The “End Tile” is another very basic tile that features no additional options. This tile is used to mark the spot where the player finishes the game.
This tile is only used once in your game, in order to end the game – and it is not even required as the player can end the game as well by defeating a monster marked as “Endboss”. So you can decide between 2 types of game ending conditions:
Walkable End – by stepping onto the end tile
Combat End – by defeating the monster marked as “endboss”
You usually place the End Tile only on the final dungeon level and only if your game does not feature an endboss. In theory you can even have multiple versions of both: End Tiles and Endbosses in order to allow multiple endings.
Ah, but nothing is ever quite so easy. The chase sent the adventurers to another planet where the final stand took place. Prophecies were fulfilled, the fate of worlds was resolved, and the planets just kept on turning…
Of course, there’s a lot more to each of these games than just these few paragraphs (including massive amounts of tongue-in-cheek humor), but in the interest of trying to be as spoiler-free as possible, these brief summaries should suffice to give you a taste of the rich lore for which this series is celebrated.
In short, the original Wizardry games developed by Sir-Tech are very special – both for their content and for their historical significance. Unlike most other RPGs of the era, the initial series received seven proper sequels, all of which were translated to Japanese. Having found unprecedented success in the east, Japan was eventually passed the torch, and the series continued under the guiding hands of countless enthusiastic developers.
One of the things that made the Wizardry series so magical was its sheer depth. In its earlier days, Wizardry had a lot in common with its more famous cousin, The Bard’s Tale. Grid-based dungeons, first-person viewpoint, player-generated party… That was the bread and butter of those games.
Wizardry also followed some of its tabletop gaming compatriots in having advanced classes that required higher stats, and these advanced classes blended eastern and western flavor in careful balance.
Alignment was always a major focal point, as well – good and evil characters simply never worked well together; and although later games adopted other systems in place of alignment (karma in Wizardry 7, for example), the simple elegance of good, neutral and evil alignment became a recognizable trait of the series, and served as an inspiration for countless other game developers.
Game mechanics also became more intense with time. The player could customize specific characters with stats and skills from specific classes to make that character hit 6+ times per round, or kill an enemy with one hit from the shadows. Magic, too, became more complex with each outing, with status effects ranging from petrification to “itching.”
Even a concept as basic as skill usage was given some additional depth, particularly in the later games – once a character’s stats were at max (along with other criteria, depending on the game), special skills would unlock to further enhance his/her abilities.
While the story of the Wizardry series was never its primary focus, each game featured a mystery to unravel and numerous well-written character interactions that afforded the player a chance to really connect with his/her characters and become immersed within the game world. Later games even featured multiple endings depending on the faction to which you’d fostered the closest ties, and each of these factions always had its own flavor and character.
Bringing one of the new-wave Japanese Wizardry games to North America offers old fans an opportunity to see how the same seeds sprouted different fruit, and gives new fans a chance to discover this long and storied series for the first time.
This is the Wizardry Renaissance. And for as much as the series has changed over the years… it’s still largely the same as it always has been. Just as it should be.
Name: Wizardry 7 – Crusaders of the Dark Savant/Wizardry Gold
Platforms: MS-DOS, Windows 95, PlayStation, Macintosh
Date Released: 1992
The pen was held by the Cosmic Lords, who were helpless to work their magic on the worlds without it. They had lost it when a king and wizard picked it up and promptly disappeared. However, a spot of luck managed to reveal a previously unknown planet which was rumored to contain the secret to create (or destroy) worlds. With this secret presenting far too much of a temptation, it was only a matter of time before various groups (including otherworldly beings) began seeking it out, in hopes of attaining ultimate power. Among these interstellar visitors were the Dark Savant (one of the most powerful beings there ever was), the Umpani (reliable, fair traders), the T’Rang (spider-like creatures who would do anything whatsoever for money) and a fierce woman warrior named Vi Domina (a descendant of the man who made the new world). Of course, a group of intrepid adventurers would also be joining this unlikely cast of characters, and a deadly game of extraterrestrial cat and mouse would begin.
More time passed. After the Maelstrom had been conquered, a new king was born in the royal family. Everyone liked him, so eventually he was given control over all of Llylgamyn. Unsurprisingly, however, this turned out to be a bad idea.
It was said that the queen was fond of torturing the helpless, and the king’s advisor was a shady wizard who started warring on other planes of existence. During one of his excursions, he found a powerful artifact called the Cosmic Forge. It was a pen that would bring into reality whatever it wrote. This turned the king and the wizard against each other in a climactic battle that nobody got to see (as it took place entirely in the royal castle). Neither were ever seen again, and as you might imagine, his didn’t help Llylgamyn at all – with the king gone, the local government crumbled and everyone simply abandoned the land. Stories of the Cosmic Forge persisted, however, and some adventurers decided to try their luck finding this mighty pen.
Platforms: Apple ][, Commodore 64, SNES, Satellaview, PC, NEC PC-9801
Date Released: 1988
With the orb safely in hand, the kingdom of sages and wizards learned quite a bit about life and magic, and Llylgamyn returned to its former peace… for a time. Like all things, though, this magically-augmented tranquility eventually broke down as well. Some grand creator must have really had it in for the place, too, as this time it seemed like the very fabric of reality itself had been torn asunder. Chaos was literally leaking out, most prominently in a series of maze-like caverns (the Maelstrom) under the temple of the sages (called the Brotherhood). This was all pretty grim, but the sages knew what to do ? or rather, they knew who would know what to do: a demigod called the Gatekeeper, who was well-versed in this sort of stuff. After some scrying, they found out that he had been captured, and was being held in the heart of the Maelstrom.
Further investigation also revealed a mysterious lady known from the Brotherhood who wanted to end all order in the universe. And she’d had a three-year head start on achieving this goal, so time was short! Some heroes had to step up fast, talk to the high priest of the Brotherhood to find out what to do, then charge into the Maelstrom,save the Gatekeeper, and stop The Sorn.
Meanwhile, remember our old buddy Werdna? Yeah, he came back – or so they said. Clawed his way all the way up the ten levels of his dungeon and everything. But of course, that was all just rumor… or was it?
Platforms: Apple ][, Commodore 64, NES, NEC PC-9801
Date released: 1983
Though Llylgamyn prospered, that peace was eventually broken not by man, but by nature itself. Earthquakes, changes in climate, thundering storms… Things got turbulent, but people were able to ignore it until it started hitting Llylgamyn proper. A quake cracked Gnilda’s temple, and nearby volcanoes started belching ash and fire. The sages and wizards and soothsayers consulted their magic, and the signs were clear: the end of the world was at hand. While some panicked, others knew that there was one artifact that could reveal the source of all this craziness: a magic orb owned by the dragon, L’kbreth. This dragon was pretty smart, and hid it in a place that was guarded by the powers of both good and evil. And since quite a bit of time had passed since the last dungeon quest, it was left up to the descendents of our previous heroes to step up and save Llylgamyn.
Platforms: Apple ][, Commodore 64, NES, NEC PC-9801
Date Released: 1982
After your team of intrepid adventurers laid out a proper beating and got the amulet, Trebor sent in the rest of his army to clean house, and set up guards to make sure Werdna would never, ever come back again. Unfortunately, by this time, Trebor had gone a bit over the edge (quite literally!), and took a long leap off a short spire. Things got pretty quiet after that.
Time passed, and there was this staff in the city that would keep away evil: If you wanted to be bad in the town, you literally couldn’t get in. But if you were born bad, there wasn’t much that could be done, now, was there? And Davalpus was that kind of guy. He learned all the bad stuff Werdna learned, got better at it, charged into the royal family’s castle and gave a demonstration as to why he was the main villain of this part of the tale.
Quick and easy solution to that, though: The prince of the royal family charged at Davalpus, there was a big flash of light, and boom – no prince, no Davalpus, but most notably, no staff. The god who claimed it, Gnilda, left a note saying she was quite fed up with all the hubbub, and that her protective staff had been placed, strangely enough, in a deep labyrinth under the temple. And so, it was time for your intrepid group of adventurers to get the staff and bring Llylgamyn back to safety.
And so it went. Always a crazy maze, always an item to find at the bottom, and always an evil to vanquish…
Name: Wizardry 1 – Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord
Platforms: (U.S.) Apple ][, Commodore 64, NES, MSX-2, TurboGrafx-CD, Super Famicom
Date Released: 1981
It all started in the city of Llylgamyn. See, there were these two people who weren’t fond of each other, Trebor (the Overlord – kinda like a president, but elected by a group of sages) and Werdna (evil wizard). Werdna stole Trebor’s magical amulet-thing and made a big underground maze, hiding said amulet at the bottom. Trebor tried to get it, but could only secure four floors. Having done that much, however, he put some traps of his own in those top four floors and offered up the underground maze as a proving ground. Find the hidden item, and Trebor’ll tell you about his shiny amulet and offer you a job as his personal guard. Of course, it should come as no surprise to avid gamers who was still guarding the amulet at the bottom…
Originally written by Christoper J. Snelgrove and Matthew Fleming, Courtesy of XSeed Games’ official website and the wonderful FAQ over at GameFaqs.Gamespot.com
Japan loves Wizardry. The Sir-Tech dungeon crawler RPGs maintain a cult following in the US, but in Japan, they are considered all-time classics.
The original Wizardry games not only received PC release, but were also ported to many popular consoles in Japan, one of which was the Sega Saturn, which received a port of Wizardry VI and VII, which oddly enough, remains Japan
With the original games ending at Wizardry 8, many developers decided to keep the trend going with dungeon crawlers of their own.
Some developers paid homage to the franchise with original works such as Sega’s Shining In The Darkness, Atlus’ (immensely popular) Etrian Odyssey franchise, and even the occasional one-shot such as Success’ The Dark Spire, which takes many cues from Wizardry, right down to making the player roll for the stats of their party. Acquire themselves have their own Wizardry-inspired franchise, though their Class of Heroes series uses cutesy anime designs to put a much cheerier spin on Wizardry; despite using eerie dungeons and classic crawl gameplay to back it all up.
Some took this a step further, and made games that went on to use the Wizardry name. Busin 0: Wizardry Alternative Neo, for example, took the core Wizardry themes into 3D, with a dark and foreboding PS2 experience known to US audiences as ‘Tale of the Forsaken Land’.
Busin did receive a sequel, which sadly also remains Japanese exclusive to this day. Since then, the Wizardry franchise largely remained dormant, on both sides of the globe. Until Acquire took up the license, bringing fantasy dungeon crawling back with a vengeance, via their aptly named ‘Wizardry Renaissance’ project.
“Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls” kicked off the movement with a PSN game that went on to receive quite a bit of support from dungeon-starved PS3 owners, and remains quite profitable, if the significant amount of DLC the game received is any indication. It also received an industry award as one of the best PSN games, in Japan anyway.
It even later received a disc release, bundled with its sequel, though the odds of that receiving a US release are looking pretty dim. So if you want you some Wizardry on the PS3, for the time being, the PSN is your best and only bet.
‘Labyrinth of Lost Souls’ isn’t a perfect dungeon crawler, nor does it live up to the stellar reputation of Busin/Tale of the Forsaken Land, but it’s still quite an engrossing experience, and it sets the stage for the far better sequel, so that’s reason enough to support Acquire and XSeed in my book.
The best way to learn where we are now is to study where we have been, and Wizardry is a series with quite a long and illustrious history. Although now living on in the hands of Japanese developers like Acquire, the original creators of this venerable franchise designed eight numbered entries before the torch was passed, and these eight games served as an inspiration to countless game designers throughout the 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s, ultimately shaping the series and the gaming landscape as a whole in countless ways. In addition, each game served almost as a mirror, reflecting
(and in many cases satirizing) the general state of fantasy sci-fi and tabletop gaming in the western world at the time of its creation.