A stingy nostalgic tear broke through me the other day, and I decided to get from my shelf a dusty box with a wonderful game “Might and Magic 8: Age of the Destroyer”.
Why her, and not the seventh part? Indeed, in terms of content, the size of the world and the plot, the sixth and seventh parts are much better. Logically, the eighth part looks like an attempt to cut down easy money on a popular franchise. But the universe is really huge! What is already there, as many as 10 numbered parts came out! Yes, and an offshoot of the series, which for most of the population of our country has become much more famous than its parent – Heroes of Might and Magic (yes, Heroes originated from Might and Magic, as an expansion of the universe). And there were quite a few other games in this universe …
But in my case, logic turned out to be powerless, since it was from the eighth part that I began to get acquainted with the series and thanks to it I fell in love with this universe. (Funny, it also happened to me with the Final Fantasy series.) Next, I will try to dust off an almost forgotten line of games. I hope my story will encourage new players to play it, and oldfags to return to their native universe and remember the past.
The creators are the New World Computing studio, which is famous for its numbered series of games Might and Magic, Heroes of Might and Magic, as well as King’s Bounty (recently received the second numbered part thanks to 1C.)
The plot is based on the fact that a certain mysterious person erected a huge crystal in the center of a coastal town and then disappeared, and various cataclysms began across the continent: floods, awakening volcanoes, lightning storms and rivers of fire washing away villages.
The main character is a caravaneer who arrived on the islands of the Dagger Wound, but the volcanic eruption that began there destroyed all the bridges, and with them the opportunity to return to the mainland. The minimum task is to find a way to get out of these ill-fated islands, and then try to understand the origin of all these natural disasters, which will lead the player to an unexpected denouement. We will save entire races, choose sides in the war between necromancers and clerics of the sun, make alliances and understand what is happening and what is our role in these events.
The sixth, seventh and eighth parts of Might and Magic, as well as Heroes 1, 2 and 3 and the Chronicles of Heroes, are interconnected and take place in the same world. Therefore, you will often meet not only familiar heroes, but also monsters from your favorite series.
The game meets us with rather mediocre graphics, even for those times, and I remind you that it was released in early 2000. All models of monsters and many other objects are sprites, that is, two-dimensional images. These days, such graphics may seem archaic, but it quickly ceases to be evident. The main thing in the game is far from being a picture, but a wonderful role-playing system, an exciting plot and a large, interesting world.
You start by creating a hero, but during the game itself, you can hire an additional four characters to the team. Your wards need to be upgraded, finding better and better equipment, getting a variety of armor and weapons, as well as artifacts. You can assemble a balanced team or create a party of some mages / knights. The game can be completed by any squad, even one character!
The mechanics of the game allows you to fight with monsters both in real time and in turn-based mode, allowing the player to choose what is more convenient for him at the moment. It is usually much more comfortable to turn on the turn-based mode and thoughtfully give orders to your wards. In my youth, I fought only in real time, the tactical mode annoyed me a lot (especially the loud mode change melody). Over the years, I realized all its value and convenience, and the melody became familiar and close, so I almost always fight only in it!
The music of the brilliant Paul Romer is still as beautiful as in all the previous parts of the series, but, in my opinion, it loses a lot to the older brothers. For me, her problem is that she is not remembered. At the same time, the music does not bother, and even more so it does not “cut the ears”, which is undoubtedly a positive aspect. The rest of the voice acting of the game, as well as the sound effects, are very pleasant, each character is voiced and comments on the actions that occur with the team. The phrases of many heroes were remembered by me for the rest of my life! And not just their words, but intonation, voice!
Interesting fact for fans of Might and Magic and Heroes: did you know that Paul Romero regularly gives concerts with a symphony orchestra around the world? Does not bypass Russia. So if you want to plunge into the melodies that have been companions of your adventures in the magical worlds created by New World Computing for a long time, visit the maestro’s concert.
The role-playing system is quite typical for games of this genre, with a few caveats.
The player, completing quests and killing monsters, gains experience, which, accumulating up to a certain amount, allows you to increase the level. To get a new level, you need to go to the city, to the training center, where you will be promoted for a fee. If you have accumulated a lot of experience, you can climb several steps at once.
When you move to a new level, your characteristics increase, and skill points are also given. It’s not so easy with them. They are not invested one at a time, as in many other games, but with a progression. Example: if you have a skill level 6, you need to invest 7 more points for the next level, eight more points for further increase, and so on.
But that’s not all. Each skill can be trained up to a certain rank. To do this, after gaining the required number of points (the same for all skills), find the right instructor who will advance you in mastering the skill. With 4 points, you can become a skill specialist, 7 points – a master, and scoring 10 points – a Grand Master (GM). Promotion changes your options quite a bit. For example, becoming a master of swordsmanship, you can take blades in both hands, and becoming a WM in any of the schools of magic, you can use the strongest spells of this school. As you progress, you will be able to use even basic spells much more effectively, filling them with new effects. For example, the spell “Magic Vision” at the basic level allows you to see enemies on the minimap. By becoming a magic specialist, you will also be able to see objects that lie next to you. At the master level – you will see interesting places on the map. Once you become a Grandmaster, you won’t waste mana on this spell.
It remains to add that not every class and not every race can perfectly master this or that skill.
Let’s talk about classes. For some reason they were mixed with races, which was not in the previous part. Now there are 8 of them in the game: Minotaur, Vampire, Cleric, Necromancer, Troll, Knight, Dark Elf and even a Dragon! Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, which you need to take into account when organizing a party in order to level it. For example, only a necromancer can become a WM of elemental magic, a cleric can become a WM of Ego magic (school of spirit, mind, body), and a dark elf can receive the title of WM of trade. Choose the classes you like, because as I said before, the game can be played with any party composition!
A small card mini-game that appeared back in part 7, after which the fans fell in love with it so much that it was released as a separate, independent game.
Arcomag is the most popular card game on Enroth. It’s easy to explain, because with quite a lot of tactical possibilities, the game keeps a simple and interesting process. In this confrontation between two players, each of them is dealt 6 random cards, three types of resources, two towers and two walls. The task of each player is to crush the opponent’s tower or accumulate a certain amount of resources randomly from tavern to tavern. Surely you, like a large number of players from Enroth, will love this game and spend more than one hour playing it. And if I add to this that in the eighth part there is a quest that will reward you with very good artifacts for winning all taverns, then it will become even more pleasant to play =)
To get acquainted with the game, I strongly advise you to install the World Of Enroth mod.
It adds the ability to browse with the mouse, because initially it can only be done on the keyboard. The mod itself, built on the engine of part 8, combined 3 games at once – the sixth, seventh and eighth – and made it possible to travel between them with your party of heroes. Moreover, for this action they even came up with a plot justification and introduced a new quest! For fans of parts 6 and 7, I will say: since the mod is based on the 8 game, all its game mechanics migrated to parts 6 and 7! This means that in the six you can now become a Grand Master of skills, and in the seven you can fly the dragon by taking it to the party! Since you can go through three games with one set of heroes at once, making them very strong in the process, a parameter was added to the modification that allows you to increase the strength of monsters so that the game does not seem too simple. I will not list all the useful features of the mod, such as support for high screen resolutions, the ability to turn off the intro when starting the game, and speed up the game. There are a great many of them. I highly recommend this mod, it will become much more convenient and enjoyable to play!
You can tell a lot of interesting things about this wonderful game and stretch the already long review even more, so I will wrap up. What do we have as a result? A big world full of various secrets and mysteries, with a rich role-playing system, as well as an interesting story, coupled with the opportunity to meet old friends from Heroes. A large number of different magic: walking on water and flying, combat and healing magic, necromancy (yes, you can create an army of the dead for yourself) and various status magic. Let the game be outdated by modern standards and not the best in the series, but it is clearly worthy to get acquainted with it. It’s hard to explain in words, but the games of that era give some tube, warm gameplay and a slightly different experience than modern ones.
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PS: I uploaded a link to the modification forum, where you can find the mod itself, as well as patches, tips and russifiers in your telegram.
PSS: I’m such a big fan of the series that a girl made me a diorama.