Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wizardry IV: &*$# Everything About This Game

I do hate it when my mummies thrust lovingly at their enemies.

Oh, where do I begin?

&*$# the way that you can't save your progress without resetting the entire dungeon.

&*$# the ghost of Lord Trebor, who suddenly appears while you're standing around, minding your own business, and kills you instantly.

You suck.

&*$# enemy spellcasters who MAHLITO all of your summoned creatures to ash.

&*$# the fact that you have a limited number of moves to complete the game, and holding down the space bar in combat--which is the only way to get through each combat in less than 15 minutes, even with the time delay set to 0--eats up about 100 of them per round.

Thieves. &*$# 'em. They come along and steal your stuff, some of which (like the magic stones I find in certain squares) I suspect are needed to complete the game. Do I have to reload after every thief?

You suck, too.

&*$# the KATINO (sleep) spell, which is the only area effect spell you have until Level 3, and it never works.


&*$# the manual, which doesn't tell you jack &*$# about what "invoking" things does.

&*$# the "oracle," who took 2,500 of my gold to tell me that "the egress will set you free." Oh, really?! The exit is the way out? Who would have guessed?

Thanks. I already feel welcome.

And &*$# Level 8, which is completely open and full of landmines that kill you without warning. They're everywhere. If there's any way to avoid them or map around them, I have no idea what it is.

My map of Level 8 so far. The black dots are mines. Mines that kill you.

This game could actually be fun. There are some interesting tactics to it. You have to figure out what each of the summoned creatures can do and pick the optimum balance of henchmen to effectively make your way through each level. You have to ration your spells and avoid saving too often. It could have been challenging and tactical; instead it's maddening and nearly impossible.

&*$# everything about this game. &*$# Andrew Greenberg, Robert Woodhead, and Roe R. Adams III for making it. &*$# Interplay for continuing to sell it. &*$# the lot of you for reading this blog. &*$# Google for providing the platform to set up this blog. &*$# my parents for having me. &*$# &*$# &*$#.

Sigh...back to mapping Level 8.


  1. LOL

    Well, &*$# you too - for stealing my &*$# time! ;-)

  2. Ouch!

    I had heard good things about the wizardry series... but I guess this is one of the bad ones?

    Do you know how many levels there are? I mean, if you're at level 8, and there are a dozen, then at least you're near the end... although it may be best not to know if there are a hundred levels...

    1. It's actually really good, just extremely frustrating in parts. He hasn't even seen the worst of it, 4F. I won't spoil it any more than that. The minefield is nothing compared to later floors. Oh. And it starts at 10F and you go to the ground level to win. This fame was made for you to hate it, at first. Reaching the end(s), though, is too satisfying to describe. After it, all CRPGs will seem way too easy in comparison. Just don't go in expecting anything like a modern game and you'll only die a few dozen times. And the keystroke limit he talks about is highly forgiving if you don't make stupid moves (like holding space just to make encounters go faster).

    2. Oh, hello, Werdna! Posing as Anonymous this time to espouse the "merits" of this horribly random game of chance over tactics?

  3. I'm guessing there are 10, but you START on Level 10 and work your way up, so "Level 8" is actually just the third level.

  4. Ah, okay.

    Although having your third level as a crazy version of "minesweeper" seems very OTT.

  5. If your drive to complete 'the hardest RPG ever' carries you through these frustrations, then I'm sure it'd be cool to be able to say you completed the game, but seriously, most of what you've described is not interesting challenge, but arbitrarily difficult.

    It sounds like this ghost of Trebor thing is a random chance of having your game end at any time, regardless of whether you are making good decisions or bad ones. That may make the game far more challenging, but it's terrible game design, and a lazy way to ramp up the challenge.

    I don't think being the hardest CRPG ever is much of a prize if it attained the title through bad design.

    Not that I think ever situation should be winnable, but the game should allow you to make difficult situations attainable through caution and good strategy, and a random instadeath timer does not do this.

    All I'm saying is, if you've hit your six hours and you're still finding the experience unrewarding, you may want to consider moving on.

    1. Nope. It's not random.The way Trebor's ghost works is largely deterministic. (It moves. More slowly than you move. Standing still and backtracking are problematic. There's a way of stopping it from chasing you, later.) There's strategy to all of it. (And you get to restore at the same level, as with most of the instadeaths in Wizardry IV.)

      The thing about Wizardry IV is that it doesn't tell you anything. Much of the game is figuring out the rules by trial and error and experiment. It's... not to most people's taste.

  6. Good gosh! :) My hat's off to you. I know for a fact that I don't have your staying power. I would have passed on such a horrible game.

    Wizardry is one of the few RPG legacies that I never bought into.

  7. That's why you play the games. So we don't have to!

  8. As a long time Commodore man, I had no access to Wiz until Bane, which rocked. When C= went kaput, I went PC and one of the first things I did was pick up a wiz multi-pack. I did not then, and do not now, believe those things were "compitition" for Bards Tale and M&M. They sucked.

  9. I once looked at a "let's play" of this game and it seemed much more eventful than the previous three scenarios. Granted, it is very difficult ... it was aimed at seasoned Wizardry players and indeed it requires knowledge of something you learned in Wizardry I at some point ... and, yes, there is an invisible path in level 8 that you can only find by trial and error.

  10. wiz4 IS hard. VERY hard. I don't think too many people finished it back in the day. The first 5 wizardries are pretty much the exact same game, so when you get to Heart of the Maelstrom, its well, the same as Wiz1/2/3/4. It was not until 6 they spent money on a new EGA engine!

    dont forget, you have to play this game fast since there is no XP reward. get as many minions as you can from the pent, and go! if a thief steals an important item you can backtrack to where you found it and it will be there (so its not game breaking)..

    and dont forget there are a set number of people on each level out to kill you but once you kill em they are dead dead.

  11. Congratulations! You at least made it out of the first room; a lot of people never even accomplished that. Some items are vital to the game's solution (and can indeed be stolen), some are vital to certain solutions, and some are completely worthless. It's best to reload if something is stolen.
    As to level 8, there is a way around the landmines but you probably haven't found it yet. There are squares that don't contain landmines, but not a lot.

  12. I figured out that once you kill enough enemies, they stop bothering you. But Trebor's ghost is always wandering about, so you can't get complacent.

    Rattmice, I got lucky by putting priests in my party at the beginning, but it appears to me that if you don't have priests, and they don't think to cast "MILWA" during an early encounter, you never find your way out of the original box. It amuses me to think of legions of gamers purchasing Wizardry IV and feeling gypped because the entire game consists of a single 4x4 dungeon that you have to stand around in until Trebor comes to kill you.

    1. There was a solution to the first room in a sealed envelope which came in the original box. If you had a pirated copy, you were out of luck, though.

  13. Wow, this game sounds absolutely terrible!

  14. The original game had a clue about the first room, but that was the only help. You have to keep finding the oracle and paying for each successive clue. The really hard mapping does not start until 4 more levels up. Yes, they did everything they could to make us fail.

  15. First time I did get insulted by a blog post for reading it ;)


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