In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon

aka: EOB2, Eye of The Beholder II: Legende von Darkmoon
Moby ID: 307
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

The Archmage Khelben summons the Heroes of Waterdeep, slayers of the Beholder Xanathar, for another mission. Strange things are happening in the forests near Waterdeep, centered around the Temple Darkmoon. People have been disappearing and shallow graves containing human remains have been found. Khelben teleports the party to the forests near Darkmoon so they may find out what kind of evil is working in the towers of the temple.

Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon is, like its predecessor, a first-person dungeon-crawling role-playing game based on the second edition of AD&D rules. It uses the same point-and-click gameplay mechanics and controls as the first game, with only minor changes. The game is set entirely in pseudo-3D maze-like areas; no automapping is available. Combat flows in real time, and characters can move as a single unit to lure enemies or avoid blows.

A starting party consists of four characters, which can be transferred from the earlier game or created from scratch. Six classes (Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, Cleric, Mage, and Thief) are available. Characters can reach higher levels and learn new spells, must face new and tough monsters, and solve multiple puzzles. Compared to the first game, many more illustrated NPC encounters and cutscenes were added.

Spellings

  • アイ・オブ・ザ・ビホルダーII - Japanese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

60 People (53 developers, 7 thanks) · View all

Producer
Playtesting
Level & Manual Translation
Set in German Manual
  • schaffMEISTER...!; Düsseldorf
Special Thanks To
Design
Lead Programming
Music
Original Concept
Sound
Intro & Finale by
Art & Graphics
Writer
Special Thanks
  • Xanathar The Beholder
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 86% (based on 26 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 87 ratings with 4 reviews)

A milestone in rpg's

The Good
Legend of Darkmoon was probably the first computer roleplaying game that graphically told a story. While other rpg's had storylines there where often nothing more than a prelude and a prologue and a great deal of hacking in between. Others had a continuing storyline, but it was just text, no visuals to support it. LoD starts with an animated introduction, as you progress you encounter NPC's that only adds to the mystery around the old temple Darkmoon. Even further you encounter notes staggered around, telling you more about the truth. You also experience several cutscenes about whats happening inside and outside of the temple as your adventure continues towards the at-the-time original ending.

Besides the storyline, Legend of Darkmoon was also the first rpg that was actually put into a crafted location. It doesnt take place in this humongous dungeon, or forest, or whatever. It all takes place in a huge temple with a underground system and three tall towers.

It is also one of the first rpg's that isnt entirely linear. You will travel downwards or upwards, and each new thing you find might be your key to unlock a new part of the temple.

Today the graphics is a bit dated, but if you can ignore the fact that the game is ten years old, you will love it. Its one of the few games from this time that is worth a try.

The Bad
Its difficult alright. I played the game with a party imported from Eye of the Beholder 1, and I really cannot see anyone having an easy time with fresh new characters. Some of the puzzles are really difficult and it does require a whole lot of thought, or a walkthrough, to finish it. Also, there is one part of the game that can only be passed if you have an thief in your party. There is a thief you may recruit, but if you dont do it right, you might be stuck and forced to restart the entire game.

The Bottom Line
History about the game: Back in 1986, Dungeon Master revolutionized the role-playing genre as it was the first real time computer rpg game with a 3D view and mouse control. Other companies where not late with trying to copy the success of Dungeon Master. One such company where Westwood Associates and their Dungeon & Dragons licensed game "Eye of the Beholder".

Even if "Eye of the Beholder" blasted the competition out in the orbit, it was still 'only' a classic dungeon hack. The Sequel, "Legend of Darkmoon" released in 1991, raised the bar of role-playing games, forever.

Where Eye of the Beholder lacked in story, Legend of Darkmoon had a rich and intriguing storyline, from start to end.

Story: The heroes of Waterdeep are sent to investigate strange disappearances from villages north of the city. Reports have been made of discoveries of human remains in shallow graves. The clues seem to lead to the Temple Darkmoon, which appears to be a peaceful sanctuary, run by divinely-inspired priests. Alas, as often happens, appearances are deceiving, and the TempleÂ’s dark secret is up to the players to unfold.

DOS · by JemyM (6) · 2024

One of the best old-time RPGs, perfect at all places

The Good
Following the same style as it's prequel with it's great graphics and atmosphere, it just gets even better by applying a consistent and interesting story that is revealed to the player throughout the game with greatly designed screens accompanied by the story or actions to be taken.

The places to visit are also more interesting, all taking place in an evil temple with it's deadly underground levels or suspicious priest chambers. Interesting riddles, fights that need special strategies, places that you can't rest, an NPC that steal your goods if you rest, a secret chamber to raise your dead and a lot of other neat surprises await you. It's simply more rich in story, fights, riddles and good ideas than any other title of the series. And it's definitely the biggest and most challenging of all.

The Bad
I can't find anything that I personally don't like. Maybe only the fact that sometimes you get lost (especially in levels with illusion or shifting walls) and there is no automap. But you tend to learn these places each time you play the game. The same happens with it's extreme difficulty. I have finished the game so many times that I have learned some very good strategies that levels like the skeleton chambers or the gargoyle dungeon (where you can't rest) do seem quite easy to me these days. The same happens with the later dungeons. And yet they still have exactly the right difficulty to become challenging in the good way. This only applies if you move with the arrows and have learned to apply side-stepping fighting a lot. One can really build up experience on winning in the Beholder series this way.

The Bottom Line
Definitelly the best dungeon crawling RPG game of all times. It's perfect, in terms of graphics, atmosphere, sounds and the right amount of challenge. Kinda hard for the beginner (and for this reason I would suggest you to try the prequel first before playing this) but it feels so great playing this again and again to get better and discover more strategies. EOB2 is really the best of the series.

DOS · by Optimus (75) · 2009

Look me in the eye while I turn you into stone

The Good
I haven't played this game's predecessor, so I can't compare between the two. This one was recommended to me as the best of the series, so I decided to skip the other two - especially since it took me quite a while to finish this very unforgiving game, even with the occasional (alright, frequent!) help of a cluebook.

I surely can't say that this was the most intense role-playing experience I've ever had; but I'm certain that every fan of the genre should give it a spin. Eye of the Beholder II is unlike other old dungeon crawlers not because it does something new, but because it does everything better. Repetitive randomness is something I personally can't stand in that type of games, and I was glad to discover that Eye of the Beholder II was anything but random. Every area in the game is hand-made, in the sense that it was designed rather than procedurally generated.

In essence, Eye of the Beholder II is almost like a hybrid between role-playing and adventure. There are so many puzzles and they are so prominent, that at times the entire game begins to feel like one gigantic puzzle. There are monsters to beat, sure, but battles against them are not the meat and potatoes of the game; it's the exploration itself, the careful mapping of the complex, intricately designed dungeons, the tackling of the tricky puzzles, which makes the game so addictive and exciting.

Dealing with pressure plates that need to be weighted in a specific fashion; frantically running through narrow corridors while avoiding deadly fireball traps; poking at every wall to discover an illusion wall that leads to the coveted key; trying to figure out how to navigate a series of confusing teleporters; breaking your head over that one item that is needed to pass a mystical barrier - these are the things you'll be busy doing, while the enemies in the game almost become a diversion, a way to release the stress.

That is not to say that those enemies can't kill you - quite on the contrary. The seemingly endless hordes of skeletal warriors in the very first dungeon; the first appearance of the powerful titular monster; the frustration of being petrified by a pesky basilisk when you are so near the goal - all those challenges exist as well; and, for the final battle, you'll need to master the sidestep technique to have any chance (it's actually much easier than it seems). That said, the battles in this game certainly don't rank among the hardest; and the ability to rest anywhere, anytime after battle (with a few exceptions) greatly facilitates things.

What really works well in Eye of the Beholder II is the element of novelty within the frames of a solid, continuous gameplay concept. Even though the entire game is spent crawling through unremarkable-looking mazes, there are always gameplay elements that take you by surprise. You never know which traps and challenges await you in the next tower. You are afraid to make one step for fear of being thrown into a pit with medusas who will hug you to death, or something like that. That creates a scary, foreboding atmosphere, which is a must in games of this type. Eye of the Beholder II is good at making you feel lost, disoriented, struggling, confused, and frightened - which is exactly what a good dungeon crawler should do, otherwise what's the point of playing it?

The Bad
Once you strip Eye of the Beholder II of its exploration-related challenges, you are left with a rather unsophisticated D&D dungeon crawler. The game, at its core, is simple: traverse the towers and beat the bad guy. There is no NPC interaction, meaningful choices, or anything of the kind; it's just "figure out what to do with that damn pressure plate" or "run away from those mind flayers before they make you flay your keyboard in frustration". The game's progression is linear (you have to tackle the towers in a specific order), and you'll spend all your time wandering through depressive, claustrophobic mazes. It's engaging and addictive, but it's not necessarily what you'd call deep role-playing.

I also felt that there were hardly enough different weapons and armor to try out, and the difference between them seems to be minuscule. Things improved when I figured that an all-out attack approach would work best, having my two front fighters wield two weapons each; but even the mighty Talon, the game's ultimate monster slayer, causes hardly more damage than a +1 short sword.

Speaking of frustration: do yourself a favor and download some maps online, or even get a cluebook. At the very least, drawing your own maps is a must (I tried doing that for the first dungeon and it worked well, but the temptation was too strong and I just used online maps further on). The layout of some of the levels here can get devilishly tricky, what with tiles that turn you around or teleport you without any warning. I recalled again why I loved PC games so much more than console ones - the ability to save anywhere makes countless falls into treacherous pits and sudden deaths from elaborate traps that much less infuriating.

The Bottom Line
Eye of the Beholder II is a challenging, fulfilling, well-designed dungeon crawl that goes beyond the "slay hordes of monsters" concept; it's a tasty puzzle pie with role-playing filling - it it doesn't poison you, it will satisfy your craving.

DOS · by Unicorn Lynx (181769) · 2018

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Third time's the charm? vedder (71218) Jun 25, 2010

Trivia

Awards

  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1993 – #2 Best RPG of 1992 (Readers' Vote)

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

FM Towns added by Terok Nor. PC-98 added by Unicorn Lynx. Amiga added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, JRK, Patrick Bregger, Azif Kylander, Kayburt.

Game added October 9, 1999. Last modified March 24, 2024.