(This is part of my journey going playing through 1991’s Eye of the Beholder 2: The Legend of Darkmoon. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
After exploring a small forest outside, the brave band of D&D adventurers enter the Temple of Darkmoon. At first glance, it’s a pretty unusual “dungeon” — it looks nice and spiffy, with a pair of dapper robed figures wandering around.
It’s really hard to tell with still screenshots, but Eye of the Beholder 2 isn’t 3D at all. Instead, each view is set and stationary, allowing you to instantly switch between the four cardinal directions or move in one without any gliding transition. So still shots with the occasional wandering sprite that may change based on its distance or action.
The clerics are siblings, and both of them are unnerving at first glance. The girl for her eyes, and the guy for the weird way he’s holding his hands. Maybe he’s aspiring to be a vampire? The two say that everything seems peaceful and normal around here, so I’m going to guess that they’re evil in disguise.
Nearby in the lobby is a lady who’s freaking out because she’s searching for her sister — another lost soul. Something very hinky is going on around here.
This isn’t an adventure game, so types of interactions with the environment are limited. I did discover — to my great delight — that you can whack at things with weapons to see if they break. Time to go smashin’ windows! This kind of upsets the clerics, who come at me charging. The party quickly hacks them down, with Syl sending a fireball to finish off the last guy.
Further exploration of the temple’s main floor turns up a secret room that holds an ankh — and a promise to be able to resurrect party members three times. I’m sure that’ll come in useful! Of course, I’ll be save scumming like crazy, so hopefully it won’t be needed too often.
The party heads down in the catacombs, where the dungeon crawl begins in earnest. The party talks about this place seeming evil and being built by Drow, which seem related. Bad elves doing bad things is not going to make a rumpus room in your basement.
I have to say, I do like these little narrative cutscenes. They work well to inject a little bit of color and D&D spirit into the action.
I’m just glad I’m finally getting the hang of how this game works. Combat encounters are starting to go better, with Zinn and Wolfy taking up the duties of front-line fighters whacking people while Katriana tosses out spells and heals and Syl casts fireballs, acid arrows, and magic missiles. I mean, I’d love a hotbar for all this, but it’s very workable with just a mouse.
It’s not all fighting, either. There’s a proper amount of puzzle solving as well, such as finding a rock to put on a pressure plate to keep a door open or figuring out how to break someone out of a jail cell.
Hey, it’s a toddler in a diaper! Or a halfling in a loincloth, same difference. He wants to tag along, but something tells me that he isn’t that trustworthy… so no, you’re on your own, baby Frodo.
The team does find a secret passage with a ton of spider webs — and some angsty arachnids to boot. Happily, there’s some good loot hidden in this alcove, so the trouble is worth it.