In the Land of Gael Serran, there is a coming darkness. The Dark Overlord is once again threatening the land. You must search for the legendary Mavin Sword, and use it to end the power of darkness. Your quest will lead you to travel the world as you seek the guardians of the Sword.
This is a game in the classic style of Wizardry. You develop a team of up to six characters, choosing from a mix of races and beginning roles. As your team gains experience, they can learn new abilities, new roles and new spells. Most experience will be from winning fights. Battle defaults to turn-based, you can try it in real time if you like though.
The game has a well-developed world, several storylines to follow and lots of exploration. The graphics are 3-D and some things may be above or below your normal line of vision. The music is good, and better yet, sometimes it stops for a while!
You build your basic team from the start, and you want a mix of races, types, and abilities. This basically means start with three warriors, a rogue, a priest and a wizard. Buy them very basic equipment, you'll find more as you wander the world. Each character can learn to use certain types of weapons, and perhaps certain spells.
Guilds may seem expensive, but get the characters into guilds as quickly as possible. The guild is one way to develop the abilities of your group. Plus certain skills and abilities can only be taught in the guild. Any character can only be in training for one thing per guild, and they only complete the training when they go up a level. So you want them to be learning things in the guild before they go up too many levels.
From within the guild, your characters can ascend to new roles. For the fighting classes, this is an excellent idea, the new roles will add much to their abilities. From the first village, you could develop a ranger, a barbarian, a monk (though the monk has high basic requirements and you might want to make that one of the final classes), paladin and warlock. Don't be in too much of a hurry with the warlock, the priest or wizard should be pretty far up in learning their basic spells before they switch because the new spell books will keep them busy. You won't be able to develop a bard, ninja or samurai until you've moved to the second major location in the game. Characters can change roles several times during the game, but they can never return to an old role once they've switched. So keep in mind the ultimate classes you'd like for each character.
There are three ways to develop skills in the game. The first way is simply by using the ability. Every time your character successfully uses an ability, they get better at it. The second is when a character gains a level, they will be able to raise one or more abilities. The last is that the guild might offer training in that ability; if it is one the character knows, the price is determined by how close the character is to knowing the next level.
It never hurts to undertake a quest for anyone. Completing a quest may earn you bonus experience, rare items or important information.
When you pause the game, the music continues to play. Since time does pass (at least to the extent of day and night), I'd rather have the music stop to show that time has properly stopped.
You can only add one spell when you go up a level, no matter how many types of magic the character can use. This is a) annoying and b) expensive since you might have to suppliment their learning with books.
This is a highly entertaining and additive game. There are a number of game locations, each of the major game location has a number of levels with traps, puzzles and many monsters. Character advancement occurs regularly, there are many skills and abilities for your characters to learn.
All up, I'd highly recommend the game for any fans of turn-based RPGs and Wizardry in particular. For fans of computer based RPGs there are no real innovations, but it is a solid and very enjoyable experience. If you have never played that sort of game, this is a perfectly fine place to start.
These characters can swim better in full armor than I can swim period. The map of the World is one of the most accurate I've seen, and your characters can't wander into dense forests or up mountains.
Install the patch before you start playing.
At the time the review was written, some fairly in depth walkthroughs are available from Rick Volberding.