Wizardry II is a first-person, grid-based
, RPG that is part of a series that had helped to set many standards within the PC-RPG genre with its graphical interface and gameplay mechanics. At the time, the series' graphical capabilities and gameplay mechanics were considered revolutionary and innovative for PCs. Wizardry II continues the story begun with the first game and allows players to import characters in from Wizardry I
to continue the quest in a new scenario.
The original versions of the game did not allow for players to roll up new characters making it a requirement to import those made in Wizardry I
in order to start the game. This was because the series attempted to create a sense of continuity by making it a necessity in carrying over these characters, aiming squarely at the veteran market. Later versions of the game would allow players to roll up new characters.
After assembling their party of adventurers, the player will confront many challenges and puzzles as they attempt to penetrate the dangers in a bid to survive the challenges of another dangerous dungeon in a bid to recover the fabled Staff of Gnilda. But first, they must recover the pieces of armor that had once belonged to the Knight of Diamonds. The gameplay style of the title has been compared to that of a dungeon crawl in which players simply fight monsters for experience and treasure. It is exactly the same as the first game, only now with a different scenario.
The relatively simple and clear interface is organized around a series of commands and actions listed at the bottom of the screen as well as a combined inventory and statistics screen.
Completing Wizardry was required if the player wished to transfer characters into the next sequel, Wizardry III: Legacy of Llylgamyn
Among the other features of the game were:
- Over 50 spells were available for casting
- 4 basic classes to choose from and four elite classes to upgrade to
- 5 races to create classes with
The game did not have any copy protection and creating a Scenario Diskette was needed in order the game on. The CD-ROM version of the game automatically circumvented this by creating one on the drive when installed. The console iterations of the game, such as that released for the NES, featured better graphics particularly in replacing the wireframe dungeon visuals.
The manual was also noteworthy for being written in a way that made Wizardry appear appealing to newcomers with little to no experience with an RPG. Illustrated with humorous drawings and a great deal of detail worked into its text. A section walked a player through a fictional scenario that might occur within the game while explaining its concepts with several examples.
Wizardry's story is firmly rooted within fantasy and is considered the second module in a set of four linked by a story arc that would end with Wizardry IV: The Return of Werdna
. Knight of Diamonds takes place almost immediately following the events of the first game, although experience with it was not necessary to begin this scenario.
After evil wizard, Werdna's, defeat in the previous adventure, the formerly Mad Overlord, Trebor, sent his remaining army to clean out the rest of the infamous Maze that he had turned into his personal Proving Grounds. Upon exterminating every monster within its depths, Trebor decided to use the mystical amulet that adventurers had seized from the wicked wizard to guarantee that Werdna would never return.
With its power, Trebor was able to slightly alter the structure of the Maze that lay below his Castle at the heart of the kingdom and ordered guards to patrol the passages to ensure that Werdna would not be able to return from the dead. His obsession with Werdna's return, however, had ultimately pushed him to suicide and rumors say that his ghost haunts the Maze in a fruitless search for the return of his former arch-nemesis. With Trebor dead, the power of the city was once again divided between the High Council and the Royal Family. Hailed as heroes, the adventurers that had defeated Werdna were offered one of hte highest honors within the kingdom.
It has been two years since the death of Trebor, and now another crisis has erupted.
The city of Llylgamym has always been under the protection of a powerful artifact known as the Staff of Gnilda. Its power surrounded the city with a magical field protecting it from evil influence. Anyone who wished harmful intent for the city of Llylgamyn would find themselves unable to enter its gates while those who did not were free to come and go as they pleased. The presence of the staff seemed to present the perfect defense, but there was a way around it, something that Werdna himself took advantage of. The staff could only stop evil from entering the city, but if evil was born within its walls, that person remained unaffected by its power.
Werdna was a native of the kingdom which allowed him to challenge Trebor directly with his power, but there was another born within the walls of Llylgamyn that also held avarice within his heart. His name was Davalpus. Davalpus soon called upon the darkest of monsters and with their help, stormed the castle and slew the Royal Family. Or, at least, he thought he had. Only Prince Alavik and his sister, Princess Margda, escaped. They knew that the only hope of defeating Davalpus lay with the Staff of Gnilda which was held deep within the underground temple deep below the Royal Castle. It was placed there, long ago, by a hero known only as the Knight of Diamonds and in order to handle the staff, a person must be dressed from head to toe in his armor. The armor itself is scattered throughout the temple and heavily guarded. Entering the temple undetected, the Prince was able to retrieve the armor and with it, the Staff.
Prepared with both the armor and the Staff, the Prince confronted Davalpus in an epic battle. As the Prince landed the killing blow, Davalpus uttered a terrible curse whose infernal power was so great that it reduced the castle to rubble leaving the Temple of Gnilda open to all. With a flash of light, both the Prince and the body of the evil Davalpus disappeared in the chaos. The Staff had also disappeared.
But more worrisome was that the god, Gnilda, was heard by the people of the city to say "I have found this city unworthy of my protection and have hidden my Staff within the depths of my temple. If the Staff is sought out and returned to my main chamber, I will once again place the city under my protection. This is the word of Gnilda."
News of this event had spread throughout the kingdom. The city was, for the first time in as many years, vulnerable. The call went out to find those who would be powerful enough to accept the challenge and retrieve the Staff.
It was then that the High Council of Sages turned to the heroes that had saved the land before. They remember their deeds and have implored them to help once more. If successful, great rewards and even greater honors will be heaped at their feet. Needless to say, the adventurers accepted.
After many adventures and battles within the dungeon-like corridors of the temple, the party proved successful in retrieving the Staff of Gnilda saving the city from the evils of war. As a token of their gratitude, the High Council has marked the party with the "Mark of Gnilda" and have bestowed upon them the order of "Knight of the City".
Wizardry II is exactly the same as its predecessor; a tile, or grid based movement
RPG starting out within the Castle that serves as the base for party management and the Maze in which the adventure takes place. Party size is limited to six members, although smaller parties are even allowed but not suggested for survival. The player must find penetrate the dangers and mysteries of the Maze in order to recover the pieces of armor that had once belonged to the Knight of Diamonds.
Difficulty within the Wizardry series, particularly the
The Maze comprises the central theater for the adventure and is comprised of several levels, each with its own distinct dangers and puzzles to solve. The lack of an automap means that the player is required to draw his or her own maps or otherwise rely on unofficial game guides and walkthroughs in order to navigate the mazelike multi-level dungeon.
Saves could only be made anywhere, but Wizardry II's setup on PCs had an additional side-benefit to doing so. It would allow players to quick-save their progress and quit out of the scenario and if they chose to start at the Castle with a fresh party, they could wander back into the Maze and even encounter their old party where they had left them. This was also treated as a backup in case of PC failure. The party would be marked as OUT until the player decided to restart the group or create another party of adventurers and headed down to find them.
Levels were earned after gaining the requisite experience as well as resting at the Inn back at the Castle. It was possible to continue adventuring well after the previous experience limit was met and earning several levels at once after a restful stay at the Inn.
This was the central location for the player's management options concerning their party. Here, several locations were available by hotkey:
- Gilgamesh's Tavern - A dim and smoke filled place with a perpetual haunch of boar roasting over the fire, small groups of adventurers congregate here discussing their latest exploits or hoping to join a party. This is where the player will build their party from characters they create.
- Adventurer's Inn - Rest is offered as long as the party can afford their stay. Several different rooms are provided ranging from the Stables to a Royal Suite, each with their own rate of healing. This is also where resting characters can level up once they have the requisite experience.
- Temple of Cant - More severe ailments are handled here, again for the right 'donation'. Paralysis, poison, and even the dead can be brought back to a sense of normalcy after enough coins are shared with the faithful.
- Boltac's Trading Post - A friendly dwarf named Boltac operates this in the Castle's market area, providing his services to anyone that can afford them. Arms, goods, and even his experience in identifying certain items can all be purchased with the right coin. The party can even sell their ill gotten gains here to free up their pockets for even more loot that they might come across. Boltac can even remove cursed items, although the party will also lose the item once it's "uncursed."
- Edge of Town - From here, the party can visit the Training Grounds, enter the Maze, or head back to the Castle.
- The Maze - Many adventurers seeking fame, glory, and experience eagerly dive into the dangers of the Maze otherwise known as the Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord.
- Training Grounds - New characters are created here and players can also inspect older characters to see if they need a few changes of their own.
Picking Locks and Disarming Traps
There were no locks to pick in the game. Disarming
traps, on the other hand, on treasure chests, was much more different. A character with the proper skill could inspect the chest and determine what kind of trap was on it. Once they made their assessment, it was up to the player to disarm the trap by opting to do so and then typing the trap's name in. If they are correct, the trap is disarmed. Spells could also be used to help disarm chests.
This command allowed the party to camp out in the middle of the dungeon. This also enabled the player to inspect their party members and also re-order their party's marching order. This also allows the player to equip their entire party at once if they so choose.
The original versions of Wizardry II were aimed squarely at veterans that had played through the first game, Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord
. Characters created in that game were required to start this new scenario. Later versions of Wizardry II, however, would remove this restriction and make it possible to roll up new characters using the same rules of the first game.
Characters can actually age in Wizardry II if they rest too much. Resting at the Inn can last anywhere from a single day to a year depending on how much gold you have in reserve. Resting replenishes a party's health and stamina, readying them for the road ahead, but rest enough times and a character will start to age. But when they first start out in the game, they are at an extremely young age. Death by old age is hardly expected, but it is a possibility.
The character classes belong to one of two categories; Base or Elite. Base classes (Fighter, Mage, Priest, Thief) are often considered the 'starting' class for a character whereas Elite classes (Lord, Bishop, Samurai, Lord, Ninja) typically benefit from having better fighting skills and eventual proficiency in magic. The initial statistics requirements for Elite classes are noticably higher than for the Base classes, making the former much more difficult to create at the start of the game.
As with the first game (and what would become an integral part of its gameplay formula), Wizardry II includes the option to change character class during the course of the game at the Training Grounds when inspecting a character. The incentives to do so in Wizardry are comparatively strong as many abilities are retained from the original classes, and since characters who recently changed classes during mid-game can often gain levels rapidly (thus enabling the player to raise skill points and fill out spell books much faster than would otherwise have been possibly).
Alignment largely determines what kind of class a particular character can be.
The four basic classes are:
- Fighter - High hit points and experts at using any weapon and piece of armor, they are a grounded class that can dish out the damage as well as take it.
- Thief - No party is complete without a competent thief to help disarm traps. While they aren't the greatest of fighters, they rely on their sneakiness to backstab their enemies.
- Priest - Long known as skilled healers, their talents are important for any party heading out into danger. They cannot be of neutral alignment.
- Mage - The classic wizard. As they become more powerful, their spellbooks will continue to add many new pages filled with deadly spells.
The four elite classes are:
- Bishop - Like a Priest, they are able to heal their friends and dispel the undead. They are also able to uncurse items that become permanently stuck to a character, freeing them. They can also learn any spell from any of the other schools. The downside is that their learning rate is also a bit slower, so the selection of spells that they may have will take more time to develop. But they can identify items without fear of being cursed. They must not be neutral.
- Samurai - A true swordsman. At the fourth level of experience, they begin to learn Mage spells. They cannot be of evil alignment because of their adherence to the code of Bushido.
- Lord - Skilled as a fighter as well as being pious enough to cast a few spells, they are likened to paladins and crusader knights. They start learning priestly spells around the fourth level of experience. They can also only be of good alignment.
- Ninja - An assassin and a rogue, they can kill with weapons or their bare hands, sometimes being able to kill the strongest enemy with a single blow. They disdain armor and become far harder to hit and tougher to kill as they gain levels. They also have all of the skills of thief and are able to disarm traps. They can also hide in shadows and ambush enemies. They must also be of evil alignment.
The races include familiar fantasy characters such as the Elf, the Dwarf, the Gnome and the Hobbit.
- Humans - Balanced without any serious flaws, a good, even keeled race that can belong and excel at any profession.
- Elf - They excel at the intellectual classes, such as Mages, or Bishops. Keenly interested in study.
- Dwarf - Gruff, short in stature, but tough and reliable, dwarves make excellent Fighters while their piety can also find them a career as a Priest.
- Gnomes - Found underground and often overlooked by the larger races, their quiet and studious nature make them ideal as Mages or Priests.
- Hobbit - Friendly, nimble, and otherwise unassuming, they make surprisingly decent Ninja, Samurai, or Thieves.
Attribute scores had a maximum value of 18 and determined a variety of effects and class eligibility requirements. Many of these attributes were particularly important across many classes across a variety of skills. Characters can improve their attributes thanks to the investment of points earned with every level.
- Strength - Determines how much damage a character can lay into a monster as well as how much weight they can carry around with them. It also affects certain weapon skills and plays into stamina
- I.Q. - Important for spellcasters.
- Piety - This is important for a character's ability to concentrate on the task at hand. It also affects how many spells a character may be able to learn and their effectiveness with them.
- Vitality - Very important for hit points, the chance for resurrection, the ability to resist damage and disease, and general health.
- Luck - Ambiguous but it also has mysterious effects on many other factors
As with many RPGs, character development is driven by experience points
which translates into levels. When a character gains a level after resting an an inn:
- Spellcasters may be able to learn a new spell
- Depending on their statistics, a character may even change their class
- Hit points will also improve
Combat in Wizardry II is a turn based
affair with random encounters
providing the cannon fodder that would feed the party's thirst for experience points
. When enemies encountered the party, a list of enemies along with a picture showing what they were would appear on screen.
Similar to other RPGs of the era, its strict turn-based system halts the passage of time until the player performs an action (such as moving around or casting spells). In combat, the order in which characters act is determined primarily by their statistics, although the player issues orders to every character in the party before commencing a turn. Besides using melee
and/or ranged weapons and casting spells, characters with the appropriate skills can hide (which means enemies cannot hurt them), use items in their inventory, equip new weapons or items or try to run away from battle which, if successful, results in the entire party fleeing from the enemies. It is not possible to save the game or restore a saved game while in combat mode, but there are no other restrictions on when and where the player can save the game.
In each round of combat, everyone makes their selection of actions as the game calculates who will have initiative and then executing their orders.