I really enjoyed the first Eye of the Beholder, as you probably already know. It was my first attempt at dungeon crawling and probably at (C)RPG in general. I spent entire afternoons hand drawing maps. Or trying to figure out how to solve a certain puzzle.
Not spiders again!
Because at the time there was no internet to offer you an easy way out of a difficult puzzle. All you could do was maybe wait for a solution to be published on a magazine. A few months later, if you were lucky.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I actually miss those times, were you had less distractions and you could actually get things done without being interrupted every 5 minutes by an email, a whatsapp message or a facebook notification. Your attention was 100% on the task at hand. And when, after maybe a few hours of banging your head against a wall, you finally figured it out, it just felt great.
Nowadays, after 15 minutes of trying without success, all I can think of is to hell with this, I don't have time to waste and mr. google kindly hands me the solution to my puzzle. Shame on me, I know, but after 8/10 hours of work, I really don't have the patience to waste even 1 hour on a game puzzle.
This is exactly the wrong way to play a videogame, and probably the reason why most modern games almost take you by hand right to the end. But I really see no way out of this situation, except winning the lottery and not having to work any more, so that I may have entire afternoons of free time to waste as I please.
But I digress.
We were talking about Eye of the Beholder II, right? Right.
Well, I'm always very wary of sequels, especially when I loved the first game. Fear to be disappointed, probably.
Luckily, my wariness quickly melted away after just a few minutes of playing Eye of the Beholder II. It takes everything good the first game had to offer and improves on everything else. More complex levels and puzzles, more charismatic and hard to fight enemies, more powerful characters. And an entire level full of beholders. What more could you ask? Well, probably an automapper.
It's not always stone walls
I played Eye of the Beholder II several times over, and I never got tired of it. What I enjoyed the most is that I could really feel my party improving, growing stronger, but the challenges it had to face got harder too, in a very balanced way. Wonderful game design here, in my opinion.
Honorable mention to the best enemies in the game: the frost giants. Giants, you ask? In a tiny, claustrophobic dungeon? Yep. Because they crawl around (hence the dungeon-crawling label. I suppose), with their heads scraping the ceiling. Poor lads. But still, it's fun when you meet them for the first time.
I got my hands on an amiga boxed version for a reasonable price (25 euros). Here are the box contents:
- Game Manual. Nice!
- SSI catalogue
- Reference card
- Warranty card
- Five 3,5" floppy disks (meh)
- Original receipt from 1992. With an hand-written note on it saying exchange if wrong format - incompatible or not (enough) memory. An honest reselller!