Review by machinecraig

"Eye of the Beholder - Still a fun dungeon crawl after all these years"

Eye of the Beholder
Rating: 7 / 10

Starting with only a band of 4 intrepid adventurers and a handful of weapons, you must make your way through the dungeons of Waterdeep to defeat the ancient evil that plagues the city above.

In Eye of the Beholder, you are presented with a first person view of the world. Each level (cooresponding to a floor in the dungeon) is made of 32 squares. You traverse the dungeon one square at a time. This type of block by block navigation can make it very easy to get lost. On the early levels of the dungeon you can do OK without a map... but on the deeper levels you won't have a chance without one. Add teleporters to the mix, and things can get confusing real quick.

This RPG is based on first edition AD&D, and the character creation is refreshingly familiar. Every character class has useful skills to contribute to the party, and a balanced team fares far better in the dungeon than a highly specialized one.

Each level in the dungeon is filled with monsters out for blood, unusual allies, and some of the most grueling puzzles ever found in an RPG. Combat is a simple affair in the begining, relying mainly on melee and the occasional spell. In later levels however, character placement in the group becomes important, and choice of weapons and spell memorizations play more of a role as well. For example, one level of the dungeon is infested with highly venemous spiders, leaving you in big trouble if a bow or sling is not close at hand.

At a few junctures in the game, you will encounter fellow adventurers, some of whom are interested in joining your party. Although you can have a maximum of 6 people in a party, I found that often times the 'middle tier' warriors were just along for the ride, not being able to take part in melee combat from the middle row. The additional members really only become necessary when fighting an unexpectedly strong foe.

With loads of magic, mysterious dungeon relics, and lots of surprises, Eye of the Beholder is truly a classic gem. On the downside, the lack of sounds in the game is disapointing, for while there are plenty of clangs and bangs in a melee fight, the rest of the time the game is pretty silent. One last warning, some of the puzzles are downright EVIL. If you've seen the puzzle with the purple rubies, then you know what I'm talking about. :-)

Good luck, and happy dungeon crawling!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/15/02, Updated 12/15/02

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