Eye Of The Beholder (Sega) Review | Mean Machines Sega - Everygamegoing

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Eye Of The Beholder
By FCI
Sega CD (US Version)

 
Published in Mean Machines Sega #27

Eye Of The Beholder

One thing along disturbs the elders of Waterdeep. Its prime position for sea and inland trade means its prosperity is assured. The people are happy, industrious and faithful. What could blight this seemingly blithe settlement? Only a perverse force like the one the city is becoming increasingly subject to.

Lurking beneath the city is an ancient evil. This is the extent of the divinations of the elders. To discover the true nature of this supernatural curse, and hopefully confront it, they have sent out for a band of adventurers, with a mixture of skills in sword, spell and sleight of hand. The best of these shall descend, prepared for deniziens of ever-increasing malice and power to confront them. To the underground...

Origin

SSI released Eye Of The Beholder years ago for the Amiga, and they are well established in the computer RPG field.

Game Aim

Traverse the stacked dungeon levels using RPG tactics to discover the ancient evil of Waterdeep.

Roll 'Em, Roll 'Em, Roll 'Em

Before entering the dungeon, you must create your four characters (or accept the computer's default party). There are four stages to this. First you must select one of twelve races. These cover the 'average' male or female human, elves, with their enhanced magical power, dwarves with their resistance to magic and others. Next a profession is chosen - with certain limitations according to the racial class. An alignment is then selected, which again depends on the other choices (i.e. a Paladin cannot be aligned to evil or neutral). Alignment reflects the basic moral character of the person. Finally dice are rolled to fill in the character profile - strength intelligence etc. all have a bearing on events within the game.

By Hard Or Brain

Down in the dungeon, your party stick together, preferably with fighters to the front and spell casters to the rear. When you confront an enemy, combat is a simple matter of clicking on the selected weapon for fighters. Any damage you inflict shows as a green flash, while damage you take shows as a red flash.

Skill, weapon and a random element go into the calculation of attacks. Spellcasters must prepare their attacks beforehand by memorising spells during rest periods. According to level, a quota of spells of various power levels is allocated.

Blood Curdling Cries

This version of Eye Of The Beholder benefits from CD sound. Lots of soundtracks are provided by Yuzo Koshiro, the maestro behind many a Megadrive hit, plus authentic effects of battle and deathly agony are included.

Doors And Floors

The dungeon is a ten level maze of corridors and chambers shown in a small scrolling 3D window. Many switches, alcoves and panels await your inspection.

Gus

Amiga owners might scoff at the Mega-CD only just getting a game that has been out for around four years on floppy, with no discernible improvement in graphics and gameplay, but RPG fans will be more than grateful.

The Mega-CD promised a lot in the fantasy role-play department when it first arrived, but in this country very little has been delivered. This is a timely redress, with great atmosphere (largely due to the music) and acres of gameplay.

It will take a while to get used to the slightly confusing control, but the cursor and window works a lot better than lists of menus. Not state of the art, but an engaging diversion.

Paul

The days of scrappy bits of squared paper and 20 sided dice are coming to an end. Admittedly, the graphical content is very static - nothing more than a sequence of stills and a couple of animated monster sprites - but for anyone who's played Dungeons and Dragons to any great extent, the game has truly been brought to life.

The control system and sense of direction may feel peculiar at first, but once you've mastered the working of the battle system and compass, all becomes clear. In no time, you'll be totally engrossed in the quest to solve the evil affecting the town.

Above all, the most outstanding feature has to be the soundtrack. A word of advice would be to wear headphones to fully appreciate the quality. This updated version has more than exceeded expectations and is easily a classic.

Verdict

Graphics 74%
P. Crisp dungeon graphics that convey the claustrophobic atmosphere.
N. The game betrays its age with a dated quality to the graphics.

Sound 92%
P. The main improvement of this CD version is a stunning soundtrack from maestro Yuzo Koshiro.
N. The samples are so good, there could only have been more.

Playability 87%
P. Classic RPG gameplay, but with a fast control method.
N. Puzzles simplistic at first. The dungeon setting doesn't offer enough flight of imagination.

Lastability 88%
P. 10 levels may sound small but they are massive, and some of the puzzles are obscure in the extreme.
N. The real threat to lastability is frustration and falling interest level.

Value For Money 85%
P. RPGs are a rare commodity on console.
N. The price is a bit much for a four-year old Amiga game, which has even been released on budget disks long before now.

Overall 88%
Let the computer owners snigger at us playing this crusty old classic, for it is still a classic and gives hours of contentment. I mean, when was Kerplunk invented?