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Wizardry Gold
- Sir-Tech Computing
thumb1.jpg (17911 bytes)   Fun Factor 7
  Addiction Factor 8
  Interface/Gameplay 8
  Graphics 6
  Sound 7
  Multi-Player N/A
  Bonus/Penalty 7
  Overall Score 7.17
At a Glance:

Wizardry Gold is a recreation of the critically acclaimed Wizardry VII, Crusaders of the Dark Savant. The primary differences in this incarnation are the markedly improved graphics and enhanced sound score. In Gold, you control a group of adventurers that embark on a mission to find the Astral Dominae and guard it against the Dark Savant, an evil overlord who needs the Dominae for supreme rulership. The game uses four directional step-by-step movement and combines the use of keyboard and mouse commands. The graphics and sound are decent for the time of release (1996), and the gameplay (completely intact from the Wizardry VII) is enough keep you glued to the computer for hours on end.

Game Setting:

Wizardry is set in the world of Guardia. On the planet there is an object called the Astral Dominae, which is purported to contain power to control the universe. Of, course, there’s someone who wants this power, a fellow(?) known only as the Dark Savant. Judging by the sound of his name, this guy is no fluff ball. You and your party are sent to recover the Dominae before the Savant does, which means finding it first. Naturally, you are dumped off on a planet without any maps, any equipment, and you are all inexperienced as a newborn - perfect people to be sending on a mission to save the universe, eh? During your travels, you meet up with various monsters and people who help or hinder you on your quest

Character Creation and Development:

You create up to six characters in your party, adjust their statistics with points allocated to you, and adventure off into the world. In Wizardry Gold, the character creation is fairly detailed. You are given a random dice roll which fills your basic stats. Then you are given a random number of points which you can add to you stats in any fashion that you see fit. You choose your race and class, which are quite varied. There are your standard humans, dwarves, faeries, etc…, but my favorite was the Mook. A Mook is a big, hairy guy, kinda like Chewabaca from Star Wars. The classes are similar to previous Wizardry games.

After choosing you race and class, you get to add points to specific secondary skills such as sword and swimming skills, allowing further customization to your characters. Once in the game world, you characters gain experience and levels during their travels, primarily through combat. Skill points are awarded each level and you assign these to your skills as you see fit.

The Game Engine:

Wizardry Gold is played in the traditional Wizardry format using a first-person perspective. Player icons are placed on the perimeter of the screen, and a menu bar lies below that handles various functions, such as searching, trading and casting spells. There is an automapper, but it is in the form of a spell that must be learned. The whole system is turn based, with step movement in the four primary directions. The keyboard and mouse are both used to maneuver around the world. The whole design was well thought out with regards to interface, but unfortunately suffers greatly from long load times and tediously long combat and cut sequences. One of the main drawbacks of the Wizardry Gold, the constant combat and voice-narrated "special events" aren’t too detracting early on, but prove to be very tiresome as you progress through the game. Character portraits are done nicely in SVGA, but the main-window graphics could use much improvement. The sound quality is great, but on the whole becomes rather redundant as the game progresses.

Game Environment:

The world of Guardia is fairly large, consisting of various cities and dungeons below in which your characters adventure through. The landscape leaves much to be desired. On land, you are limited to traveling in sort of a maze, and you never quite get feel that you are outside - it sort of feels like you are in a dungeon with a sky above your head. There are some very tough puzzles in the game, almost giving the impression that it is imperative to buy a hint book to solve some of the more complex ones.

One good thing about Wizardry Gold is that way monster encounters and placement are handled - rather than sending an army of Ratkins at you when you go up in level to increase difficulty, you are confronted by tougher monsters instead (there are over 250 monster types in the game, though they are represented by only about 60 different graphic representations). I believe Sir-Tech has struck a fairly good balance in monster placement, and I spent as much time searching and solving puzzles as I did fighting of monsters.

The Good – In Summary:

Wizardry VI was a very well designed game and Wizardry Gold keeps much of the flavor that made the earlier title so popular. The graphics and sound are improved, and character creation/development remains a strong point in the title.

The Bad – In Summary:

Though graphics are somewhat improved, they are still grainy and sub-standard in today’s environment. Voice-acting and sounds can get repetitious. Some of the puzzles are a little hard to solve. Very long load times and combat sequences

Tips For Beginners:

Make a well balanced party - try a fighter, ninja, psionic, cleric, and a sorcerer. Give all of your party swimming early on - you’ll need it. Do not leave the first city until you’ve cleared it out completely.

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