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Old 26-12-2021, 06:05 AM   #91
AndrewJFisher
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Join Date: Jul 2016
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My friend had 'Beholder on his Amiga in '92, I think it would've been my first RPG experience or at least of leading a party around a maze/dungeon, top down or first-person view and fighting as a group, turn-based or real-time. Most of my RPG experience now is turn-based combat, 'Beholder is one of the few I've played with real-time combat. Also new things like hit points and leveling up. At home I had an old PC with a 4-colour CGA card, I had just gotten a Sega Master System and knew about games like Phantasy Star and Miracle Warriors, was curious about these console JRPGs, but interestingly I didn't really play an RPG till I had a Sega Mega Drive in '97, I mean I loved Landstalker and those sorts of RPG-lite, adventure games with stories and length so that you'd have to save and come back to it. I rented Shining Force from the video store expecting it to be the same and finding out it was turn-based combat I was ready to give it up and return it early, but then I decided it was a chance to finally learn how to play and maybe appreciate an RPG. Luckily Shining Force is one of the best RPGs and it sort of broke me in. The next RPG I tried(again console JRPG for Mega Drive) happened to be the best game ever Phantasy Star IV:The End of the Millennium. After completing that I was like "What have I been missing out on all the time I've been passing over RPGs?". Sadly not much. For a start I think all the previous PStar games in the '87-'90 period fall far short of PStar 4. I wasn't that impressed with Shining Force II either, I think the only RPG that came close to PStar 4 and Shining Force is Shining in the Darkness, first of the Shining Force games I suppose, but not with the newish chequerboard, battlefield combat system, it was of the old, small party, dungeon descent/ascent system, first-person view like 'Beholder, but turn-based combat.

I finally played 'Beholder this year, downloading it off GOG and with the help of guide maps from the internet I stuck it out to the satisfaction of seeing Xanathar, the ugly eye-monster, crushed in the spike trap, then a "can't be arsed doing a decent job after so much effort expended on the game" text-message ending(the Amiga version had a decent animated ending clip). I'd thought 'Beholder was a bit of a milestone game and maybe worth my playing right through. I did try without a guide at first and got about halfway through, but I wasn't going to waste time drawing maps and muddling around, I found a good guide that showed me where the good armament and magic was to make fighting easier, how to get past traps and locked doors.

I felt, even with guide, the game is a bit of a muddle-through, combat is quite hit and miss(literally, your strikes can miss a few times in a row), some of the magic spells seem useless(raise dead seemed clearly the most essential spell!), there's a lot of useless junk lying around the mazes except you don't even know how useless it is until you use the orb of power and the Oracle of knowledge late in the game. I think the worst part of the game is dungeon level 4 where you get trapped in the spiders' lair, you get poisoned and die quickly unless you use either the slow poison spell or a cure poison potion, but if you run out of slow poison spells, you can't refresh them because resting will cause anyone poisoned to die, even slow poisoned. There are only a few anti-poison potions around, if you run out while still trapped with the spiders' there's not much you can do to survive, using hit and run to avoid getting poisoned is slow and hard.

So I did think the game is quite similar to Shining in the Darkness, strangely both games were released in March 1991 I think. Shining is of course Japanese and anime, I think console JRPGs were always more child friendly than computer RPGs and Shining, though repetitive, sometimes boring dungeon descent/ascent like Wizardry or Rogue, there's a good story holding it together, after making progress in the labyrinth, you're rewarded with story progress back at the castle or nearby village, with cute, animé, cartoons.

Last edited by AndrewJFisher; 26-12-2021 at 06:45 AM.
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