Eye of the Beholder

aka: EOB
Moby ID: 835
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Something evil is lurking below the city of Waterdeep. The Lords of Waterdeep summon a group of heroes to investigate, but someone or something has been watching the proceedings. After the heroes enter the sewers, the ceiling collapses behind them. The only way out is the way down, into a dungeon filled with monsters, traps and puzzles.

Eye of the Beholder is a dungeon crawler RPG with a first-person perspective based on the 2nd Edition AD&D rules. The starting party consists of four characters and up to two NPCs can join later. Combat and magic happen in real time, similarly to Dungeon Master. There is a variety of monsters to fight and spells to cast. The game features a point-and-click interface for fighting, spellcasting and handling objects.

Spellings

  • アイ・オブ・ザ・ビホルダー - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (DOS version)

34 People (32 developers, 2 thanks) · View all

Director of Product Development (Westwood)
Game Design (Westwood)
Original Programming (Westwood)
Amiga Programming (Westwood)
Graphics (Westwood)
Music (Westwood)
Sound Effects (Westwood)
Writer (Westwood)
Playtesting (Westwood)
Special Thanks To
  • Uncle Otto
Game Development (SSI)
Development Support (SSI)
Manual (SSI)
Playtesting (SSI)
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 81% (based on 39 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 165 ratings with 8 reviews)

Wow!!!

The Good
The MUSIC was terrific, it created the PERFECT ATMOSPHERE from the very moment you started to create your party. The PLAYABILITY was great, obviously you can´t compare it to a modern game but at the time it was awesome. Good and functional GRAPHICS.

The Bad
Well at times the games would get a bit difficult, specially if you didn´t have a hintbook. Luckily magazines proofed to be most helpful. I probably have to blame this game not only for giving me a sort of "RPG-fever" that lasts until this very day. but also for making it harder for me to overcome a mild case of arachnophobia.

The Bottom Line
It was probably the second RPG I ever played on a computer (Amiga 500) and it opened my eyes to a fantastic world. The atmosphere was just binding thanks to the graphics and the music.

DOS · by lomikin (2) · 2002

A great game, but I liked its sequel much better.

The Good
Eye of the Beholder is a true classic. It spawned two sequels and while it may not have been the first, it was definitely the best RPG game for the PC at that time (in my opinion, anyway). It had great graphics and decent engine, wonderful music, a (somewhat) innovative and effective control system and good storyline.

The Bad
Unforunately, the plot is not nearly as well executed as it was in Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon, and not as interesting. Also, the game was loaded with bugs which, unfortunately, stopped me from completing it.

The Bottom Line
A real classic, shadowed by its amazing sequel, but good in its own right. Get it, play it, move on the second and be happy.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4535) · 2000

One of the first good dungeon crawling RPGs of the early DOS times

The Good
The first thing that drew my attention into playing this game was the wonderfully designed graphics. It's not only the intro sequence, but also how the walls, the monsters and especially the items dropped into the floor look like that still fascinate me regardless the old classic low VGA resolution of the graphics. Even though the animation is missing, the graphics design pay off for that.

Another major thing is the atmosphere both this title and the sequel offered. While there is a lack of an ingame music (even an ambient one to fit well), total silence except from the creepy sounds coming from monsters around the corner, dark empty dungeons creating a claustrophobic feeling, pits or teleport leading in even lower levels under the ground is all that makes you feel you are deep down in a creepy old dungeon left all alone to discover it's secrets not seen by many for a long time.

One interesting characteristic of the game that is missing from the rest of the series is it's non linearity. At many places in the game there are a lot of teleport portals that may allow you to skip a lot of levels. The same levels might be connected with different stairs from different places and there are a lot of different paths one can follow. In one occasion you can skip one level by falling into a pit that leads you directly in the spider level. There are many places to move around, special quests you can solve (for some of them you have to travel back to earlier levels), so many interesting places you might have missed even if you are at the final level meeting the boss and two different ways to kill the beholder. Especially the non linearity feature because of the portals is exploited in speed runs of the game finished in just ten minutes, something that could be impossible in EOB 2 or 3.

The controls and gameplay are also very well done and if someone can get used moving around with the arrow keys and acting with the mouse, one can become an expert in the game and cleverly pursue fights with even the hardest monsters by using the common side stepping trick that works in all EOBs.

The Bad
The finale of the game is maybe the most empty and unfinished I have ever seen. After you give the final blow to the beholder (or lead him to the trap by using a wand you acquire) a little window with text appears saying that you killed the evil and finished the game and then it returns you back to DOS.

The special quests even if they are fun to find, no clues are given about them and they aren't even connected to the main story. Generally, there is a lack of true story throughout the game (one mistake that changed in EOB2 and it's sequel) which doesn't destroy much the atmosphere though.

There is only one save game. A mistake also corrected in the later series.

The Bottom Line
A very good early dungeon crawling RPG, truly recommended for starters in the genre (at least for those who would still play old DOS games). Not as great as it's sequel in terms of a story but still above average. It's also a nice idea to play and finish this one first before playing the much harder sequel and transfer the party to EOB2 with all possible +3/5 weapons acquired.

DOS · by Optimus (75) · 2009

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
correcting a review Pseudo_Intellectual (66675) Jan 17, 2017

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The PC version of Eye of the Beholder appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Boss

The final big boss, Xanathar is actually The Beholder, as he (is it he? or was it she? :-) says to you (when you get to the endgame for final confrontation) that all those traps you encountered, and minions you fought was just a play to watch, and that he was watching you all the way (that only gets him beholder title). Now, as you can notice, he looks like a big bowling eye, with many pipes that ends also with an eye (that gives him eye title). So, Eye of the Beholder would actually be himself.

As in this game he's the main bad guy, in Eye of the Beholder II, there are actually many creatures that are from his race, and are no such threat.

Cancelled Lynx port

This game was being ported to Atari's Lynx by NuFX, Inc., but development was halted. Prototypes have since been leaked to the internet.

Character portraits

A number of the portraits in Eye of the Beholder were Westwood employees. These include Paul Mudra (Music and Design), Phil Gorrow (Lead Programmer and Design), Joseph Hewitt (Lead Artist and Design), Mike Legg (Programmer and Design), Frank Saxxon (Artist), Aaron Powell (Artist) and Eydie Laramore (Lead Writer and Design).

Ending

Eye of the Beholder was praised for its stylish cinematic opening sequence, which dazzled players and set the stage of the game to follow. However, since the final game's size weighed in at 5 3.5" disks, SSI decided to cut the ending cinematic, figuring very few players would see it anyway, and it was not worth the extra cost of the sixth disk.

However, many players who did slog it out to the end of the game and were not amused when they were "rewarded" with a simple text message and unceremoniously dropped to DOS. SSI soon realized their mistake, but the damage could not be undone. Many players assumed the game simply never had an ending, never suspecting it existed but was not included.

The Amiga version was later released with the final endgame graphic.

Also, there was one bit of the ending that most players never saw. Players were able to do what the developer's called the "EoB Two-Step," side-stepping, turning and side-stepping again, they were able to fight many monsters including the boss with risk of taking much damage. It was possible, though time consuming, to use this technique to kill Xanathar. This is not the way the game's designers had in mind for his defeat though. The player were supposed to lure and push Xanathar into one of the spike traps where there was a small animated sequence (basically 4 frames) of him being impaled and dying.

Title

Eye of the Beholder is one of many games that shares its name with a song by the heavy metal band Metallica.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #2 Least Rewarding Ending of All Time* Enchanted Realms
    • September 1991 (Issue #8) – Distinctive Adventure Award

Information also contributed by Игги Друге, Martin Smith, and MAT

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 835
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Chris Martin.

SNES added by SAGA_. SEGA CD added by Stillman. PC-98 added by Terok Nor. Amiga added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Tony Van, Terok Nor, xcom1602, Jeanne, Cabeza2000, Alaka, monkeyislandgirl, Joseph Hewitt, Patrick Bregger, Azif Kylander, Narushima, FatherJack.

Game added February 7, 2000. Last modified June 14, 2024.