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Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra

aka: Might and Magic III: Die Inseln von Terra, Might and Magic III: Les Îles de Terra
Moby ID: 1621
DOS Specs

Description official descriptions

A party of brave heroes managed to defeat the corrupted guardian Sheltem as he attempted to destroy the world of CRON. However, the great battle between the guardians Corak and Sheltem continued in another place - the world of Terra, where Sheltem was originally appointed as a guardian. Revolting against the powerful race of the Ancients, Sheltem takes possession of their space-traveling nacelles, hurling them at the suns of other planets. It is now up to a group of local adventurers to help Corak and vanquish Sheltem once and for all.

Isles of Terra is the third installment in the Might and Magic series, and a sequel to Gates to Another World. Like its predecessors, it is a role-playing game focusing on first-person exploration of vast pseudo-3D environments, character building, and turn-based combat. The five selectable races remain the same as in the previous games, as well as the eight character classes with the addition of two new ones: Druid and Ranger. Like in the second game, characters may learn unique skills such as thievery, swimming, merchant, and others.

This installment does away with random or pre-set enemy encounters, featuring instead enemies dynamically roaming the game world, allowing to initiate combat from a distance (for example with ranged attacks or spells). There is no option to bribe or surrender to enemies, and escaping combat can be accomplished simply by moving away, unless the enemies have already locked on the party. An automap feature is available at all times, and the player is also allowed to save the game at any time.

Spellings

  • マイトアンドマジック3 - Japanese spelling
  • 魔法門 III - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 25 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 71 ratings with 4 reviews)

Evolution and highlight of the series

The Good
The previous game in the series was a veritable behemoth of old-school, hardcore role-playing - tough, disorienting, nearly ridiculous in the challenges it posed, and fulfilling only to people with extreme patience (or very good walkthroughs). Might and Magic III marks a decisive turning point in the series towards the mainstream. But before you derisively dismiss it as one of those "dumbed-down sequels", let me tell you that the third game retains the scope, depth, complexity, and pure difficulty of the predecessors - while ironing out the flaws, polishing the interface, and discarding some of the less sensible, artificial challenges.

The game's most distinguishing innovation is in the way enemy encounters are handled. Instead of suddenly popping on the screen, enemies are now visibly roaming the game world, and you can avoid them, hit them form afar with ranged weapons, or engage them in such a way that only a few would follow you into melee combat. Needless to say how much more dynamic and exciting the battles have become. They are also noticeably faster-paced, and the game doesn't throw at you up to two hundred (!) enemies at once, as the predecessor did. Enemies are still ferocious and would eat an unprepared party for breakfast - but at least you won't be faced against impossible odds so many times. Particularly in the beginning of the game you can leave the town and start hacking goblins, which allows you to actually get the taste of the game. In the previous outings, prolonged tedious training within the walls of the first town was needed to even stand a chance against outside foes, or venture into the very first dungeon.

The interface has been drastically improved. When I close my eyes and think about Might and Magic II, I still have - beside pictures of minotaurs with daggers dripping blood and the proud text "+153 more minotaurs" - esoteric keyboard strokes such as "T43B" in front of me. These are four keyboard commands needed for such a simple thing as transferring a piece of equipment from one character to another in that game. Now, in Might and Magic III everything is done with the mouse, which is significantly less cumbersome, making the game more fluent.

One of my favorite additions in this game is the possibility to save anywhere. In the previous installment, you could only save at the town inns. The frustration of getting to the bottom of an important dungeon, only to be decimated by some punks and having to start over again has been therefore eliminated. There is, however, only one save state, so I'd advise to time your saves wisely. When you die, you can opt to get revived by Mr. Wizard, a hireling from the preceding game - but you lose your experience that way.

The visual update is more than welcome. The first game hasn't aged well at all, and the second can still repel with its rather ascetic look. Now, Might and Magic III is also by no means the epitome of eye candy - but the mobile, large enemy sprites moving about detailed landscape steal the show. The dungeons are still repetitive, but they have more features and are at least distinguishable one from the other.

Other than that, Might and Magic III retains everything that made the previous game great - a huge world (in fact, quite a bit larger than in the second installment) with diverse areas, many complex dungeons to explore, an astounding variety of tough enemies to defeat, loads of side quests and items, puzzles to solve, secrets to uncover, unique challenges, hirelings, treasure, and what not. This is a game that can suck you in on any given evening, "releasing" you only when you feel physically ill, raising your red eyes from the monitor and asking incredulously: "What do you mean 'it's already 4am'?" Then, walking unsteadily, you go to bed, drift into sleep, and dream about an obsidian wakizashi of might, which you use to defeat a pack of gargoyles behind an illusionary wall, guarding a trapped chest with the gold you so badly need to train to level 37.

The Bad
The battles have been considerably sped up, but at a strange cost: there is no damage feedback during battles - you'll need to watch the blood splashes on screen or simply calculate how fast you're killing the enemy by yourself. Personally, I didn't mind it that much, but I realize it might be shocking for fans of the first two games.

On the other hand, the game is still very difficult, so expect to see those giant green screen-swallowing lizard jaws more often than you'd like to. Once you've completed the game, you'll be more than tempted to "cheat" next time by traveling to areas with great hirelings and treasure right away - which would have been rather unlikely during the first playthrough. Also, there are quite a few "legal" tricks and exploits that make the game easier, and I did not feel guilty in the least that I consulted a walkthrough to learn about them.

The Bottom Line
If you are sick of modern hand-holding games, but can't quite stomach the insane difficulty of the first two Might and Magic games, the third time will indeed be the charm for you. Might and Magic III is huge without becoming amorphous; very challenging without being frustrating; complex and varied, yet possible to get into right from the beginning. Might and Magic III is a titan of classic role-playing.

DOS · by Unicorn Lynx (180476) · 2018

A monster a minute and a surprising conclusion.

The Good
MM3 seems at first to be nothing more than a wonderful, old-fashioned RPG with the stereotypical medieval/fantasy theme. This was my introductory game in the Might & Magic series, and I was taken by surprise by later elements that are common and recurring in the Might & Magic games; the back story of the space-faring, high-technology culture.

You will begin with a party of six, whom you can keep, or trade in at the nearest inn for characters you "create" by rolling dice. At the inn, you may choose each party member's role, alignment, and name - I'm superstitious and don't like to name my characters after real people because I suffer tremendous guilt when they die ;-) As you travel through the towns and make your way through the dungeons you may pick up additional characters, who can be hired in exchange for your hard-earned gold.

You must start by saving your home town of Fountain Head, gaining experience points as you venture out beyond the town gates to do battle with goblins, orcs, huge spiders, and many more enemies. Most of your adversaries are deadly, but there are a few that are on the edge of silliness; my personal favorite being the candle creeps! Any of these battles can be quite difficult, you must work to level up and train bit by bit, and make use of the various artificial/temporary powerups – might fountains, a well that raises hit points, a crystal ball that raises spell points, etc . These give you some needed enhancements, especially in the earlier parts of the game when preparedness is all.

Some members of your party can learn spells, many many spells, from the various magic guilds you will discover along the way. Some spells are very powerful and useful, like Wizard Eye, which allows you to see where you are on the map; Protection from Elements, which is self-explanatory, and Energy Blast, a good all-around defensive spell, to name just a few.

The makers of the game have provided a Mr. Wizard option for the faint-of-heart; Mr Wizard will extricate you from any fix and return you to your home town at the cost of a level if you so choose. This may actually be necessary in the beginning of the game, at which point you have no levels to lose, anyway!

Isles of Terra is a big map to cover, with lots of dungeons and places to explore, be sure you have Wizard Eye! As you travel around the Isles you will learn more about the world and solve many puzzles, win fortunes, slay dragons and find mystical orbs on your way toward this adventure’s conclusion.


The Bad
You may find the battles to be tedious sometimes, due to the sheer numbers of assailants and the sameness of the fighting - when you are just pounding the "a" key and the "s" key over and over, with an occasional spell thrown in. And the attempt at copy protection is an annoyance; in order to enter the game at all you need to hunt down a page/line/word from the Isles of Terra manual. These are minor irritants in a worthwhile game, however.

The Bottom Line
Play this game with an open mind for the old-fashioned graphics - enjoyment is in the gameplay of this early entrant to the Might & Magic series.

DOS · by DJP Mom (11318) · 2008

A brilliant old school RPG, one of the best of its kind

The Good
Might and Magic III was very time occupying, and had an excellent storyline. The overall best part about mm3 is that it doesn't have a set linear plotline. You are able to explore as you please. The Isles of Terra was also one of the first of its kind, introducing new graphics and a new style of RPG into the world of gaming.

The Bad
Compared with the graphics and technology nowadays, this game is obsolete. There is one major drawback to this game; it only has one save game slot. You cannot go back to previous segments of the game.

The Bottom Line
A must-have for dedicated gamers. Might and Magic III was a big part of the foundation of todays computer games. Endless fun; this game was first released in 1991, and it's still one of the best there is.

DOS · by Lala Ru (1) · 2005

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Working sound settings for dosbox 0.74? Plasma Snake (2) May 31st, 2017
Brother Delta bug? Christian Genzel (32) Jul 25th, 2008

Trivia

Genesis version

A version for the Sega Genesis was in development, but was not released. A ROM image made from a prototype cartridge is available on the internet.

References

  • In various dungeons in the game you are given Quatloo coins that you can spend in the Slithercult stronghold; quatloos are the coins used for placing bets on Star Trek crew members in the original Star Trek episode "The Gamesters of Triskelon".
  • One of the monsters is a obese and ugly woman named Scorpia. This is a reference to Scorpia, long-time reviewer for the magazine Computer Gaming World, who wrote a critical review of Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World.

SNES version

There are a number of changes in the SNES version: * The whole intro is missing * All blood during fights was removed and some other screens were changed, e.g. removed bloody weapons in shop screens or the naked statue of the nymph Athea got a bikini. * Some enemies were changed to look more harmless and the Reaper was removed altogether. * There are several text and name changes, e.g. the Cathedral of Carnage became the Cathedral of Darkness and all references to alcohol were removed. * The outro was cut.

A detailed list of changes can be found on schnittberichte.com (German).

Awards

  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #81 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking

Information also contributed by DJP Mom

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Old man gamer.

Amiga added by Xoleras. SNES, SEGA CD, TurboGrafx CD, Macintosh, PC-98, FM Towns added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Terok Nor, Rebound Boy, thrasheur13, Paulus18950, Christian Genzel, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto.

Game added June 17th, 2000. Last modified September 19th, 2023.