|I'm pretty sure this is the first mention of either Queen Beyki or Queen Margda in the entire series.|
Wizardry: Scenario #3 - The Legacy of Llylgamyn
Sir-Tech Software (developer and publisher)
Released 1983 for Apple II; 1986 for DOS; 1987 for Sharp X1, PC-88, and PC-98; 1989 for Commodore 64 and 128, NES; 2001 for Game Boy Color; remade 1994 for TurboGrafx CD; remade 1997 for PlayStation, SEGA Saturn, Windows
Date Started: 10 April 2010
Date Ended: 3 January 2015
Total Hours: 34
Difficulty: Hard (4/5)
Final Rating: 36
Ranking at Time of Posting: 74% (125/169)
Final Rating: 36
Ranking at Time of Posting: 74% (125/169)
Well, I was right about what I needed to do to win the game: rediscover the Crystal of Good on Level 5 and the Crystal of Evil on Level 4, re-fuse them into the Neutral Crystal, and trade it with a different statue on Level 6, a little harder to find than the first, but possessing the true Orb of Earithin. In planning this move, however, I was forgetting that I'd need a good-aligned party to go back to Level 4. Thus, after retrieving the Crystal of Good, I had to change alignments again. But it was just about as fast and easy as the first time. I wandered around Level 1 for about 30 minutes before I'd declined to attack enough friendly parties that all my characters had the "G" next to their names again. I'm glad I got to end the game with good-aligned characters.
The only other consequence was that my fighter could no longer equip his hard-won "ebony blade," as it was aspected to evil characters only. Later, I found a complementary "ivory blade," but I didn't identify it until after I won, so I never got to wield it.
I forgot to mention last time that both Crystals are in the hands of boss-level characters on their floors. In the case of the Crystal of Good, the battle is with "Soul Trappers" and Crusader Lords. The Crystal of Evil is held by a guy named Delf and "Delf's Minions." Both are relatively hard when you first encounter them, capable of mass-damage spells and paralysis, but my second battles were much easier (obviously), as I'd gone up several levels in the meantime and had plenty of high-level spells of my own to hurl at them.
|A battle with Delf and his minions. I forgot to cast LATUMAPIC before embarking on this adventure, so the monsters are still unidentified for now.|
Going from Level 4 to Level 6 is shorter than going from Level 5, but getting back was a bit of a nightmare. Level 4 has an area full of squares that say "look out!" followed by a random encounter no matter which way you step. You have to step on at least 5 of these on the way to the stairs, plus deal with a few other fixed encounter spaces--unless you can answer a riddle near the entrance, in which case you get automatically teleported to a square near the stairs. This is the riddle:
I tried an embarrassing number of options--WILD, WILDERNESS, NATURE, HORSE and EGO (the last fits perfectly!)--before I realized that the obvious answer, pairing with the AIR answer on Level 1, was FIRE. In my defense, there are no riddles whose answers are EARTH or WATER.
Up on Level 6, I explored the unmapped areas (including several 3x3 squares with no way in that I could find) before finally discovering a secret door leading to the real statue. This was proceeded by yet another tarot-based riddle, but I think I could have figured out the answer to this one without scouring online images.
Behind the riddle, a statue held the crystal Orb of Earithin and traded it for my Neutral Crystal. All that remained was getting back to town.
It was tougher than I imagined. I hit upon a couple of very difficult battles on Level 6, plus when I got back to Level 4, there was no teleporter back through the "look out!" squares, so I had to contend with all of them. In general, it felt like there were more random encounters on the way back than usual. But I had plenty of healing spells by this point, so while it was a bit nail-biting at times, I made it back with everyone alive.
When I reached the city, I was given a choice as to whether to turn over the Orb. I was curious what would happen if I said "no," but I didn't, and I got the endgame screen above. In addition to an asterisk in each character's profile, I got about 200,000 experience, enough for everyone to increase 1-2 levels. It's too bad that no game uses them again. My mage never did get MALOR or the other top-level spells--I was about 70,000 experience points short.
|Later, I read that if you say "no," they just keep asking you every time you enter the city.|
The lack of a major final battle was a bit odd, as it was in Wizardry II, but in general I found the endgame a lot easier than the first Wizardry, with less variability in the difficulty of encounters on the final level. The Priests of Fung aside, I thought the enemy difficulty was reasonably well-balanced throughout, though of course I did have to do a lot of grinding in the early game.
Since playing the first Wizardry, I've had a lot more experience with this series (aborted attempts at II, III, and IV, followed by winning Wizardry V and re-playing and winning I and II), and of course I allowed myself to back up the save disk every half hour. Both factors are probably responsible for my general sense that III was a bit easier than I. At six levels, it was also a better length. The sense of character progression was a bit more limited (though much, much better than II), but I liked the selection of equipment better here. Overall, I expect III to do about as well as I on the GIMLET. Let's see:
- 3 points for the game world. There's a main plot, but unnecessarily embellished with an extra layer. The dungeon itself is non-thematic, full of monsters, structures, and NPCs that don't make sense together. (Who was Abdul, for instance?) It would have been cool if the natural disasters were all a setup for Wizardry IV, and the final screens revealed that the source of the evil was Werdna returning to power, but the game wasn't that clever. Overall, I had no love for the good and evil levels or the veiled idea that good and evil need to be in balance to prevail (a grade-school level interpretation of Taoism).
- 4 points for character creation and development. I was grateful to be back at Level 1, enjoying the rewards that were absent from II. In terms of classes, attributes, and alignments, and their associated spells, item restrictions, and aspected weapons, the trilogy offers more than almost anything else on the market in 1981-1983. This is probably the first game in which alignment is used as a plot element. It wasn't used particularly well, but we have to give some credit.
- 1 point for NPC interaction, and that's for having a single wonky NPC. It was not a strong suit of the trilogy.
|Yes, I gave a point for this.|
- 5 points for encounters and foes. I liked the challenging riddles (even if I thought the tarot one was a little unfair). The Wizardry trilogy offers a better gallery of creatures, in terms of special attacks and defenses, than anything before its explosion of descendants came out in 1985-1986.
|This is, and always will be, bull****.|
- 6 points for magic and combat. I think that's what I gave the first two games, and nothing has changed. You might protest that such a high score doesn't leave a lot of room for development over the next 30 years, but to me quality magic and combat systems aren't about the number of options so much as how well-balanced they are, how tactical they are, and how much the player has to put into them. With just a few options, Wizardry's system remains remarkably challenging and engaging even today, and it's rare to find a more well-balanced spell system, with just enough slots to help you survive, but not enough to let you get cocky.
- 5 points for equipment. With a variety of helms, armor, weapons, shields, amulets, rods, potions, scrolls, special items, and unique artifact items, the game more than satisfies my craving for a solid equipment system. The only thing that mystifies me is why they didn't include more types of scrolls in the game beside KATINO and HALITO.
|A final character and some of his gear.|
- 3 points for the economy. The game does reasonably well. You make your initial purchase of goods and then come back a few times throughout for +1 weapons and armor, when you can afford them. There are always potions and scrolls to buy with extra funds, though I generally found myself spending most of my gold on healing and resurrections.
- 2 points for the main quest. No options, no alternate outcomes.
- 3 points for graphics, sound, and interface. The sound is still negligible and the graphics okay. The interface is flawless, full of easy-to-learn keyboard commands. This reminds me: Early in my re-play, Brutus alerted me to a DOSBox setting that would produce better graphics and color. I did it, and agreed that it was better, but then had to switch back to the default settings for MegaTraveller. When I went back to Wizardry III, I completely forgot about the issue. Oh, well. You don't really play the game for the graphics anyway.
|This is the color we could have been looking at. Sorry, everyone.|
- 4 points for gameplay. Challenging and not too long, but of course relatively linear and not very replayable.
The final rating is 36, which turns out to be 1 point higher than I gave it in 2010 after playing for only a few hours, 1 point lower than the original Wizardry, and 4 points higher than Wizardry II. I'm fine with all of these outcomes. Wizardry III is about equal to the original game. We haven't left the Silver Age, so there's not even any sense complaining that Wizardry hadn't evolved since the first game; it's still better than anything else that came out that year except Ultima III.
If you think that's high praise, regard the opening lines of Softline magazine's July-August 1983 review:
The third Wizardry scenario wasn't written; it was composed. The rhythms of good and evil, light and dark, earth and fire pulsate in counterpoint. The dungeon feels like a living, breathing entity. Llylgamyn's mythology is built around the Tarot. The juxtaposition of good and evil and the use of the Tarot as an eerily haunting submotif create a mood that pervades the playing of Legacy of Llylgamyn. It is fascinating and rich and very, very alive.
If that review had come out in 1987, I would have accused the author of overstating the case at best and taking money from Sir-Tech at worst. But it makes sense in 1983, when there was nothing else comparable, when a game like Wizardry III evoked things in the imagination and eager player's minds filled in the gaps in the story and setting.
In Dungeons & Desktops, Matt Barton clued me in to a fun historical curio: In 1982, Datamost Software started selling a Wizardry character editor called WizPlus, advertised to work with both Proving Grounds and Knight of Diamonds, allowing players to edit attributes, experience, gold, spells, and equipment. It retailed for $39.95, or close to $100 in today's money. Can you imagine spending that much just to cheat? Apparently, enough people did that Sir-Tech started including notes in their software boxes, warning that "it took more than four years of careful adjustment to properly balance Wizardry" and that "these products tend to interfere with this subtle balance and may substantially reduce your playing pleasure." According to a note in the July-August 1983 Computer Gaming World, "Sir-Tech tells us that if your Wizardry program has been modified by WizPlus, the warranty on your Wizardry disk will no longer be honored." Gaming was serious business back then.
|Judging from the box, they had a better aesthetic sense than Sir-Tech.|
Anyway, Sir-Tech got the last laugh, as something about the program made it so the edited characters couldn't be imported into Wizardry III.
I'll have more thoughts on the legacy of the early Wizardry trilogy in my 1980-1983 wrap-up, which I'll complete after I offer my post on Moria. For now, I'll just conclude that for a classic RPG experience, there really wasn't much to rival these games in the early 1980s. The Ultima series was getting its legs, sure, but until III, it didn't offer anything approaching quality combat or a quality magic system. Via its debt to the PLATO games, which themselves were directly inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, the Wizardry trilogy did a better job of re-creating D&D-style mechanics than the two officially-licensed D&D titles that came out during this period.
I'm glad that I redeemed my horrible quasi-review of 5 years ago and won the game. That means Wizardry IV is the only one with a "no" in the "Won?" column. Don't hold your breath or anything.