Crusaders of the Dark Savant – Box Art courtesy of Wikipedia

Recently (through the aid of DosBox) I’ve been replaying a game from my youth: Wizardry 7 – Crusaders of the Dark Savant. The penultimate game in the series before Sir-Tech closed up shop, this sprawling 1992 CRPG was always a bit of a white whale from the my younger days.

So I rolled up a party, trying to bring a fresh eye and a decade more maturity to the game. I remembered enough of the (previously hand drawn) map to navigate my party: Felpurr Samurai, Lizardman Ninja, Dracon Thief, Elvish Valkyrie, Hobbit Bard and Rawulf Priest.  Through the forest outside New City to the Chest containing the Journeyman Map Kit, quickly filed through the intro dungeon taking down Ra-Sep-Re-Tep and into the bustling metropolis of New City (“If You Don’t Want To Lose It, Cover It With Paluke’s!”) and there things slowly ground to a halt.  The limited inventory management systems, poor automapping, the unwinnable random combat conditions quickly began to dwarf my big push to recover the *LEGEND* map before the NPCs pick it up and start shuffling it around the map.

The game’s still fun of the micromanaging sort – but the heavy reliance on saving/loading to get through all aspects of the game, really limits the fun.  Maybe I’ll see if I can get my copy of Wizardry 8 up and running, and we’ll see how thing get refined from there.  More in-depth, and well thought out criticism of Wiz 7 can be found here.

One interesting thing in my own enjoyment of the game, was a drift away from perfectionism – I would equip that cursed dagger to push my short-term advantage, I was much more willing to change character classes (which can more or less break the game) and consumable items were more than fair game – took out of those pesky inventory problems.

The recently aborted Kickstarter project by Loot Drop (and not to mention their suspect omission of John Romero’s involvement) makes it seem like another Wizardry-style game isn’t in the cards – at least not after they muffed their pitch with a bunch of ambiguity and a lack of direction aside from “Old School”.

D.W. Bradley is re-releasing Dungeon Lords having “remastered” it – which I guess means actually functioning, having features, and a game interface and everything.  I guess I’ll dig those CDs up as well.

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