Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer (PC)

This game was a request. Well actually they requested that I take their copy of the game for free and get it out of their sight. So, yeah I've got high hopes for this one.

Ocean played Might and Magic VI for the site last year, but this is the first game is the series I've actually played myself. All I know about the game is it's going to be a fantasy RPG, and it'll probably be in first person. I'm using the unofficial GrayFace patch just to get the game to run at all on my modern day OS, so things may not be entirely true to the official version.

(Sorry about the crappy jpegs, click the pictures for the original lossless png screenshots.)

The game starts with this video of a guy strolling through empty streets in the quiet coastal town of Ravenshore, then magicing up a giant pink crystal which starts spitting lightning everywhere.

Suddenly a volcano erupts spitting fireballs all over the place. A mine is flooded, a forest is blown up... all kinds of bad things, people dying everywhere. Well except in the empty streets of Ravenshore, where it seems that everyone was sleeping in this morning.

Anyway a hero is needed to sort things out, and fortunately I just so happen to have a hero generator screen. Interestingly the choice of portrait is what determines the character class, so I can't make a fighter that looks like a mage, or an archer that looks like a thief. Actually I can't make any of those classes at all, they've gone with the more unusual choices this time like 'necromancer' and 'vampire'.

But I shun interesting characters, so I'm making the most default hero possible, then putting all her spare attribute points into strength.

Creepy loading screen. Also I'm sure one of those snakes in her hair is actually a tiny dinosaur.

Uh... well, I suppose the graphics don't look that bad for 1996. Shame the game actually came out in 2000. I mean seriously, these are Daggerfall quality visuals in a game that came out the same year as Soldier of Fortune and Deus Ex.

They've just dropped me in this place with no obvious goals or instructions, so I guess I should just go wandering about until I bump into the plot then.

I heard a noise to the south and went off to investigate and damn, they're having a full scale war down here amongst the 2D palm trees.. Friendly lizard folks versus pirates, and lots and lots of corpses to loot. Shame that all they seem to have on them is a few coins.

This is all real time by the way, in case that doesn't come across very well in screenshots. The ground is 3d, but the characters are Doom style sprites.

Awesome, it seems I've bumped into the plot! All I can do in conversation is pick which topic to ask about, so I go through them all then get back to looting the dead.

Hey there's nothing wrong with stealing from from the corpses of evil pirates. It's not like all their gear wasn't stolen from someone else to begin with.

Uh... hi guys! I was just looking to see if that fuzzy brown shape in the water over there was a boat, I didn't expect you all to teleport in from it when I got close. So I'll just be turning around now and running in the opposite direction.

Damn, is this a game over cutscene? I guess I didn't run fast enough.

This guy's job is apparently to speed up the dying process and shift the corpses I guess, and my poor hero has just been processed. With an axe.

But then I just respawned back at the start! Aww, but all my money's gone. All that looting was for nothing.

Okay, my new plan is to steal everything from every box I can find, then sell it for cash. So far that's a lot of purple fruit and empty bottles, and not a great deal of valuable gems or enchanted weapons, but I'll take what I can get.

Whoa, seriously? I just got a permanent attribute boost from searching a barrel. And the one next to it as well! Fuck boxes, I'm searching for barrels now.

Hah, take that you dumb pirates! Oh, they're out of range. Well, okay fine then. I'll let them believe they've won for now, but I'll get my revenge yet.


Well I've searched this entire island, and I'm still no closer to finding whoever it was I was told to find. Shame the game doesn't have a journal, because damn that would have be helpful about now.

Oh, uh, I guess I did have a journal (and a goal) the entire time. They hid it behind a dagger icon to confuse me.

I finally met up with my boss and he explained that we were trapped on this island after the cataclysm in the intro, and I need to find a way back to the mainland. Apparently a Cleric called Fred might be able to help out, and I should speak to him. So I guess that means I've got to go from door to door until I come across his house, as no one in this town ever gives directions.


Haven't found Freddy the Cleric yet, but I've come across something else interesting. I've found a building that hires out followers to fill out my party, and they're not even charging. I assumed there'd be some kind of catch, but I guess adventure is its own reward.

I was wondering if the different coat of arms on the interface belonged to specific characters I'd find along the way, but it seems they're just fancy portrait slot covers and don't relate to anything.

Come on Freddy, just shut up and join the team already would you?

Right, with Fredrick the Cleric in my team I finally have the means to teleport across the islands to the Abandoned Temple, and find a way off this bloody island.


I've just finished giving out cure disease scrolls to the nearby villagers, so that's one sidequest sorted out. Oh right, I was meant to be looking for an Abandoned Temple wasn't I? Well, this place looks a bit like a temple, and I don't see anyone around. Worth checking out at least.

This might have actually been a cool looking shot if the game had any shadows in it. Also it'd be nice if the thing actually had stairs, instead of a painted ramp.

Damn, I'm been swarmed by plasticine bird snakes. It's like children's TV has turned nasty on me.

There's two combat modes; real time and turn based, and both are first person. Real time plays out a bit like an Elder Scrolls game would if you were playing as a five headed mutant creature with five different attacks (and health bars), and it allows both sides to run around and try to dodge attacks. Switching to turn based though makes it much easier to analyse the situation, use the right attacks, and fish out items like health potions from the backpack if necessary.

Well I won the fight, but now my team's pretty beat up. I tried resting, but they refused because they were too hungry. Well why the hell am I carrying around all this fruit if they won't eat it? I've only managed one battle in this temple so far, and I've already got to run off back to town to find a way to heal my crew (or maybe grab a bite to eat).


Wow, that is a fine set of miserable looking hero portraits I've got there. I guess they must be starving to death or something. No matter, because training for a level up in this building soon restored them all to full health!

Weirdly though levelling up doesn't actually improve their attributes (beyond hp and mana), so I guess fishing around in barrels is actually the proper way to increase stats in this game.

I do get points to spend on improving skills though, like swords, alchemy, or... cure magic, which my Cleric had all along it seems. Damn, I'm an idiot.


Right, I'm all healed up (mostly), I've got an illumination spell going, and I've just got up to a jumping puzzle. With a time limit. In first person. Did these people learn nothing from Turok? Accurate jumping is bloody hard when you can't see your feet.

I screwed this up something like 15 times before I finally made it across. Then I realised there was a set of switches along the walls that activated a staircase to the exit, so I could have just skipped the jumping.

Holy shit, you think they've put enough enemies in this room?

Uh, everyone just keep hitting them! Except for you Fred, you carry on curing people. Starting with yourself, you're a bloody mess. And I suppose Devlin Arcanus can sit this one out seeing as he's unconscious.

Okay they've locked me in a room, and now the floor slowly sliding open up to reveal a pit of spikes underneath. There's no obvious way to escape so I keep waiting for this to be a trick, but they're leaving it a bit late for a last minute save.

Well, that could have gone better. Thank fuck for quick saves. Turns out that the big obvious glowing buttons are the key to sorting out this puzzle. Not sure why that didn't occur to me the first time really.

And then my team get electrocuted while trying to open a chest. Note to self: put some skill points into 'trap disarm'. It was totally loaded with gear and cash though, well worth the time it took to heal my group back to fighting form afterwards.

Then I opened up a chest hidden in the wall opposite, and blew my party up instead.


Yes, I've finally found a way back to the mainland! Not sure why Abandoned Temple island gets its own dock, complete with ferry service, but I really don't care. I just want to be off these islands.

At last, I arrive at the town of Ravenshore (you know, the one from the intro.) It's even got the big red evil crystal in the middle of town. The place looks pretty intact though, considering that last time I saw it, it was being showered with fireballs.

I have two immediate goals in this town. 1. Find the person I was sent here to chat to. 2. Find food. The second was pretty simple, I just had to go to a pub and buy supplies.


I took a long walk around town trying to find where I was supposed to visiting, then eventually gave up and went wandering off into the wilderness instead. It wasn't long though before I ran into the wolves. All the wolves on Earth. Seriously, there's an army of them lined up across the hills behind this group. The game loves to throw a ridiculous amount of enemies at the poor player.

My first plan was to engage them at a distance with bows (the game automatically uses ranged weapons as the default attack if there's nothing in melee range), and then clear out the few that manage to get close me with swords. But there's a million of the bastards, they never end, so I'm switching to a new plan: RETREAT!

Operation 'Run Screaming' has hit a slight snag. Turns out that the wolves followed me back to town, and they're wiping out all the townsfolk. Oops.

I think I'll end this now, before my acts of heroism screw the world up any further. I'd to have to look up on youtube where to find this bloody house I'm suppose to be at anyway.

Might and Magic 8... is actually pretty good, for what it is. Obviously not much of a looker, but it's functional and pretty straightforward to play. It's actually not a million miles away from the Elder Scrolls games in style, kind of like a simpler, more accessible version of Daggerfall. I had no idea where to go in that game either, but at least in this I'm a lot clearer on what I'm meant to be doing and how to do it. In fact fuck it, I'm going to turn it back on and play some more.


Semi-Random Game Box