Eye of the Beholder Retrospective Review

It's fairly difficult not to reminisce about the many great games Westwood Associates/Studios brought to our hard drives as I read through this new retrospective review of Eye of the Beholder, the classic party-based dungeon crawler that was clearly inspired by Dungeon Master and yet spawned a trilogy of D&D-based titles capable of standing on their own merits. A couple of his review points:

5. Magic and Combat. A weak part of the game. I'd rather the game had offered a straight-up D&D-style tactical/logistics test (even if it was in real-time) rather than the uncomfortable blend of D&D statistics with DM combat. The spell system was pretty bad, making it too time-consuming and complicated to line up and cast spells, and you could quite easily complete the game without a spellcaster. In fact, all but the front two characters play such a secondary role in combat that they might as well not even be on the stage. The ability to save anywhere and often removed much of the sense of danger, and the ability to combat waltz left most of the combats too easy. Other faults include no feedback on enemy health and the stupid animation delays while spells finished casting. Score: 3.

6. Equipment. Maybe a slight step up from DM, but still suffers by not telling you anything about your stuff until very late in the game--and then only telling you a little. The variety of items and equippable slots were good, although the relative ease of the game meant that I rarely bothered with things like potions or cleric scrolls.

Frankly, the category could have been stronger with just a little extra effort. In a game that based almost everything else on DM, I don't understand why the creators removed the ability to right-click on items and see a little basic information. Moreover, the approach to finding items is just weird. You have to fight through multiple corridors, locked doors, and puzzles to get rewarded with a couple Potions of Healing, but +5 weapons and high-level armor are just sitting in the middle of corridors. Score: 4.