|Eye of the Beholder|
MS-DOS/Amiga cover art
|Publisher(s)|| Strategic Simulations, Inc. |
Sega (Sega CD)
Pony Canyon, Inc. (PC-98)
|Designer(s)||Phillip W. Gorrow|
Paul S. Mudra
Aaron E. Powell
Joseph B. Hewitt IV
|Composer(s)||Paul S. Mudra|
Yuzo Koshiro (Sega CD)
|Series||Eye of the Beholder|
|Platform(s)||MS-DOS, Amiga, Sega CD, SNES, PC-98|
|Release||1991 (MS-DOS, Amiga)|
April 1994 (SNES)
May 4, 1994 (Sega CD)
|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Eye of the Beholder is a role-playing video game for personal computers and video game consoles developed by Westwood Associates. It was published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. in 1991for the MS-DOS operating system and later ported to the Amiga, the Sega CD and the SNES. The Sega CD version features a soundtrack composed by Yuzo Koshiro. A port to the Atari Lynx handheld was developed by NuFX in 1993, but was not released. In 2002, an adaptation of the same name was developed by Pronto Games for the Game Boy Advance.
The game has two sequels, Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon , also released in 1991, and Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor , released in 1993. The third game, however, was not developed by Westwood, which had been acquired by Virgin Interactive in 1992 and created the Lands of Lore series instead.
The lords of the city of Waterdeep hire a team of adventurers to investigate an evil coming from beneath the city. The adventurers enter the city's sewer, but the entrance gets blocked by a collapse caused by Xanathar, the eponymous beholder. The team descends further beneath the city, going through Dwarf and Drow clans, to Xanathar's lair, where the final confrontation takes place.
Once the eponymous beholder is killed, the player would be treated to a small blue window describing that the beholder was killed and that the adventurers returned to the surface where they were treated as heroes. Nothing else was mentioned in the ending and there were no accompanying graphics. This was changed in the later released Amiga version, which featured an animated ending.
Eye of the Beholder featured a first-person perspective in a three-dimensional dungeon,very similar to the earlier Dungeon Master . The player controls four characters, initially, using a point-and-click interface to fight monsters. This can be increased to a maximum of six characters, by resurrecting one or more skeletons from dead non-player characters (NPC), or finding NPCs that are found throughout the dungeons.
The possibility to increase the size of the player's party through the recruiting of NPCs was a tradition in all of the Eye of the Beholder series. It was also possible to import a party from Eye of the Beholder into The Legend of Darkmoon or from The Legend of Darkmoon into Assault on Myth Drannor; thus, a player could play through all three games with the same party.
The graphics for the MS-DOS version were created using Deluxe Paint. Over 150 Adlib sound effects exist in the game's audio.
Eye of the Beholder was reviewed in 1991 in Dragon #171 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column, who gave it 5 out of 5 stars.It was #1 on the Software Publishers Association's list of top MS-DOS games for April 1991, the last SSI D&D game to reach the rank. Dennis Owens of Computer Gaming World called it "a stunning, brilliantly graphic and agonizingly tricky" 3-D CRPG. The magazine stated that the game's VGA graphics and sound card audio finally gave IBM PC owners a Dungeon Master-like game. Scorpia, another reviewer for the magazine, was less positive. Although also praising the graphics and audio, stating that they "really give you the feeling of being in an actual dungeon", she criticized the awkward spell user interface and the "outrageous" abrupt ending. Other areas that needed work included the combat, plot, and NPC interaction; nonetheless, she was hopeful that with such improvements "the Legend series will become one of the leaders in the CRPG field". In 1993 Scorpia called the game "an impressive first effort that bodes well for the future".
The One gave the Amiga version of Eye of the Beholder an overall score of 92%, heavily comparing it to Dungeon Master , stating that "Comparisons to the [aging] classic - Dungeon Master - are inevitable. When two games look this similar, even their programmers would have trouble telling them apart." The One praises Eye of the Beholder's gameplay, stating that "in contrast to previous AD&D titles, there's more emphasis on puzzle-solving than combat - a refreshing change ... Combat is also handled extremely well, the spells and 'ranged weapons' rules are all faithful to the original game ... The gameplay works wonderfully, conjuring up both the spirit and the atmosphere that you get from [tabletop AD&D]." Despite this, The One expresses that Eye of the Beholder is on par with Dungeon Master and Chaos Strikes Back , but states that Eye of the Beholder is still "an essential purchase for followers of the AD&D series".
Hailing the game as "a dream come true" for Dungeons & Dragons fans, Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Super NES version a 6.2 out of 10, praising its 3-D graphics and variety of characters.They gave the Sega CD version a 7.2 out of 10, this time praising the ability to create custom characters but criticizing the audio. They also remarked that the game has a difficult learning curve. While reviewing the Sega CD version, Computer and Video Games said it is "Not quite up there with Snatcher , but without doubt a highly ace role-player".
According to GameSpy in 2004, despite the issues in the first Eye of the Beholder, "most players found the game well worth the effort".IGN ranked Eye of the Beholder No. 8 on their list of "The Top 11 Dungeons & Dragons Games of All Time" in 2014. Ian Williams of Paste rated the game #8 on his list of "The 10 Greatest Dungeons and Dragons Videogames" in 2015. In 1991, PC Format placed Eye of the Beholder on its list of the 50 best computer games of all time. The editors called it a "classic romp through dungeons dealing with monsters, puzzles, traps and things mythical."
SSI sold 129,234 copies of Eye of the Beholder. By mid-1991, over 150,000 copies had been sold worldwide.
In January 1991, SSI participated in Computer Gaming World's Top Ad contest and their cover art for Eye of the Beholder came in first place among voting readers, despite the magazine publisher's objection to the piece.From February till October 1991, SSI started up a contest "Beholder Bonus", which required players to find a bonus feature (easter egg) in each level of the game, indicated by an onscreen message. The first 50 PC players and 50 Amiga players to discover all 12 features would win $100 worth of prizes.
There were two sequels: Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon used a modified version of the first game's engine, added outdoor areas and greatly increased the amount of interaction the player had with their environment, along with substantially more 'roleplaying' aspects to the game.
Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor was not developed by Westwood, the developer of Eye of the Beholder and The Legend of Darkmoon, but rather in-house by the publisher SSI.
Eye of the Beholder Trilogy (1995, SSI) was a rerelease of all the three games for MS-DOS on CD-ROM. Interplay released the three games along with a number of other AD&D DOS Games in two collection CDs: The Forgotten Realms Archives (1997) and Gamefest: Forgotten Realms Classics (2001).
Several modules for Neverwinter Nights (2002) have been created by fans as remakes of the original Eye of the Beholder game.A team of Indie game developers led by Andreas Larsson did a fan conversion of the game for the Commodore 64.
Pool of Radiance is a role-playing video game developed and published by Strategic Simulations, Inc (SSI) in 1988. It was the first adaptation of TSR's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) fantasy role-playing game for home computers, becoming the first episode in a four-part series of D&D computer adventure games. The other games in the "Gold Box" series used the game engine pioneered in Pool of Radiance, as did later D&D titles such as the Neverwinter Nights online game. Pool of Radiance takes place in the Forgotten Realms fantasy setting, with the action centered in and around the port city of Phlan.
Curse of the Azure Bonds is a role-playing video game developed and published by Strategic Simulations, Inc (SSI) in 1989. It is the second in a four-part series of Forgotten Realms Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Gold Box adventure computer games, continuing the events after the first part, Pool of Radiance.
Gold Box is a series of role-playing video games produced by SSI from 1988 to 1992. The company acquired a license to produce games based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game from TSR, Inc. These games shared a common engine that came to be known as the "Gold Box Engine" after the gold-colored boxes in which most games of the series were sold.
Pools of Darkness is a role-playing video game published by Strategic Simulations in 1991. The cover art and introduction screen shows a female drow. It is the fourth entry in the Pool of Radiance series of Gold Box games, and the story is a continuation of the events after Secret of the Silver Blades. The novel loosely based on the game was released in 1992. Like the previous games in the series, it is set in the Forgotten Realms, a campaign setting from Dungeons & Dragons. Players must stop an invasion from an evil god, eventually traveling to other dimensions to confront his lieutenants.
Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep, also released as Dungeon Master II: Skullkeep, is the sequel to the dungeon crawler role-playing video game Dungeon Master. It was released in 1993 in Japan and in 1995 in other countries. It is available for DOS, Amiga, Macintosh, Sega CD, PC-9801, PC-9821, and FM Towns.
Dungeon Master is a role-playing video game featuring a pseudo-3D first-person perspective. It was developed and published by FTL Games for the Atari ST in 1987, almost identical Amiga and PC (DOS) ports following in 1988 and 1992.
Ultima VI: The False Prophet, released by Origin Systems Inc. in 1990, is the sixth part in the role-playing video game series of Ultima. It is the third and final game in the "Age of Enlightenment" trilogy. Ultima VI sees the player return to Britannia, at war with a race of gargoyles from another land, struggling to stop a prophecy from ending their race. The player must help defend Britannia against these gargoyles, and ultimately discover the secrets about both lands and its peoples.
Dungeon Hack is a role-playing video game developed by DreamForge Intertainment and published by Strategic Simulations for DOS and NEC PC-9801 in 1993. The game is based in the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons world of Forgotten Realms.
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands is a turn-based role-playing video game that takes place in the Dungeons and Dragons' campaign setting of Dark Sun. It was released for MS-DOS in a somewhat unfinished state in 1993 by Strategic Simulations, and later patched to a more workable version. It was available on both floppy disk and CD-ROM, though the CD-ROM contained no additional content and was merely used to install the game to the computer's hard drive.
Gateway to the Savage Frontier (1991) is a Gold BoxDungeons and Dragons computer game developed by Beyond Software and published by SSI for the Commodore 64, PC and Amiga personal computers.
Treasures of the Savage Frontier (1992) is a Gold Box Dungeons and Dragons role-playing video game. It was developed by Beyond Software and published by SSI for the Amiga and DOS.
Death Knights of Krynn is the second in a three-part series of Dragonlance Advanced Dungeons & Dragons "Gold Box" role-playing video games, published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. The game was released in 1991.
Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon is a 1991 role-playing video game and the sequel to the first Eye of the Beholder. It used a modified version of the first game's engine, added outdoor areas and greatly increased the amount of interaction the player had with their environment, along with substantially more role-playing aspects to the game. A sequel, Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor, was released in 1993.
Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor is a 1993 role-playing video game and the sequel to Eye of the Beholder and Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon.
Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos is a 1993 role-playing video game developed by Westwood Studios and published by Virgin Games for MS-DOS, the NEC PC-9801, and FM Towns. It was the first installment of the Lands of Lore series. The player travels around various environments, collecting items and battling monsters in an attempt to save the kingdom from a witch named Scotia, who has acquired shapeshifting abilities.
Legends of Valour is a role-playing video game developed by Synthetic Dimensions and released by U.S. Gold and Strategic Simulations in 1992 for the Amiga, Atari ST and MS-DOS, with the additional FM Towns and PC-98 versions in 1993-1994 in Japan only. As the game was planned to be a first part of the series, its full title is Legends of Valour: Volume I – The Dawning. The proposed unreleased sequel to Legends of Valour was to take place in the world outside Mitteldorf, the enclosed city where the entirety of Legends of Valour takes place.
Menzoberranzan is a 1994 role-playing video game created by Strategic Simulations (SSI) and DreamForge Intertainment. Menzoberranzan uses the same game engine as SSI's previous game, Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession (1994), and is set in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
Legend of Faerghail is a 1990 role-playing video game, developed by Electronic Design Hannover and published by reLINE Software for the Amiga, Atari ST and MS-DOS.
Ravenloft: Stone Prophet is a fantasy role-playing video game developed by DreamForge Intertainment for MS-DOS and published by Strategic Simulations in 1995. On October 27, 2015 the game was re-released by GOG.com on their own store, with support for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux pre-packed with DOSBox.
Pool of Radiance is a series of role-playing video games set in the Forgotten Realms campaign settings of Dungeons & Dragons; it was the first Dungeons & Dragons video game series to be based on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules.
This personalized combat perspective undoubtedly earned much of the praise for FTL's CGW Hall of Fame member, Dungeon Master. In a very real sense, Eye of the Beholder (SSI's first entry in the "Legend Series," a new line of AD&D computer role-playing games) is Dungeon Master meets veteran storyteller George MacDonald.