Wizardry I-II-III is an excellent remake of the first three Wizardry games for the Super Nintendo, combined in one "game" that lets you play each of the three titles in any order (with the ability to import your party as well). Needless to say, the game sports much better graphics than the earlier Nintendo versions (which were already a far cry from the stick-figure graphics of the original Apple II classics). The gameplay, fans will be happy to note, remains the same: a tough first-person dungeon crawl that many die-hard RPG fans cut their teeth on back in the 1980s. |
If you have never played a Wizardry game (and if you consider yourself a fan of computer RPG, you simply must play the series), here's a synopsis of the main plot that flows through all three games (which, it must be said, is never the main focus of the series, at least not until Wizardry V: the story takes place in the fantasy kingdom of Llylgamyn. In Wizardry I, you (that is, your party of six adventurers) journey deep into a ten-level dungeon of Trebor, the "Mad Overlord," to defeat the evil archmage Werdna and retrieve the magical amulet. Following your success, you are inducted into Trebor's personal honor guard. Unfortunately, Trebor's obsession with the amulet drives him to suicide. Spotting an opportunity, another evil mastermind named Davalpus invades the castle and declares himself dictator. Fortunately, the Prince of Llylgamyn successfully fought and killed Davalpus using the Staff of Gnilda. But the god Gnilda, annoyed at all these fights, takes the staff back and places it deep within his six-level temple. You therefore must retrieve it back, but first you must find five pieces of the legendary Knight of Diamond. This is your mission in Wizardry II. In the final game of the trilogy, you must venture forth to search for the magical Orb of scrying (protected by a fearsome dragon) that can save the kingdom from natural destruction, as earthquakes and tidal waves ravage the land.
In each Wizardry game, the basic gameplay is similar: you control a party of up to six adventurers and send them into a 3D vector dungeon to fight monsters and find treasure on your way to fight Werdna/find the staff/find the Orb. Be warned that the games are difficult: for the first few hours you spend playing, it is not too uncommon to lose battles and restore the game from a saved position because your party members are all dead. Persevere, though, and you will be gradually lured into the wonderful world created by Robert Woodhead and Andrew Greenberg, a world where monsters come to life, full of magical weapons to find and wield, secret areas to discover, and mind-boggling riddles to solve. The "traditional" school of hack-n-slash RPG just doesn't get better than this, and the SNES version stays very true to the spirit of the original Apple II classic. The game was released only in Japan, so the English version was never available until AEON Genesis, a group of SNES fans, released the English version patch in 2000. Thanks to them and great emulators like ZSNES, Wizardry I-II-III is now accessible to all nostalgic fans, as well as RPG beginners who find the Apple II originals too primitive for them. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs