|Dungeon Master, the original 1st Person Dungeon Crawler|
|Eye of the Beholder, of course they didn't copy everything about Dungeon Master, as you can see|
This game was all about slaying monsters, solving puzzles and trying to avoid traps. Since fights occurred in real time, fast maneuvers became important, especially with tough enemies. You can attack enemies on their flanks, but they can attack yours as well. Being surrounded meant that you could not move and unless you killed your enemies quickly, you were doomed. Only the front rows could attack with melee weapons, the second and third rows could only use thrown weapons or spells. Since this was a first person perspective game, all characters could only attack one way. Automapping was not a feature in the original DOS version, but was available in some of the later ports. Like DM, the EOB series required the player to find food for the party to eat, either in the form of rations or with a Create Food spell.
|You will encounter many of these in your travels|
This being 1990, and not 1987, players expected a bit more than to just read the manual and then thrust themselves into the game. There was an opening cinematic outlining the plot and music (until you entered the game). The plot was thin, even by 1990's standards, but if people wanted a good plot in a computer RPG, they would play Ultima VI. The various levels of the dungeon had different designs, from the red brick and slime of the sewers to the stone work of the dwarven levels and the onyx designs of the drow. Sound effects were especially important, as the various noises could tell you how close enemies were. There was a special portal system to allow your party to warp to various levels in the dungeon.
|Drow architecture, ornate yet oppressive|
|From the EOB2 Intro : Look into my eyes, you will accept my quest!|
|Do you really have a choice?|
|Priestly discipline at Temple Darkmoon|
Westwood Studios was not involved in the development of EOB3. Instead they used the engine to make the well-regarded game Lands of Lore : The Throne of Chaos. SSI chiefly wanted to add digitized sound support to the EOB engine. To do that, they hired John Miles, later famous for his middleware Miles Sound Drivers, to revise the engine. The original EOB1/2 engine was strictly meant for real mode and 640KB of RAM. Instead of just requiring EMS, which would have solved the problem of storage for sound samples, Miles rewrote the engine, called AESOP, to use the 16-bit protected CPU mode.
|From the EOB3 Intro : Seriously, would you accept a quest from this guy?|
EOB 1 and 2 shared a connected plot. EOB had no connection to the previous games other than it occurs after your party returns victorious from Darkmoon. The plot is not particularly developed in the game, and the story in the manual has, at best, only a thematic connection to the game's plot. The opening cinematic for EOB3 is nowhere near as impressive as EOB2's was.
The digitized sound that SSI and Miles were so keen to incorporate into the game detracts from the immersion instead of adding to it. The ghosts in the opening level and the undead warriors in the mausoleum make machine-like noises. The sound is extremely loud, usually unpleasant and it never seems to stop. Turn down your speakers or your significant other will make you turn them down or order you to put on your headphones. On lower end machines, the game will pause at times for the sound samples to load off the hard disk and into memory. Playing with the digitized sound on on these machines can make for a really choppy playing experience. In addition to FM music, the Roland MT-32 and compatibles is also supported, but outside the introduction music is heard so infrequently in the game that it does not really add to the game.
|Eye of the Beholder : Lumberjacking Simulator|
The difficulty in this game was all over the map. The first level of the mausoleum, which is usually the second level you encounter in the game, is almost certainly the hardest level in the game. Most of the rest of the game is comparatively easy, even the final level. There is a very difficult part just before you meet the Lich, however. Other than that, the game is easier than its predecessor. The Lich himself, who is supposedly the main antagonist in the game, is a pushover. The game is (eventually) generous with items, but your mage will have a difficult time gaining the levels needed to memorize all the high level spells in the game.
|These guys will make you wet your pants, but they are the third monster you encounter in the game|