Classic dungeon crawling thrills
This is an early example of the 3D dungeon crawler and which is set in the world of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, making use of the 2nd edition ruleset. It's a pretty standard entry into the genre, similar to the likes of Dungeon Master and Stonekeep, but which stands up well thanks to the fact that most of its elements are implemented well enough so that any faults, such as lack of originality, can be overlooked. The story revolves around that old fantasy fallback, a mysterious horror that lurks in the darkness and which can only be defeated by a bold party of adventurers. Controlling this party, which initially consists of four members but which can added to later, of course falls to the player and in typical fashion, you explore murky sewers and dungeons, battling monsters with both magic and more conventional weapons while also solving the occasional puzzle. It's all pretty standard stuff but as far as these things go, Eye of the Beholder remains a top-notch experience. The exploration is suitably compelling, with a genuine sense of dread and the unknown as you venture into uncharted territory, while the real-time combat is satisfying and exciting, with some excellent monsters to battle and neat spells to unleash. The visuals do a great job of bringing AD&D to life and the game is full of well-designed and varied dungeons that really keep your interest and ensure you are always keen to progress. Sound too is similarly impressive, while factors like the ability to add members to your party and the enhanced interactivity also add some strong appeal, making Eye of the Beholder a game which might lack originality but which is eminently playable. The first sequel, Eye of the Beholder 2, continues with the same high standards but Eye of the Beholder 3 lets the franchise down somewhat.