Sword and Magic 8 / Hebrew

Short description

The article discusses the game “Sword and Magic 8: Age of the Destroyer” and its place in the larger universe of the Might and Magic franchise. The game’s plot involves a mysterious crystal causing natural disasters across the continent, and players must navigate through the Dagger Wound Islands while exploring the origin of the disasters. The game features a role-playing system in which players accumulate experience points to level up and gain new skills, and players can choose from eight different classes, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The article also mentions the game’s music, sound effects, and a card mini-game called Arcomage.

Sword and Magic 8 / Hebrew

A stingy nostalgic tear broke through me the other day, and I decided to take out from my shelf a box covered in dust with a wonderful game “Sword and Magic 8: Age of the Destroyer”.

Why her, and not the seventh part? After all, the sixth and seventh parts are much better in terms of content, world size and plot. If you think logically, then the eighth part looks like an attempt to make easy money on a popular franchise. After all, the universe is really huge! What’s up, there were as many as 10 numbered parts! And also an offshoot of the series, which for most of the population of our country has become much more famous than the father – Heroes of Sword and Magic (yes, Heroes come from Sword and Magic, as an expansion of the universe). And there were many other games in this universe…

But in my case, logic turned out to be powerless, since it was from the eighth part that I began to get to know the series and thanks to it I fell in love with this universe. (Funnily enough, this also happened to me with the Final Fantasy series). Next, I will try to shake off the dust from an almost forgotten line of games. I hope my story will encourage new players to play it, and oldfags to return to their home universe and remember the past.

Who

The creators are the studio New World Computing, which is famous for its numbered series of games Might and Magic, Heroes of Might and Magic and King’s Bounty (recently received the second numbered part thanks to the company 1C.)

Plot

The plot is based on the fact that some mysterious person erected a huge crystal in the center of a coastal town and then disappeared, and various cataclysms began across the continent: floods, volcanoes that wake up, lightning storms and rivers of fire that wash away villages.

The main character is a caravanner who arrived on the Dagger Wound islands, but the volcanic eruption that began there destroyed all the bridges, and with them – the ability to return to the mainland. The minimum task is to find a way to get out of these unfortunate islands, and then try to understand the origin of all these natural disasters, which will lead the player to an unexpected denouement. We will save entire races, choose sides in the war between necromancers and clerics of the sun, make alliances and understand what is happening and what is our role in these events.

The sixth, seventh and eighth parts of Sword and Sorcery, as well as Heroes 1, 2 and 3 and “Hero Chronicles”, are interconnected and take place in the same world. Therefore, you will often meet not only familiar heroes, but also monsters from the beloved series.

Gameplay

The game greets us with rather mediocre graphics, even for those times, and let me remind you that it was released at the beginning of 2000. All models of monsters and many other objects are sprites, that is, two-dimensional images. These days, such graphics may seem archaic, but it quickly ceases to catch the eye. The main thing in the game is not a picture, but a wonderful role-playing system that captures the plot and a large, interesting world.

You start by creating a hero, but during the game you can recruit four additional characters to the team. Your wards need to be pumped, find more and more high-quality equipment, extracting various armor and weapons, as well as artifacts. You can assemble a balanced team or create a party of single mages/knights. The game can be played with any squad, even with one character!

The game mechanics allow for battles with monsters in both real-time and campaign mode, allowing the player to choose what is more convenient for him. Usually, it is much more comfortable to turn on marching mode and thoughtfully give orders to your wards. In my youth, I fought only in real time, the tactical mode annoyed me a lot (especially the loud melody of the mode change). Over the years, I understood all its value and convenience, and the melody became native and close, so I fight almost always only in it!

Sound accompaniment

The music by the brilliant Paul Romero is as beautiful as in all the previous parts of the series, but in my opinion it loses greatly to its older brothers. For me, her problem is that she is not memorable. At the same time, the music does not bore and even more so does not “cut the ears”, which is undoubtedly a positive aspect. The rest of the game’s voice acting, as well as the sound effects, are very nice, each character is voiced and comments on the events that happen with the team. I remembered the phrases of many heroes for the rest of my life! And not just their word, but intonation, voice!

Interesting fact for Swords and Sorcery and Heroes fans: did you know that Paul Romero regularly performs with symphony orchestras around the world? It does not bypass Russia either. So if you want to immerse yourself in the melodies that have long accompanied your adventures in the magical worlds created by New World Computing – visit the maestro’s concert.

Role system

The role-playing system is quite typical for games of this genre, with a few caveats.

The player, completing quests and killing monsters, gets experience, which, accumulating up to a certain amount, allows you to level up. To get a new level, you need to go to the city, to the training center, where you will be promoted for a fee. If you have accumulated a lot of experience, you can climb several levels together.

When you move to a new level, your characteristics increase, and skills are also given. Not everything is so simple with them. They are not nested one at a time, as in many other games, and with progression. Example: if you have a skill level of 6, you need to invest another 7 points for the next level, eight for a further increase, and so on.

But that’s not all. Each skill can be learned to a specific rank. To do this, after gaining the required number of points (the same for all skills), find the right instructor who will promote you in mastering the skill. After gaining 4 points, you can become a skill specialist, 7 points – a master, and after gaining 10 points – a Grand Master (GM). Boosting changes your options a lot. For example, becoming a master of swordsmanship, you can take swords in both hands, and becoming a VM in one of the schools of magic, you can use the strongest spells of that school. As you progress, you will be able to use even basic spells much more effectively, infusing them with new effects. For example, the Magic Sight spell at base level allows you to see enemies on the minimap. Having become a specialist in magic, you will also be able to see objects lying next to you. At the master level, you will see interesting places on the map. After becoming a Grandmaster, you will not waste mana on this spell.

It remains to add that each class and each race can perfectly master this or that skill.

Let’s talk about classes. They were somehow mixed with races, which was not the case in the previous part. There are now 8 in the game: Minotaur, Vampire, Cleric, Necromancer, Troll, Knight, Dark Elf and even a Dragon! Everyone has their own advantages and disadvantages, which you need to take into account when organizing a party in order to level them. For example, only a necromancer can become a VM of elemental magic, a cleric – a VM of Ego magic (schools of spirit, mind, body), and a dark elf can get the title of VM of trade. Choose classes to your heart’s content, because, as I said before, the game can be played with any party composition!

Arcomage

A small card mini-game that appeared back in the 7th part, after which fans liked it so much that it was released as a separate independent game.

Arkomag is the most popular game on Enroth. It’s easy to explain, because the game maintains a simple and interesting process with fairly large tactical possibilities. In this two-player matchup, each player is dealt 6 random cards, three resource types, two towers, and two walls. Each player’s task is to destroy the opponent’s tower or accumulate a certain amount of resources, random from tavern to tavern. Probably, you, like a large number of players from Enroth, will love this game and spend more than one hour playing it. And if I add to this that in the eighth part there is a quest that will reward you with very good artifacts for winning all the taverns, then playing will become even more pleasant.

Mod

To familiarize yourself with the game, I strongly recommend installing the “World Of Enroth” mod.

It adds the ability to browse with the mouse, because it can only be done on the keyboard. The mod itself, built on the 8-part engine, combined 3 games at once – the sixth, seventh and eighth – and made it possible to travel between them with your party of heroes. What’s more, they even invented a plot rationale for this action and introduced a new quest! For fans of the 6th and 7th parts, I will say: since the mod is based on the 8th game, all its game mechanics have been transferred to the 6th and 7th parts! This means that in six you can now become a Grand Master of Skills, and in seven you can fly a dragon by taking it into the party! Since you can go through three games at once with one set of heroes, making them very strong in the process, the mods added an option that allows you to increase the power of monsters so that the game does not seem too simple. I will not list all the useful features of the mod, such as support for high screen resolutions, the ability to disable the intro when starting the game, game acceleration. There are many of them. I highly recommend this mod, it will be many times more convenient and pleasant to play!

Result

You can tell a lot of interesting things about this wonderful game and stretch the already long review even more, so I will round it off. What do we have as a result? A large world full of various secrets and mysteries, with a rich role system, as well as an interesting story, along with the opportunity to meet old acquaintances from “Heroes”. A large number of different magic: walking on water and flying, combat and healing magic, necromancy (yes, you can create an army of the dead) and various status magic. Although by modern standards the game is outdated and not the best in the series, but it is clearly worthy of getting acquainted with it. It is difficult to explain in words, but the games of that era give a kind of warm, warm gameplay and a slightly different experience than modern ones.

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PS: I sent a link to the mod forum, where you can find the mod itself, as well as patches, tips and Russifiers, in a telegram.

PSS: I’m such a big fan of the series that a girl made me a diorama.

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