In New World Computing's Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer, you lead a party of up to five characters in a quest to rid the world of the havoc and mayhem caused by this cataclysmic event by finding the source of the devastation and closing the four gateways. Unlike earlier episodes in the series, you'll only create one character, selecting from seven possible classes: Necromancer, Cleric, Knight, Troll, Minotaur, Dark Elf, and Vampire. As your adventures continue, you'll fill out your party of five by hiring NPCs at various inns throughout the land, or by hiring those who offer to join you as you wander the land.
Characters can be promoted to a second level of efficiency, such as Lich from Necromancer or Champion from Knight, with evolving skills (normal, expert, master, and grandmaster levels) and attributes (might, endurance, intellect, personality, accuracy, speed, and luck). There are a dozen secondary skills available in addition to the basic nine magic skills, and 11 combat skills. Resistance levels (defensive) and hit points also vary from class to class. An eighth class eventually becomes available, a Dragon, but not as a starting character.
As in Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor, the game offers support for 3D acceleration and features a number of improvements in control and gameplay. Examples include automatic notes on teacher locations and automatic building and locale naming on maps (with the capability to mark special locations and enter comments). Turn-based or real-time combat is still an optional choice with limited movement allowed while in turn-based mode. The interface is point-and-click with significant keyboard shortcut controls.
"Recycling" computer games became a common thing. Obsolete engines are being used beyond belief just to make more money on account of old fame. Playability does play an important role in determining game quality, yet outdated graphics and gameplay can really spoil the overall impression. Neither reviewers nor players were overenthusiastic about Might and Magic VII, mostly because of the old engine and lack of novelties. Disregarding that, New World Computing decided to repeat the same mistake in Might and Magic VIII: the objects and NPCs are still polygons in spite of the use of 3D acceleration.
Some (slight) enhancements have been made. The automap now lets you add your own comments on map, so that it is now easier to find a certain shop or tutor. Your characters can now pass through NPCs without getting stuck in narrow hallways and streets. Everyone who remembers the dwarven stone city will appreciate this move.
Character control is better than it used to be: mouse look is enabled so that the view resembles a FPS view. On the other hand you cannot compare it to any modern FPS games (for that matter nor System Shock 2 or Ultima IX) because of its main drawback - pathetically poor graphics. Because of its graphics, most gaming sites call Might and Magic VI - part three.
The ugly graphics will probably repel new players, yet older experienced Might and Magic players will probably be thrilled by the further story development of the M&M epic. During the sixth part, Enroth was attacked by Kreagan, a devilish race that will turn out to be in the power of a master race known from the ancient scriptures. Heroes of Might and Magic III and M&M VII continued this story depicting the conflict between Kreagan and the neighboring land of Erathia. The last sequel, M&M VIII introduces the third continent Jadame, where all the events from previous sequels will culminate, and a lot of questions find their answers. The game starts on Dagger Wound islands, home of the Lizardmen. They are constantly endangered by pirate attacks. You can witness real fights between NPCs (Lizardmen and pirates). The combat between NPCs was first seen in M&M VII, but it is only now that it shows its real potentials, making the virtual world more realistic and dynamic.
The story is as follows: All hell breaks loose over Jadame when a mysterious character known as the Destroyer attacks the continent by opening four gates to the dimension of elementals. The planes are open and the destructive energy of elementals threatens to destroy the world. On the other side, the ancient master race and Kreagan have a cunningly devised plan to take over the world by attacking a sovereign country. To make things even more interesting, Jadame is the home of Regnan pirates. You might have encountered some pirates who posed no threat in previous parts, but here the situation is somewhat different. The pirates are using the chaos educed by the elemental invasion and start attacking small trading colonies with the intention to cut off trade with Erathia and Enroth, and thus take control of the market prices. Once you succeeded breaking the pirate blockade you may expect to be joined by some of the famous characters from the M&M universe.
Jadame is much different from Enrotha and Erathie. First big difference is the population consisting of minotaurs, drow elves, trolls, vampires and lizardmen who are not stupid monsters; in fact they have a very sophisticated culture and cities. That is one of the big novelties: you can choose your characters to be dragons, vampires, drow elves or trolls. Character selection is a bit different. In the beginning you choose only one hero which represents you, and the remaining for characters can be recruited in taverns on the way. The group can now consist of only five characters!
Another important thing is the complete lack of SF elements that spoiled the atmosphere in ome of the previous parts. This means that the characters will no longer have to exchange their swords and axes for blasters and laser rifles towards the end of the game. New World Computing wanted to create a completely SF town on the third continent, but fortunately their mail server got overloaded by letters from M&M fans all around the world with disapproved of this move.
People who downloaded Might and Magic 8: Day of the Destroyer have also downloaded:
Might and Magic 7: For Blood and Honor, Might and Magic 9, Might and Magic 6: The Mandate of Heaven, Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra, Might and Magic 2: Gates to Another World, Might and Magic: World of Xeen, Might and Magic: Darkside of Xeen, Might and Magic: Swords of Xeen
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