From Sir-Tech Software and Interplay
This particular review is not the review of any specific game but of the overall series from 1 to 6. I haven't played them all, but they are similar enough that the descriptions should suffice for all of them. You can now buy one set that contains Wizardry 1 to 7 plus Wizardry Gold.
These games are true classics and have influenced many subsequent games and Game players. Bard's Tale and Might and Magic are two of the games that evolved from Wizardry.
Each of the games has a base story-line. Briefly summarising (possibly badly, it's been a long time since I read the manuals) evil is loose on the world and it is up to your team to stop it. Note I said team, there is a word to describe adventurers who brave the dungeons alone. The word is dead.
These are very old games. You can tell by the sounds and graphics. Wizardry 1-5 are all very primitive. Line graphics with bit-mapped monsters (one non-moving picture). Wizardry 6 and 7 have a bit of music, the mazes have more real graphics then just line art, but they still aren't that much to talk about. I understand that Wizardry Gold takes the story line from Wizardry 7 but has much better graphics and sound.
You can create a team of up to 6 characters. You can select character name, race, gender, profession and (in some of the games) alignment. Points for things like strength, intelligence, piety (etc.) are generated for the character with your selection of race, gender (etc.) influencing the points. Usually there are a few bonus points left for you to distribute to some of the characteristics. Take the time to develop good characters, in the long run, it is worth the trouble.
In the early stages of the game, if a character dies, you should take their equipment and money and distribute it amongst the survivors of the party. Delete the dead character and generate a new one. Since every new character comes with a bit of cash, this can help the party buy better equipment. After they get to about level 4, then start using the temple or spells to revive your team member.
You take the team down into the dungeons. You have to explore the dungeon, fight monsters and solve a few puzzles. Mapping the mazes used to be a major part of playing these games, but I believe that you can find all the maps for all these games if you look around the computer networks.
Combat is strictly turn-based. You may also find that combat is relatively rare compared to some RPGs where your characters virtually fight for every square they move to. Magical items are also rare, but you will appreciate them so much more then in games like Might and Magic where there are just so many of them to find. Always save the game after finding any *good* item. I still remember with great fondness the sword *Dragonslayer* from Wiz 1.
In Wizardry 1-5, you must periodically return to the world above to rest, translate your experience gained into new levels, learn new spells, and learn new professions. In the last two games, this is no longer a necessity, you gain new levels, etc. while in the maze.
Well, basically that to play the really old ones, you still have to let them have complete control of your computer. I'm not used to that any more.
I've owned some of these games multiple times. Obviously, my conclusion is buy them. They are classic dungeon crawls, and I think everyone that plays rpgs should try this one as the grandfather of the genre.
I have owned Wizardry 1 on the Apple, the first Wizardry Trilogy for the Commodore, and the second Wizardry Trilogy for the PC. Out of these, I have only played 1 and 2 (stopped using the Commodore before I tried Wizardry 3) and 5 and 6 (really, I should finish 6 one of these days so I can try 7 Crusaders of the Dark Savant). I spent a long, long time hanging out in Wizardry 1, just cause I liked it.