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Default CRPG Addict - Review Roundup (Part Three)

July 1st, 2011, 20:14
In this entry you'll find some of the games out of order. This is because CRPG Addict went back and played some games that were not on the wiki's list, but on Moby's list. Any game with "backtracking" in the title are those games that he found out about later. Here we go with Part Three of CRPG Addict's blog:
The Bard's Tale II (1986) - The basic trouble with The Bard's Tale II is that it's too much like The Bard's Tale, just bigger. So far, I'm encountering copious monsters, messages scrawled on dungeon walls, teleporters, traps, zones of darkness, anti-magic zones, magic mouths, and everything that I already experienced a couple of months ago. Since I don't even have the satisfaction of character development to go along with it, this game promises to be fairly tedious.
Might & Magic (1986) - 10. Gameplay. As I previously covered, game play in Might & Magic is very non-linear, which (as I also previously covered), I like a lot. Except for a handful of locked doors for which you have to find the keys, there's almost nowhere in the game world that you can't trek from the starting town—assuming you can survive the monsters (hint: you can't). I liked that the game essentially required me to explore to even figure out what the main quest was about. The difficultly of the game is well-balanced. Although you die a lot, particularly at the beginning, the pace of the gameplay is fast enough that you don't really mind (assuming you haven't been a complete idiot about saving). Just as it starts to drag a bit, you start to get a selection of spells—time warp, fly, teleport, town portal—that make traveling about the world a bit faster, and low-level monsters much easier to dispatch. It was over just when I was about ready for it to be over, which is always the mark of a good game. My only complaint: no replayability. But that's par for the course in the Silver Age. In the end, this game was exactly what it should be to earn a high score on my blog: addictive. Final score: 8.

The final tally of 60 is the highest of any CRPG so far, even higher than Ultima IV. This gives me a few pangs, but although I like Ultima IV better as a story, I admit that I probably like Might & Magic better as a game.
Backtracking: Wizard's Castle (1980) - We needn't spend a lot of time on Wizard's Castle (1980), even though it shows enough promise to be slightly addictive if I gave it a chance. It is an entirely text-based game, similar to the earliest versions of Rogue. As Matt Barton says in Dungeons & Desktops (2008), it is notable less for what it is and more for how it was released: it was printed as 5000 lines of BASIC code in the magazine Recreational Computing. I'm not really sure who I have to thank for the DOS executable version I'm playing.
Backtracking: Oubliette (1983) - I don't know how much of this game is based on the original code and how much was added for the 1983 DOS release, but either way it's pretty [expletive] cool. I found a text-based manual on a C64 site [unfortunately, not formatted well] and I can't believe the amount of innovation they packed into a game this early—including elements we see in no other CRPG. For instance:

  • You choose from eight races when creating your characters: dwarf, elf, gnoll, hobbit, human, kobold, ogre, and orc.
  • There are an incredible 10 classes: hirebrand (fighter), mage, sage, priest, peasant, ninja, thief, paladin, samurai, ranger.
  • The game offer D&D's set of six attributes, and like in Wizardry (in fact, I can see this game's influence on Wizardry) the attributes determine what class you can choose.
  • Once you create your character, you have to choose a guild to join for your "apprenticeship." There are 19 guilds, but restricted based on class and attributes, I guess.
  • There are six spell levels for both clerics and priests, with three or four spells per level.

Backtracking: StarQuest: Rescue at Rigel (1983) -[i] In this blog so far, I have played a number of games that I thought were pointless or goofy (my worst venom remains for Ultima II; I can't believe that was part of such an otherwise excellent series), but I've never played any as painful as StarQuest. I'm not knocking it—I'm sure it was a joy at the tim…More information.
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July 1st, 2011, 20:15
I barely heard of DND before, but definitely never heard of the other "backtracked" games. Not surprisingly since I would have been four years old when Wizard's Castle was made.

I'm very surprised that Oubliette had a lot of innovative ideas way back then.

Also he has many blogs about Might & Magic. They were an excellent read since I never played that game either.

The post is a little too long. Just click "more information" to see the rest of it.
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July 2nd, 2011, 05:58
I played quite a bit back in the old days on old mainframes (PDP 10?) along with Empire (line those shores with armies!) and one of the Rogue-like games. As I recall, the trick in DND was to get lucky and break into a vault, use the money to buy some great magic items, then take an elevator down to the bottom level.
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July 2nd, 2011, 23:05
When I played DnD on the Apple ][ the versions rarely worked since it was open source.

The Telengard I played looked nothing like the commercial version. It was more or less DnD (literally, including source code) but had a lot fewer bugs. It was mostly text but was mainly an overland map that, not coincidentally I'm guessing, looked a lot like Ultima. Ultima began its pre-life as a port of DnD by Richard Garriot as a high school project (he got an A) which eventually became Akalabeth. Telengard, I understand, eventually became Rogue. Correct me if I'm wrong.

The link to the DnD page on his blog is an eye opener.

This is the first other time I've heard mention of the mainframe version of Obliette. I had read once that it was the inspiration for Wizardry. I did not know it evolved out of DnD.

edit: there's a link to a tribute page to Dan's passing

http://www.clapperfuneralservices.co…user_id=212445

and in the guest book one or two people from his early days of commercial development of RPGs signed the register. One has to put him up there with Gygax, Arneson, and Garriot. Kind of like the Ed Roberts to Gates, Allen, and Wozniak.

I think it would look good for the front page.

edit: ah, it seems I'm mixing him up with origina; DnD creators Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood. Interviews show he claims any connection to their DnD a happy accident. Still pretty important figure tho IMO, especially because of Telengard.
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July 5th, 2011, 21:37
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Backtracking: StarQuest: Rescue at Rigel (1983) -[i] In this blog so far, I have played a number of games that I thought were pointless or goofy (my worst venom remains for Ultima II; I can't believe that was part of such an otherwise excellent series), but I've never played any as painful as StarQuest. I'm not knocking it—I'm sure it was a joy at the tim…More information.
Just wait until he hits U8 and U9!
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