Here we have the sixth installment in the Wizardry series; Bane of the Cosmic Forge. This title is probably my second favorite in the Wizardry universe. It is the first entry in the series that was completely free from the influence of the original creators. This time, we are presented with a game created completely by David W. Bradley and Sir-Tech Software. This is very obvious due to the radical change in direction that is present in this game.
For the first time in the series, we are given a Wizardry title that focuses just as heavily on artwork as it does story. Color EGA graphics, which were top of the line at the time, transformed the Wizardry world into something never seen before. Also, gone are the days of keyboard only gameplay. Bane features a mouse driven interface, which was very inviting to new players at the time.
Despite these changes, all of the staples of the series are still here. The traditional races and classes are all included, with new additions to both (Faeries, Lizardmen, etc – for races, and Alchemists, Bards and more for classes). New character skills and a revamp of the magic system are also integrated into the game. (Say goodbye to those cryptic magic words)
While the graphical and UI presentation of the game is first thing many veteran’s notice, the storyline of the game is equally immersing and probably the best in the series so far. The plot begins simple enough, your team of adventurers enter a long abandoned castle in hope of doing some serious treasure hunting. Little do they know they are about to become involved in what will be both a quest of supernatural and cosmic epic-ness. In the end, your party is given the opportunity to invoke one of the most powerful relics in the entire universe: The Cosmic Forge. A mystical pen that will turn anything written with it into reality.
The game features multiple endings and once the game is over, you are given the opportunity to save your game for import into the sequel. The ending achieved in this title has a big impact on how you begin the next game.
Difficulty: Medium – For this first time we have a Wizardry that is accessible to the semi-casual player. Progress within the game can be saved and loaded at will. Which makes it easy to “ignore” bad choices and party wipes
Story: An amazingly in-depth story for those that take the time to read it. There are no cutscenes, and it’s possible to speed through all of the in-game dialogue.
Originality: There’s a lot of new ideas and style brought to the series in this title. But somehow, the developers also managed to stay true the legacy introduced in the original game.
Soundtrack: The game has no musical soundtrack but features sound effects for PCs equipped with a SoundBlaster compatible soundcard.
Fun: I enjoy this title quite a bit. I’ve never failed to have a wonderful time exploring the dungeons and the lands beyond.
Graphics: By today’s standards, the graphics leave a lot to be desired. However, they were pretty top-of-the-line in the day and age the game made it’s debut.
Playcontrol: For the first time in the series, the game is controlled by mouse. This provides a bit of a learning curve for modern gamers, but soon becomes second-nature.
Overall rating (out of four stars): 4 – Bane of the Cosmic Forge is prime example of a classic PC RPG. This game begins the second age of Wizardry and it, along with the first title in the series, are on my list of games to play before you die.
Currently Available: GOG.com
Other Reviews In This Series:
Forsaken Land – Labyrinth of Lost Souls – Wizardry Online