By: Strategic Simulations, Inc.
Copyright (c) 1994 Lee Perkins
Eye of the Beholder takes place in the sewers beneath the ancient city of Waterdeep. Your party of four have been summoned to deal with some dark, mysterious events fermenting far below the city's cobbled streets. As the entrance collapses behind the adventurers, you may get a slight impression that the Lords of Waterdeep were less than candid about your chances of survival.
From that point, it can only get much worse. Twelve levels of the worst boogies that Advanced Dungeons and Dragons contains in its bestiary. Kobolds and Giant Leeches make excellent sword-fodder on the first level, but beware of the Giant Spiders of Levels 4 and 5! The Rust Monsters of Level 9 will play havoc with the party's weapons and armour, leaving it wide open for the depredations of Mind Flayers, Stone Golems and of course, our old friend The Beholder. This floating optician's nightmare is a powerful magic-user; its natural resistance to magical attacks makes it a hard target, but Xanathar is the only member of his kind in the game. To compensate for this tiniest sliver of hope, SSI have included a full hint book for this first chapter in the trilogy... But after that, you are on your own!
The Legend of Darkmoon is a break from paddling grimly through perilous plumbing systems. Our heroic adventurers are sent to check out some nasty doings around Temple Darkmoon, only to find that the local graveyard is teeming with the recently departed. After some nasty scuffles with this lot, the party is led to the temple by a slightly more corporeal busy-body. They are greeted by a pair of smiling clerics, who offer them a place to rest. After being told not to enter certain parts of the temple, the party faces the prospect of being ejected. If they go back to the graveyard, they will spend the rest of the adventure searching in vain for something to vanquish. The only remaining course of action is to blunder about in the temple. In time, the clerics will show their true dark colours, thus hurling you into the adventure proper.
Assault on Myth Drannor continues in a similar tone, giving the party a chance to trot around in the open air for a while, then chucking them back into the nearest dungeon! The creatures that inhabit the ruined city of Myth Drannor are either undead or elemental by nature, making combat just that little bit more tricky than usual. Some undead monsters can drain a character of constitution a bit at a time, or in the case of a Lich, entire levels of experience with every successful attack. Clerical "Turn Undead" spells and heavy ranged attacks are the best defence against the vile hordes of Myth Drannor.
All things considered, the Beholder Trilogy is excellent roleplaying fodder for both newcomer and expert gamer alike. While the three adventures share the same visual style and user interface, every episode is discrete from its companions; as stand-alone adventures, each game is an engrossing roleplaying experience... As a whole, they are an EPIC, engrossing roleplaying experience!
Reviewed on: PC 386 SX-33, Sound Blaster Pro audio card
Recommended retail price: $99.95 Suggested audience rating: PD (Parental Discretion) Challenge: 85% Entertainment: 80% Sound: 80% Graphics: 80%Software supplied by: Electronic Arts Pty. Ltd.