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    3. It's a form of "The Uncanny Valley". When you know you're watching a cartoon, you accept it. But when things start to look semi-real, we find it disconcerting that they aren't "really real". Most common with characters, but here with environments.

      Delete
    4. Corey: The early 3d games were the worst for that. Mario 64 looks far better then Goldeneye today, as one tried to look realistic and the other went cartoony. Heck, there are games on the NES that look better then early N64 and PS1 games.

      Delete
  9. Chet, are you saying you react negatively to the nudity for "highbrow" reasons?
    If so, what do you think of the sexposition in Game of Thrones?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm saying I don't really object to nudity at all; I object to some guy shoving nudity in my face and expecting me to be excited about it.

      "Gratuitous" is a conservative word for the nudity on A Game of Thrones, especially when it doesn't come from scenes in the book, and I sometimes find it a little tacky, but it's not like you don't know what you're getting into when you watch A Game of Thrones. RPGs of this era, meanwhile, hardly feature any nudity at all, let alone on every fourth screen.

      Delete
    2. While I hate myself for prolonging the nudity discussion, Helm's point about the half-way graphics sort of emphasizes the problem. In general, the game is graphically rather bare. The monsters do look pretty nice or at least ok. However, when you have a game of fairly limited graphical prowess and you end up with the creature menagerie of Wiz6 it all does make it seem like the graphical representation of them boobies was the most important aspect of certain female monster design.

      And to leave all that behind, I am looking forward to see what's your take on Dragonflight. I wonder what the PC port is like as the game was originally an Amiga/ST game. And my feeling is that Amiga games in general have poor PC ports. I remember the game with some fondness and frustration.

      Delete
    3. As far as I know, the PC port of Dragonflight was never released in English, only in German. I'd recommend playing it with WinUAE, except I think I remember reading that the Addict doesn't like emulators...

      But I hope he doesn't have to skip it. It's one of my favorite CRPGs, even though I never managed to complete it. Got stuck on some riddle, IIRC.

      Delete
    4. I'm struggling with it right now. Seeing that the DOS version was in German, I was motivated to try the Amiga version. But I can't get the settings right and the game won't load (Amy's helping me by e-mail). Meanwhile, I'm reading on message boards that all the known Amiga .adfs are screwed up in some way that prevents winning the game. So perhaps I'll struggle through it in German.

      Delete
    5. From my experience, DOS executables floating on the net aren't in very good shape either. At least I haven't been able to find one, that didn't freeze at some point.

      Delete
    6. ... I'd imagine that those riddles would be a wee bit too tough if you're not fluent in German. And the game does have a lot of text.

      The Amiga version is winnable. But if I remember correctly, one of the puzzles was poorly translated from German. Which is probably what I got stuck on back when I played it: I couldn't figure out the correct way to spell the answer.

      I've been meaning to finish Dragonflight someday, but never got around to it. My old notes from the Yahoo group mentions something about 'liqueur of raisins'...which I presume is the answer for the broken riddle.

      Delete
    7. Anyway, it should load with these WinUAE Quickstart settings:

      Model - A500+
      Configuration - 2 MB Chip RAM
      Compatibility: Best

      Two floppy drives.

      Takes while to load, but I tested the Thalion Webshrine version (patched by the devs) and it seems to work fine.

      Delete
    8. You could try using the Amiga WHDload version of Dragonflight (the WHDLoader programm helps here).
      Or alternatively, try the Atari ST version. Generally, ST emulation is a bit more accessible imho.
      No idea how severe the bugs are in the original (ST/Amiga) versions, but I've read the PC port suffers from some serious ones.

      Delete
    9. I'm kicking the game down the list a bit while I figure it out. This is my first experience trying to use an Amiga emulator, so I'm not sure what's SUPPOSED to happen with different settings. Once I get some more experience emulating games that I know work, I'll be in a better position to try Dragonflight again.

      Delete
    10. "I'm saying I don't really object to nudity at all; I object to some guy shoving nudity in my face and expecting me to be excited about it."

      Pardon me, but I didn't really see anything in your posts that would paint W6 as doing that. It just has naked sexy ladies as enemies, and since that is what you complain about, it really does seem like you object to the very presence of naked titties in the game.

      Is there any way to have naked breasts in the game without you accusing it being base and juvenile? Suppose the designer wants that for purely artistic reasons. What does he have to do to pass your test?

      Delete
  10. Yay, back to lesser known titles. The next two titles are definitely a step back graphically, but seems to get better again after that. I'm glad to know what I'm missing now by avoiding the Wizardry series. It's interesting to note the console version (SNES) was exclusive to Japan, as is the rest of the series ported from this point on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No kidding. I've gotten to the point where I hate reviewing games that everyone's already played.

      Delete
  11. They put boobs in the video game which was edgy and daring for the time. But in true nerd form, they didn't add boobs in a sexy, alluring way, they added them in an over-done juvenile way.

    Chet has explained what he meant repeatedly. Let it go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure if the artistic direction was to be done in a childish manner or just plain lousy pixel art.

      In my case, I didn't remember this game because of the boobies. So, it probably didn't bother me much back then either. I'm just surprised Chet's take on them wasn't, "Huh... Okay, let's get on with it." but more like, "Those damn kiddy boobies again. Oh, great. MORE of those in-your-face jiggling. AGAIN?! Seriously?!"

      Delete
  12. To all of the fervently pro-boob commenters, I will just say that as a female gamer back in the 90s whenever a game had in-your-face boobs it served as a reminder that those games I loved were in fact usually made by men for a male audience.

    I'm no prude either - the super-uptight morality of the Ultima universe was never my cup of tea, in fact, and neither were the sugary romances in BG2. But if a games's gonna do raunchy stuff, I really appreciate it if it's done both in a mature way and equal opportunity - i.e. not singularly aimed at those who like super-feminine women.

    The Fallout series did a really great job of this, even though they never actually showed anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you play Dragon Age: Origins? They did a fantastic job of the relationships in that game. Good girls, bad girls, good guys, bad guys: take your pick.

      Delete
    2. If you think that the morality in Ultima was super uptight, then you never played Serpent Isle. Frigidazzi, anyone? That scene was about as explicit as a 1993 RPG could make it. I can't wait for Chet to get to that one.

      Delete
    3. I think even U7P1 had a scene where you could visit a brothel.

      Delete
    4. It did, but the actual "deed" was handled with a fade to black. In Serpent Isle, the scene was portrayed quite vividly. Not pornographically, of course, but with full, pixelated nudity and some very suggestive motions.

      Delete
    5. That's funny. I had forgotten that. I guess when you think about it, "lust" isn't the opposite of any of the virtues.

      Delete
    6. I just had this image of a drunk Britannian guy stumbling into his house at 02:00 and saying, "Woman, you know as well as I do that Truth and Love make Justice, not Fidelity. Ain't no Rune of Chastity in this rune bag."

      Delete
    7. Hey! Didn't that parody... "Ultima 4: Part 2 - Dude, where's my Avatar?" feature some Anti-Virtues that had Sex as one of its lopsided Principles? Or did I imagine that on one of my mushroom-trips?

      Delete
    8. "I will just say that as a female gamer back in the 90s whenever a game had in-your-face boobs it served as a reminder that those games I loved were in fact usually made by men for a male audience."

      Undoubtedly true, but I don't see why that would constitute a problem. Not everything needs to pander equally to everyone.

      Delete
    9. To the last nym: "Undoubtedly true, but I don't see why that would constitute a problem. Not everything needs to pander equally to everyone."
      If this were a once-off occasion, you might have a point. But CRPGs were hardly ever written with a female audience in mind. W6 might have been particularly in-your-face about it, but it was representative of many games. So it's not about W6 not "pander[ing] equally to everyone", it's about the entire genre.

      Delete
  13. "a great game with some pleasant touche,"

    Too good a typo to not bring attention to ;)

    I enjoy your pseudo-rants, I read your blog because I want to read about Chet's RPG experience, not an imaginary everyman's RPG experience.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I guess this whole obsession about breasts doesn't come from either being liberal or deep psychological issues, but most probably by being American. For me, it's just an aesthetic choice like any other, and i'm sure i didn't gave much of a thought when i played this game.

    The same happened to Game of Thrones. Yes, i notice there are breasts obviously. But i never made a great fuss about it until i noticed everybody in forums, comments sections and american tv shows mentioning it.

    Still, sort of in the same issue, i'm very looking forward to see your take on Elvira. But the game doesn't feature much breasts, but lots and lots of gore, which at the time i played it (when i was 10) it scared me a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most of the people remarking that the focus on breasts is over-done are American also. Your comment is prejudiced and stereotypes Americans. Our country is so incredibly diverse that attempting to label Americans as anything is inherently wrong.

      Delete
    2. Prejudiced or not, the general opinion on this side of the pond - as far as I'm aware - is that Americans tend to be pretty hung up on nudity and stuff that can (remotely) be connected to sex. On the flip side, I've also heard Americans say that Europeans love or are even obsessed with nudity. I find both views to be very funny.

      One question I have though related to the subject: is it common for women to go topless and is full nudity accepted/tolerated at the beach in the US? or are there special beaches where these things are accepted? Just curious :)

      Every beach I've been to in Europe is, at least, a topless beach and often even full nudity goes totally unremarked. It's also pretty common at spas or public swimming pools. I'm under the impression, and I may be wrong, that this is far from being the case in the US.

      Delete
    3. Exposing breasts in public anywhere in the US for any reason other than breast feeding is taboo, and even the latter is controversial in many settings. Europe's topless beaches are considered a curiosity that is almost incomprehensible to us she to our still strongly Puritan-influenced cultural ideas about public nudity.

      Using a nexus 7 tablet with Google's swipe keyboard to type this, and it absolutely refused to recognize the word "nudity" via swiping!

      Delete
    4. May go without saying, but it's topless women at issue here. Topless men (no matter how big their breasts are) is fully acceptable. Of course, this get dicey when you consider transgender individuals. I read somewhere a state wouldn't give someone recognition for becoming a female, but was also arrested for protesting topless.

      Delete
    5. I think that saying that topless beaches are incomprehensible to US citizens is a little over the top, in general we may still be a bit more reserved compared to our Europe brethren but even that distinction is breaking down largely due to the internets influence in expanding everyone's viewpoints on sex and other formerly taboo subjects.

      I do agree with Chet that the nudity is juvenile, albeit harmless. Maybe I would have liked it as a 12 year old, but not so much now

      Delete
    6. This conversation reminds me of that Budweiser commercial... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLBIp4t07vs if links aren't blocked.) Two Americans are sitting on a beach watching some pretty young women in the water, and one says "You know in Spain, everyone goes around topless? It's practically a law." "Wow." Cut to Spain, and we see a somewhat larger and older woman stripping off in front of two Spanish guys - subtitles say "You know in America, they make women wear tops. It's the law."

      Delete
    7. Taboo perhaps, but perfectly legal in New York. The police department is currently facing huge lawsuits for arresting a woman for being topless in public despite it being explicitly clear that it is legal.

      Delete
    8. I'm late in replying here, but since no one else seems to have addressed Guiseppe's second question: Yes, there are special beaches in the U.S. where nudity is tolerated, but they're few and far between; it's definitely not the norm. And even on those beaches, it's my understanding that it's not so much that nudity is actually legal there as that the police don't generally bother enforcing public nudity statutes at those locations.

      Delete
  15. So what is David W. Bradley up to now-a-days? Has anybody tried to contact him? Would love to get his insights on some Wizardry lore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Remaking Dungeon Lords until the day he dies, I guess.

      Delete
  16. You are amazing. I wanted to comment on this blog for some time, and now, as I see that not only you finished Wizardry 6 but you find it easy, I feel underwhelmed, underpowered and undereverything at your side. You know, I'm 35, I played games all my life, and I never got to enjoy the Wizardry games - among many oldschool ones. I sometimes say to myself "persevere, and you will find good things", but then random encounters, weird interface, lack of context and the necessary 5-10 hours to understand the mechanics of the game are things that really kicked me out again and again from these Wizardry games, from the Might and Magic pre IV games, from Wasteland, from the Gold box games. Even with Baldur's Gate, a game I'm uncapable to enjoy (at that time I really enjoyed Fallout and the later Icewind Dale,however). So, congratulations, you master.

    About the breasts thing, it's just pulpy exploitation, nothing more.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I Love Weirdness and Variety--Sorry about that one post, very frustrated that dayNovember 3, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Good work, I plan to play Wizardry 6 through 8 starting next month--beat 8 years ago, never played the last two--more or less, after I play New Super Mario Bros U, The Wonderful 101 and Red Dead Redemption.

    I rolled up some characters for Wizardry 6 through 8, wanted powerful ones but not to completely break the games, so I went the specialized but did not obsessively go for all 18s. Can you please tell me if this is a good party for the series:

    Monk: Strength 16, Intelligence 8, Piety 14, Vitality 15, Dexterity 10, Personality 8, Karma 18
    Ranger: S 16, I 14, Pi 8, V 15, D and Sp 12, P 11, K 19
    Lord: S 15, I 9, Pi 12, V 15, D 10, Sp 9, P 14, K 15
    Ninja: S 14, I 11, Pi 10, V 14, D 13, Sp 14, P 13, K 19
    Valkyrie: S 16, I 6, Pi 11, V 15, D 13, Sp 11, P 8, K 5
    Samurai: S 14, I 11, Pi 10, V 14, D 12, Sp 14, P 8, K 10

    Is that a good build for the series, and can I fix any flaws with stat distribution or class changes? Thanks for the help.

    I loved Wizardries 1 and 8; I just hope that 6 and 7 are better than the terrible series Might and Magic, which is horribly designed, awkward, not very fun, really repetitive and tedious, and has barely any plot. I forced myself through Might and Magic 3, but gave up on World of Xeen because it was just so awful. I played a little of Wizardry 6, and it seemed much more fun though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You really need to start with a Bard. Those free Sleep spells will save your ass. If you replace the Ranger with a Bard I think you have the best classes represented.

      Also, the race+class combo is important if you want to changes classes, since when class changes each revert to the racial or class minimun, whichever is higher. So if you start the game with a Fairy Ninja who needs 12 STR and change to Bard, the Fairy will lose about 7-8 STR which will take ages to recover.

      Also, don't forget that Fairies can't use many weapons and armour, so are useless as Samurais, Lord and Valkyries.

      All (?) you need to know about character building you can find here: http://www.abandonia.com/vbullet/showpost.php?p=430591&postcount=22

      Delete
  18. Comments:
    - I agree with changing out the Ranger for a Bard. In addition to crowd control, it will also give you a character whose skullduggery and ninjutsu skills are easier to bootstrap/jumpstart than those of the Ninja.
    - Your party is also extremely melee-heavy. I would recommend changing out either the Lord or Valkyrie (since they are almost identical fighter-priest classes) and possibly the Monk for a caster (Mage, Alchemist and/or Psionic).
    - I would advise either a Priest or a Bishop (mage/priest hybrid).

    Are Monks really worth having if you already have a Ninja in the party? I think Ninjas have all of the pros of Monks (Kirijitsu/Hands-&-Feet + spellcasting) but with thief skills added in.

    I've heard that if you're planning to take a party through Wiz6-8, then you may want a Faerie Ninja so that you can get one of the best weapons in the game.


    I have to agree about World of Xeen. I've been playing it a bit lately, but have found it to be much more cheesy.

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    Replies
    1. Funny enough, I enjoyed World of Xeen at all. Of course it is repetitive and of course it barely has no plot, but you know, it's a game so extremely clear in its objectives (short term and long term), in its interface, in everything, that I cannot help to admire a lot. It barely has surprise punishments related to gameplay (the only one that I had was that characters really age and there's a point when resting is penalized, something that one who previously played Eye Of The Beholder 2 never thought it could happen), or dead ends, or... it is a good GAME, after all.

      Delete
  19. I've managed to find a copy of The Dragon Sword. I haven't tried to actually play it, but it does seem to work; it also doesn't seem to be a 'clean' version, but one that someone's already messed around with. I can send it to you via e-mail or just link to it, if you want.

    As for Dungeons of Doom, as far as I found, there's supposed to be a German game by this name, from 1990, made by one Arndt Hasch. It's possible that Dungeons of Doom is a translation of an original German title, hence why searches come up empty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe someone should try to contact Arndt Hasch for Dungeons of Doom.

      Delete
    2. As it turns out, Dungeons of Doom is the original name of the game, so no translation problems there as I originally thought.

      The only proof the game even exists seems to be a few screenshots on a German website (where a user says he played it) and its claimed presence on an old Russian pirated game collection called "Classic Fond".

      Delete
    3. I played it too back in the early 90s. It was very simple.

      Delete
    4. Hi, Giuseppe. I'd appreciate that link if you'd like to e-mail it.

      Owing to the re-ordering of the list (see next post), I have some more time to figure out both of the "missing" games.

      Delete
    5. Done. :)

      Please let me know if the e-mail, for some reason, doesn't get through.

      Delete
  20. Dragonflight: this is a good game but buggy as hell. There are known bugs in the DOS version:

    [cite]
    "About ten years ago, we acquired a game, written for the Amiga and ported to the PC - my, this was really buggy. The vendor was Thalion, and we contacted them for some real plot-stoppers within Dragonflight (this was the name of this game), which made a certain multipart device useless (the Eltam staff). You couldn't assemble it, as the icons to denote the identity of the four parts were merely invisible.

    But after this was fixed, we detected another bug, even more a plot-stopper. The dungeons weren't always fully walkable, but had some one-way passages like falling through the floor, or being teleported in, and there's no teleport going out. This wouldn't be the problem, as my party could obtain and learn the teleport spell - but when opening the spell window, I could only scroll until spell number 15, making all further (dark) spells unreachable! Guess what number the teleport spell had - it was number 17. It was never fixed, as soon afterwards the company stopped working and was dissolved."
    [/cite]

    The Atari version is buggy too. Your best bet is probably the Amiga version, available from the Thalion web shrine (no spoilers on that site):
    http://thalion.exotica.org.uk/games/dragonflight/df.html

    IMHO it is worth the hassle of learning the Amiga emulator for this game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestions. Owing to the reordering of the list (see the next post), I have a little while to figure it out.

      Delete
  21. A new Game for your list:
    http://deathfiregame.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well, I was thinking of asking your opinion of Boris Vallajo and contemporaries' artwork but well, given how long this has run already, and how late I am to the discussion perhaps I shouldn't.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wizardry 6-7-8 available on Steam. Very very cheap...

    http://store.steampowered.com/sub/31551

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Got it! And Fallout series too! Although I have them in CDs (covered in mold!), best to have them in digital format as well.

      Delete
  24. As a last comment on nudity, I think there is a place for a "sexually liberal" CPRG, IF, it's done right. Not kinky or ho-ho-ho-funny as in Elvira, or juvenile as it seems to happen here, but if it portrays sexuality as a power (either dark or uplifting). For a dark portrayal, I'm thinking of things like, say, The Dark Tower, Roland and the succubus (and the consequences). Or think of sexuality as a mind-altering power (as a drive, or as a mental poison). And, I don't know the politically correct english word, indigenous peoples sometimes have (had?) ancient sexual rituals. Shamans "harness" the power of sexuality. Or you know, Wicca, the modern witchcult, that's already very close to the gothic design of the Wizardry games. Maybe Bradley was going for this feel, but failed. The story of the love/sex triangle in this game is dark enough...

    By the way, shouldn't this game appear in the "Highest Rated So Far" list? (Or is that list getting to long with all those 53-point games?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I remember Elvira correctly, the only thing sexy about it was just a moving portrait modeled after the real Elvira in the Intro and Outro. Unless you're talking about the movie or her talk show.

      Delete
    2. Hmm, I remember that the games were "real" RPGs and not just jokes, but I also remember that the image of Elvira was a big point of buying these games. It's really just a "feeling" in my subconsciousness (I was 10 when the second game came out so I remember no specifics), but Elvira was the "funny woman in the black clothes with the big breasts". The latter games were reviewed quite badly so I think when I read those reviews, I got the impression that these games were not to be taken seriously (I also remember a terrible review of "Samantha Power's Strip Poker"). Of course, it's also likely that the package and the couple of Elvira screenshots promised more than was actually delivered.
      I forgot about Elvira for 20 years until she re-appeared in a Youtube parody video of republican politician Christine O'Donnell's "I'm not a witch" campaign ad...

      Delete
  25. On the subject of nudity in this game I'd say I have to agree with the folks that say it was added to this game, essentially to exploit teenage gamers with over driven hormones.

    I'm old enough to have been a teenage when this was released and I always remember feeling like it was a kind of weird, sleazy game.

    Couldn't quite remember why, until a few days ago when I was reading some old Dragon Magazines and saw the print ads for this game. They consist of a girl in green makeup, topless, but with her nipples covered, barely, by her arm and a lock of hair, holding a sword.

    The text line below that picture read "I'm Waiting." and then a phone number is provided, in case you wanted to order it directly from Sir-Tech.

    Personally I'd say that's pretty strong evidence that they were trying to sell copies to younger dudes that just wanted to see boobies.....I know that's the impression I got as a 15 year old.

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    Replies
    1. There is this sleazy aspect to it, but I wouldn't condemn the entire game as such. In any event, thanks for your recollections. They confirm my impressions.

      Delete

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