EYE OF THE BEHOLDER II
Bigger... Better... Meaner Than Ever!
Yes! The exciting sequel to Eye of the Beholder is here!
Like its awesome predecessor, EYE OF THE BEHOLDER II: THE LEGEND OF DARKMOON is a graphically based AD&D computer fantasy role-playing saga -- with stunning pictures, realistic animation and 3-D "you-are-there" point of view. EYE II gives you all this... and more -- much more!
A bigger adventure includes forest, temple, catacomb and three huge towers. The bigger story gives you more people to meet, clues to learn and mysteries to unravel! BETTER! Better graphics and improved "point-and-click" interface make playing even easier. MEANER! Lots of new, smarter, meaner monsters!
Transfer your characters and items from Eye of the Beholder, or create your own experienced group of characters. Either way, you're in for more of the best fantasy role-playing experience!
The CRPG Addict can put this into context better than I ever could: a few years after this style of game (tile-movement, reflex action gameplay) was pioneered by FTL with Dungeon Master, it reaches its apex here with the genuine D&D license and the unbeatable Westwood production values -- with Ultima Underworld and a full, not-conventionally-mappable 3D play environment around the corner. Even Westwood will jump ship before EOB reaches its 3rd and final chapter, and from there the genre will go into a permanent slump punctuated only by the nostalgic revisitation of the Legend of Grimrock in 2012.
Brave the haunting forest on the way to the dread Temple Darkmoon
One slip -- in combat or in conversation -- can bring the whole force of the enemy against you!
But hey, I'm putting the cart before the horse here a bit, aren't I? This game was lots of fun! Now let's unpack some of the claims in the often-meaningless ad copy! Was its predecessor awesome? Indeed it was: I still can vividly remember the first occasion on which I was exposed to its multimedia introductory sequence. "Saga" is a bit rich, but certainly it seems no less applicable here than Candy Crush. All that yammer about the pictures and the animation is just gloss for "Westwood developed it", and as for its POV... yep, it sure has one. Bigger? Sure. Better? Well, why not? Meaner? Sure, it hews even closer to the average than episodes 1 or 3! Some of the sub-claims warrant a little unpacking... would I necessarily enjoy a game featuring three huge towers more than one featuring only two of them? If memory suggests, the story, clues and mysteries contained in these games are all pants, a question of which rock do I stuff into a crack in which wall to unlock a teleporter? Better graphics... really? Are they not simply just more of the same? And ditto for the "improved" interface... is it not identical to that of its predecessor? (I dig the 1991 quotes around "point and click", don't want to confuse the MS-DOS users.) Smarter, meaner monsters? Well, monsters of higher level...
It all rings a bit hollow. At this point, the economy of selling the contents of boxed computer games on store shelves is well oriented toward the pivotal factor of "pretty screenshots on the back of the box" -- whatever half-baked hype is cooked up to be printed on the back of the box becomes increasingly irrelevant as a selling point. Ad copy is just an extension of that. You won't be making any new converts with your breathless prose -- the best approach you could possibly take is to say "You liked the last one, so here, we've made more of it, trying to mess with its winning formula as little as possible." Done. But instead, you have to pretend that you've taken something that's already perfect, and have improved on every aspect of it. I don't care if it's improved, I just don't want it to be diminished. But I guess marketing believes that's its job: you didn't see games sold under the "Buckley's cough syrup: it tastes bad and it works" premise since Infocom slammed hi-rez graphics.
I don't, in the end, have all that much to say about this ad. I still think it's funny how SSI put an image of their game's box in the corner of the ad featuring the box art writ large, and I still have no memory of any scenario in the game remotely resembling this illustration (granted, I remember virtually nothing about playing this game beyond its opening in a wolf-plagued forest), but picking apart marketing nothing-speak leaves me filled with nothing, and I remember that on some level, this blog began as an excuse for me to post advertisement scans with their transcriptions alongside so as to have some public resource to point to when submitting the Ad Blurb transcripts to Mobygames. All the interpretation and context was gravy. Here's your freakin' gravy, I've satisfied the conditions of making one more post here. There are more D&D games coming up in the CRPG Addict's 1992 -- I count five of them, though he might well skip over Order of the Griffon on the Turbografx-16 and Warriors of the Eternal Sun for the Genesis, he still should be eventually covering the last gasps of the Gold Box engine with Dark Queen of Krynn and Treasures of the Savage Frontier along with the locally-produced Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace... but I don't expect he'll be reaching them anytime soon. Still, I have been surprised before -- as I was here! -- so who knows when next we'll be crossing paths here. Now, if you don't mind, I have an incredible backlog of work to wrap up over at Pixel Pompeii 8)