As the first entry in SSI's Legend Series, Eye of the Beholder is one of the first games in the role playing genre at the beginning of the 1990s decade to make use of graphics technology as a way to immerse the player in a specific environment.. The game is played from a first person perspective most of the time with battle emulating a near real time experience. For all it's basically smooth operation, combat can at times be frustrating simply due to the need to hurry the actions because of an uncoordinated association between selecting weapons and/or spells and the time it takes to wield them. During this lost time, your character is being pummeled unmercifully although not usually to the extent of death before you begin to get your licks in. This creates a necessity to make sure your character is armed with whatever combat tools you think will do the job before committing to the battle. For the most part, the game play flows fairly well with not too many instances of sluggish character movement or inexplicable dead ends (the dreaded "character stuck on a wall" syndrome that plagues other games).
The game suffers a bit from lack of side-quests that could be forgiven if the main quest were more meaningful to the story. Unfortunately, the main task set before your party of adventurers is to recover a handful of objects which turn out to be unnecessary to the completion of the game. The developers use this 'treasure hunt' simply as a means to allow the player to explore the dank and dark spaces underneath the City of Waterdeep and experience the relatively new graphics technology that allows depiction of life under the big city. In itself, that is not a particularly bad thing but tying the search for the objects to the final disputation of events would have been nice. Perhaps that is quibbling about minor flaws in what must be seen as an otherwise interesting and gratifying game experience. One nice feature is the game's lack of a hit point designator during the combat segments which adds a degree of realism to your desperate life or death struggle against the opponent.
Eye of the Beholder's interface is a combination of mouse point and click and keyboard-based modes. Given the choices of either method, The keyboard is the most reliable for character movement with the mouse getting a workout in the areas of menu navigation and item manipulation. A word of caution should be sounded, however. If you are engrossed in the exploration aspects of the game and enjoy the dungeon crawling without a burning desire to complete Eye of the Beholder, then be sure to get it out of your system before defeating Xanathar the Beholder in the final battle as that ends the game irrevocably and completely (pending any saved games you've stashed away).
Graphics: Early 90's vintage. Seen from a 3-D perspective, the creatures and monsters are visual treats and the backgrounds sufficiently depict the fantasy world environment.
Sound: Use of sound effects especially in the area of creatures and combat are good and enhance the gloomy atmosphere.
Enjoyment: A little more story development needed to enrich the game play experience. Better integration of the tasks with the end results would help displace the player's sense of disbelief.
Replay Value: Done is done. Story not deep enough to invite a meaningful second look.
Something evil is lurking below the city of Waterdeep. The Lords of Waterdeep summon a group of heroes to investigate, but someone or something has been watching the proceedings. After the heroes enter the sewers, the ceiling collapses behind them. The only way out is the way down, into a dungeon filled with monsters, traps and puzzles.
Eye of the Beholder is a dungeon crawler RPG with a first-person perspective based on the 2nd Edition AD&D rules. The starting party consists of four characters and up to two NPCs can join later. Combat and magic happen in real time. Fight over a dozen different monster varieties and cast over 40 spells. A point-and-click interface makes exploring, fighting, spellcasting and handling objects easy.
Eye of the Beholder is an all-time favourite. It's a real-time 3D dungeon romp at its best. You control a party of four adventurers that has to explore the sewers of your city and eradicate the evil that has infested them.
The graphics in this game are superb, from the faces of your party members and NPC's to swords, potions and magical items. The monsters are also really well done and there are loads of them! There are heaps of items too, just waiting to be picked up. Westwood was known for making visually stunning introductions and they don't disappoint. The intro explains the story so far and then you're off...
Creating a character is simple and straightforward. You can choose from a list of races and classes and then re-roll the statistics until you're happy.
The combat in the game is also easy; you just have to right-click on the weapon and it is used. However, only your front characters can fight with swords; the back ones must use ranged weapons or magic. Magic is used by memorizing spells while resting and then choosing a spell from a list.
The sound is haunting and very fitting to the environment. You can hear skeletons jingle their chains as they move, and believe me, it's unnerving.
All in all, this game is worth any RPG-er's time. There is fun to be had, nerves to be shot and maps to be drawn.
Part of the Eye of the Beholder Trilogy
Part of the Dungeons & Dragons games Series
People who downloaded Eye of The Beholder 1 have also downloaded:
Eye of The Beholder 2, Eye of The Beholder 3, Pool of Radiance, Dungeon Master, Dungeon Master 2: The Legend of the Skullkeep, Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, Dark Sun 2: Wake of the Ravager, Elder Scrolls, The: Daggerfall
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