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A party of adventurers in what appears to be a medieval fantasy world called Varn is looking for an entrance to the highly coveted Inner Sanctum. Before long the heroes realize that one of the four kings that rule the countries of Varn is in fact an impostor, a creature from outer space. Their task is to find the real king and ultimately stop the mysterious space traveler, revealing the truth about the world's origin in the process.

The Secret of the Inner Sanctum is a role-playing game and the first installment in the Might and Magic series. Core gameplay concept is similar to that of Wizardry games, though the game does not focus solely on dungeon crawling and features overworld areas and towns that can be physically navigated. In this way the game resembles The Bard's Tale, though it has a significantly larger playing environment with several towns. The entire game is viewed from first-person perspective, and the game environment consists of maze-like passages made with pseudo-3D graphics.

In the beginning of the game, the player creates a party of six adventurers. There are six classes to choose from: knight, robber, sorcerer, cleric, paladin, and archer. Each character has six main attributes: might, endurance, accuracy, personality, intelligence, and luck, with each class requires proficiency in a specific attribute for effective functioning. There are also five races to choose from: humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and half-orcs.

As in most RPGs, the gameplay revolves around exploring the game world and leveling up to be able to proceed to the story-advancing challenges. The party starts in a particularly weak state, equipped with only clubs and having no money. The player is free to explore most of the game's locations in any order, and there are few hints as to what needs to be done to advance the plot. Turn-based battles against randomly appearing enemies typically take place against a group of monsters more or less equal in size to the player-controlled party, but enemy reinforcements can appear once their comrades have been slain. It is also possible to try and bribe enemies or surrender to them before entering combat.

The game has no auto-mapping feature of any kind and it is only possible to save the player's progress at inns located in towns.


Might and Magic: Book One - Secret of the Inner Sanctum DOS A statue?? Where?
Might and Magic: Book One - Secret of the Inner Sanctum Commodore 64 Combat
Might and Magic: Book One - Secret of the Inner Sanctum Macintosh Sign-in
Might and Magic: Book One - Secret of the Inner Sanctum PC-98 Title screen

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Alternate Titles

  • "魔法門" -- Chinese spelling (traditional)
  • "Меч и Магия" -- Russian spelling
  • "Mech i Magija" -- Russian title

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User Reviews

Insanely difficult, but good DOS Terry Callahan (63)
An excellent and often forgotten start to this long running series. DOS woods01 (163)
Good but why bother..... DOS cimerians (51)

Critic Reviews

GamePro (US) NES May, 1992 4 out of 5 80
Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library NES 2016 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
PC Games (Germany) DOS Feb, 1993 60 out of 100 60
Power Play Commodore 64 Jul, 1988 6 out of 10 60
Joker Verlag präsentiert: Sonderheft DOS 1992 54 out of 100 54
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) NES May, 1992 21 out of 40 52
The DOS Spirit DOS Dec 04, 2007 3 out of 6 50
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Commodore 64 Jun, 1989 441 out of 1000 44 NES Oct, 2012 C- 42
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Apple II Apr, 1987 Unscored Unscored


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  • Computer Gaming World
    • August 1988 (Issue #50) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #23 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
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