Might and Magic II

Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

What a difference!  After struggling through Ishar 1 and Might and Magic 1, I decided to give Might and Magic 2 a spin.  It's going to be very difficult for me to go back, especially to Might and Magic 1.
 
Everything is improved. The graphics are more colorful, the NPC interactions are streamlined something fierce, you can identify items fully now, you can get special items in stores on certain days, and what's best: there's an auto-map, and the leveling process is all but painless.
 
In the first Might and Magic it took several play sessions before I was lucky enough to find decent equipment, and there were many times where I was fairly poor and within a few days of not having any food to heal with.  While that poverty made me appreciate it greatly the first time I got a nice wad of cash, Might and Magic 2 does you the favor of actually not taking forever for your party to come upon some decent equipment, gold, and experience.  After stumbling through the still-hostile town I found it easy to get into compartmentalized trouble.  Unlike when I first played this in my Genesis/Mega Drive days, I knew that I wasn't supposed to avoid killing these guys. If they were attacking, they were bad, end of story.  Made things much easier.
 
The Genesis version WAS better; I think since it was ported they had the time to add some upgrades, including higher resolution graphics with more colors, and a few other tweaks that I wish this version had.  They're not deal breakers though, and I find I'm having a lot of fun with this one.  An added bonus is that the DOSBox emulation doesn't need tweaking like it does for many of the other games I've played (including Xeen). 
 
 I'm actually enjoying myself.  It's weird.

#1 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

What a difference!  After struggling through Ishar 1 and Might and Magic 1, I decided to give Might and Magic 2 a spin.  It's going to be very difficult for me to go back, especially to Might and Magic 1.
 
Everything is improved. The graphics are more colorful, the NPC interactions are streamlined something fierce, you can identify items fully now, you can get special items in stores on certain days, and what's best: there's an auto-map, and the leveling process is all but painless.
 
In the first Might and Magic it took several play sessions before I was lucky enough to find decent equipment, and there were many times where I was fairly poor and within a few days of not having any food to heal with.  While that poverty made me appreciate it greatly the first time I got a nice wad of cash, Might and Magic 2 does you the favor of actually not taking forever for your party to come upon some decent equipment, gold, and experience.  After stumbling through the still-hostile town I found it easy to get into compartmentalized trouble.  Unlike when I first played this in my Genesis/Mega Drive days, I knew that I wasn't supposed to avoid killing these guys. If they were attacking, they were bad, end of story.  Made things much easier.
 
The Genesis version WAS better; I think since it was ported they had the time to add some upgrades, including higher resolution graphics with more colors, and a few other tweaks that I wish this version had.  They're not deal breakers though, and I find I'm having a lot of fun with this one.  An added bonus is that the DOSBox emulation doesn't need tweaking like it does for many of the other games I've played (including Xeen). 
 
 I'm actually enjoying myself.  It's weird.

#2 Posted by owl_of_minerva (1455 posts) -

Might and Magic II is my favourite childhood RPG, but I still find it very hard to play now. Maybe if I had more time to devote to it. I really wish all the classic RPG series would get remakes (either proper ones or fan-made ones).

#3 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@owl_of_minerva: I hear that.  It takes a bit of getting used to, and there are some keyboard commands that are still a pain (transferring items and trying them out to see if they work shouldn't take so much time) but I've gotten to a point now, just in the time since I last wrote that post, where my dudes are pretty strong, and I pretty much understand all of the basics (except...  why do my offense spells fail so often?  I'm confused).  It feels a bit bleak compared to modern visuals, but it's got a lot of humor and surprises that I don't feel like I'm playing around with someone's tech demo, either.
 
Might and Magic is something I'd like to be remade, although I'd hope they'd move away from the rendered sprites stuff from VI onward, which actually felt cheaper to me than the hand-drawn stuff.
#4 Posted by dbz1995 (4790 posts) -

Heroes of Might and Magic III. Get it.

#5 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@dbz1995:  Not talking about the Heroes series.  I had Heroes III back when it was new.
#6 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11934 posts) -
Is it much better? I guess I just lumped the first two M&M games into the same pool of "Absolutely and totally unplayable as far as I am concerned". It's really just a matter of tolerance, and my tolerance level starts at around 1991 in terms of RPGs (But, as I have found out in some of my more hapless GOG purchases, not all RPGs are created equal). Although, watching a few scattered Let's Play videos of the SNES version make me think that I could probably do better with that version... except for the part where there is a timed cryptogram (that isn't in the DOS version) at the end that took the player several tries to finish, thus proving that even on consoles, western RPGs were for crazy people in that era.
#7 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater:  Depends on what you're looking for, of course. You use Isles of Terra as a benchmark for tolerability, and I've not made it too far into that to know much about it, other than it's an obvious bridge between Xeen and the earlier games.
 
Since I spent a great deal of time trying to wrestle with the difficulty curve and navigation problems of Might and Magic I, MM2 was like a direct answer to nearly all of my complaints.  
 
It's still a bitch to exchange items between party members (type the number of the person who has the item, what do you want to exchange (4: item), who do you want to exchange with (remember the party slot the recipient is in), which item slot in the backpack do you want to give.  If the recipient's backpack is full, only NOW do you learn that it's full, which is lazy coding).  Casting spells means you have to remember what level and number the spell is (I have the spellbook in the pdf open all the time). Weapon classes have to be researched to know what their damage range is, in addition to learning specific magical enhancements beyond the bonus (but in MM1, there was no way to research them AT ALL.  Even Xeen doesn't tell you damage ranges for weapon types unless you spend money identifying them).
 
There's also a weird issue when I cast spells, where a spell often fails for reasons I'm unable to discern.  Fireballs often don't cast properly.  I don't understand why, because I'm pretty sure the prerequisites are met.  Maybe the target or area cancels that level of offensive magic.  I had the same problem when I played the Genesis version and never quite figured out what was going on.
 
I wonder if the timed cryptogram was in the Genesis version, as well.  Not cool :)

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