In the 80’s and 90’s SSI had the exclusive contract with TSR to released games based on the AD&D license and release them they did. They were all based on the same basic engine that relied mostly on text and statistics to mimic the original pen and paper RPG. Then came along Dungeon master, an RPG that featured a 3D view and was more action oriented. The reviews were great and many people loved the game and still do to this day. SSI ofcourse could not stay behind and later released this game, Eye of the beholder, in which there was a 3D view and you could control your characters in realtime instead of being turnbased.

In the intro you see the city of Waterdeep, one the most important cities in the Forgotten Realms and it is being treatened by an unknown evil. Four heroes are called out to investigate this treat and if possible locate and destroy it. You are given a letter of mark that entitles you to go underground and to keep any spoils of war. The guards point you to a sewer entrance that gives you access to the tunnels and after properly equipping yourself you go out and begin your mission. You step into the sewers and after only a few steps the entrance collapses and you are trapped inside! This means there is only one way to go, down into the tunnels and to face the horrors within.

You start the game by creating the four heroes which is done by choosing classes, races and rolling statistics based on the 2nd edition AD&D rules. It’s important to keep in mind that you won’t get much help down there so make your party as varied as possible. Also the narrow spaces you will be in mean that only two people can stand next to each other so the back two will have to rely on either magic or longrange weapons. After creating your party you begin beside the cavein shown in the intro. You can use or pick op objects on the screen by simply clicking the mouse and dragging the item. The four heroes are shown on the right with the items in both their hands and their health. By rightclicking on the item you can use it and this is mostly used for attacking. Click on a characters portrait and it will show that characters inventory and equipment, the placement of which is pretty obvious. You can flip the page and it show the characters statistics and level.
Most of the characters and monsters you meet will attack you on sight but sometimes you will encounter more friendly units which you can sometimes add to your party. Remember that this is AD&D though and death is by no means the end, so if you happen to find an adventurer that died it might be usefull to take the bones and equipment so you can later resurrect him or her. On your quest you will be obstructed by doors and trapdoors most of which can be openend or avoided easily enough but some require puzzles to be solved before you can pass. All this adventuring will give you experience point which at some point will increase your level giving you more hitpoints and your magicians more spells and generally increasing your chance to survive.

Eye of the beholder is the first in a trilogy and is a great rpg to play despite some shortcomings like only one savegame, monotous environments and the worst ending I’ve ever seen in a game (don’t think this is a spoiler because there isn’t much to spoil!). The graphics are quit good but there is vitrually no animation, the characters simply slide from one place to another. There is also no music in the game and only some soundeffects. There are some places in the game that you don’t have to visit to complete it but some of them contain a number of powerfull weapons that you won’t find in the sequels so it can pay to do a little extra adventuring if you are planning to import the party into the next game. The console versions are a bit more diffcult to play because this game really need a mouse to control well but the SNES version does a decent job minimizing this problem.

Overal rating: 8.5/10

Erde Kaiser

This game was released for four different systems here are some notes:

Amiga Released in 1990.
Game has been tested but not completed with winUAE v0.9.91.
There can be some slow loading times but basically the same as the DOS version.
DOS Released in 1990.
Game has been tested and completed on a DOS PC.
Can also be played on windows machines without any problems.
Super NES Released in 1994 by Capcom.
Game has been tested but not completed with ZSNES win v1.36.
The joypad still acts as a mouse but the pointer locks onto nearby objects to ease the controls. Also when you attack the pointer automatically jumps to the next weapon available, not a bad way to offset the loss of a mouse.
Sega CD Released in 1994.
Game has been tested but not completed with WGens v2.11.
The control uses a joypad for a mouse routine but one button lets you sidestep (S) and another makes you turn and walk (D) which is quite a good setup actually. The game has speech throughout the game, music on all levels and a much better ending than the old versions.
Date added Dec-15-2004 19:47
Name Eye of the beholder
Developer Westwood
Publisher SSI
First released 1990
Genre RPG