Many mazes, many creatures, many fights, many secrets, many possibilities… It’s all what make up a good RPG game. Might and Magic certainly is a famous RPG series and there are still new games being released following up on this classic.
I must say when I first played it on C64 I found it overwhelming and started drawing up maps of my very own. Now, returning to the game I can say some parts are down right frustrating, but that might be because I’ve gotten spoiled by the games which have better overview. Still the fact that most locations within a city look almost identical and that there are no real orientation points outside cities (not to mention a lack of compass) make this game really difficult to navigate.
Another turn off was the fact that every new character you create has no gold to start with and only carries a club. I could understand one or the other, but both? At least they have some food to start with.
Also there could be more things shown on the screen. I mean, should it really be necessary to slam your nose into every wall just to check if it’s not a secret passage there? And would a simple drawing of something grey really be so difficult? Why do you have to walk into an empty space to get a notice that there’s a statue there?
But apart from these three setbacks, the game has a lot of good sides as well.
First of all, there’s the huge world which you (once you activate your real life map drawing skills) can spend days uncovering.
Then there are goodies, like the leprechaun (only found in the first city), who can transport you to any other city, providing you can pay him.
You can also go on some side quests (not really needed to complete the game, but this is just a way of expressing the more open type of a game then a strictly guided adventure) and even if not, there are many treasures to be found.
Enemies are numerous, but if you’re not too reckless and hasty you will be able to improve your characters before reaching enemies they couldn’t handle at first (so moderation is the key).
The game features EGA graphics. They’re not really all that impressive, but the creatures you encounter are nicely done. The combat is only described while the stats are shown. There are some sound effects and some simple tunes to be played out.
All the commands you can perform are just shortcut keys. This is a good time to warn you about the # symbol. This doesn’t mean you need to press SHIFT+3, this mean you need to press a number (usually between 1 and 5 or 6). You might need a combination of keys (CTRL + something).
There in some sort of a save feature. You can check into an inn and whenever you start the game (if the “save game” hasn’t been changed) you can go to that inn (by pressing the number of that city) and your party will be there waiting for you.
All in all, this game is without a doubt one of the games that influenced the RPGs, if nothing else it started the Might and Magic (and later on the Heroes of Might and Magic) series. Personally I was somewhat disappointed. I guess it’s just a game that didn’t age all that well.
Part of the Might and Magic Series
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