Might and Magic - The highest and lowest points

Might and Magic is one of my favorite rpg franchises, produced by Jon van Canegham and his New World Company. In fact Might and Magic II was the first crpg which I that played so much and I still remember most of the game by head. The series had for most part a mix of fantasy and sci-fi (something that shared it Wizardry and that only jrpgs do now).

There is ten games in the main franchise. Before we delve in my list, let´s first organize thing a bit, because of there is at least two to three arcs between this games and a quick look on them also give us some insight of the things which changed overtime.

The first arc, cover the first five games and the plot is the conflict between Corak and Sheltem, two agent of a misterious alien race know as Ancients, Sheltem had gone out of control and Corak was ordered to put a stop to it and this is the start of many adventures. Most of the "worlds" of this games aren´t really worlds, but part of spaceship travelling in the void, part of the Ancient´s plans.

  • Might and Magic I: Secret of the Inner Sanctum (1986)
  • Might and Magic II: Gates of Another World (1988)
  • Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra (1991)
  • Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen (1992)
  • Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen (1993)

In the second arc - the plot tend to drop and pick up the sci-fi part as very inconsistent pace.The setting would be Enroth for most games, until it was destroyed in Heroes of Might and Magic IV. During this time NWC became a part of 3DO, which worked for a while, until the financial problems and mismanagement of 3DO start to affect deeply NWC. IN the late days many had either where fired or left and the production suffered a lot, because often of limited budget or begin forced to rush games. But still some of them where really good and among my favorites.

  • Might and Magic VI: Mandate of Heaven (1998)
  • Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor (1999)
  • Might and Magic VIII: The Day of the Destroyer (2000)
  • Might and Magic IX (2002)

3DO problems lead made them sell the Might and Magic rights to Ubisoft, at this point, NWC no longer existed.Maybe, depending on Ubisoft, there could be a third arc if they release more game on the rpg side, however so far we only got one game, as Ubisoft focus on the Heroes franchise.

  • Might and Magic X: Legacy (2014).

In case some wonder, where the Heroes franchise fits in: Well, everything start with King´s Bounty (1990), which somewhat one can say, it was a Heroes zero, but it was just a spin off that despite sharing name with some npcs of previous game, it don´t fit anywhere. The sucess of the game lead to Heroes of Might and Magic I and other games, they all are in the same world Enroth and in a in-universe chronology would be something like this (simple format, I am not adding the expansions).

  • Heroes of Might and Magic I (1995)
  • Heroes of Might and Magic II (1996)
  • Might and Magic VI: Mandate of Heaven (1998)
  • Heroes of Might and Magic III (1999)
  • Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor (1999)
  • Might and Magic VIII: The Day of the Destroyer (2000)
  • Heroes of Might and Magic IV (2002)
  • Might and Magic IX (2002)

List items

  • World of Xeen is a compilation of Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen and Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen.

    This is highlight of the franchise, both where among the best - featuring the sci-fi and fantasy themes mixed in a very unique design. The combat was fast paced and very fun.

    Clouds of Xeen is part called that because, while the game used a simple early grid based third person view, feature places with several floors and clouds which linked towers.

    Darkside is called this, because... remember I said some world where "flat"? the Darkside is on below side of Xeen, also Sheltem rules here and there is a lot of monsters too.

  • Despite age, this still a high playable game thanks to new adition such as Automap and a mini-map. M&M II design is interessing as fit in all info you need (something that a lot of old crpg didn´t).

    Aside from meeting Corak and Sheltem again, the game also features time travel, a complex quest to gain a special mark (the "juror´s quest" which was a unique quest that each class got), a monster resort, a spa for adventurers and many other things.

  • M&M VIII was a very good game, and is one of my favorite. While it use the same engine as M&M VI, it much more refined in terms of graphics and features more classes (with a two tier promotions) a larger and well designed world with two main paths to follow on the main history.

    The plot start with the player´s party joining a "scavenger´s hunt" promoted by a lord, which offer the Castle of Harmondale to the winner. However soon you find out why he is trying to get hid of it, because Harmondale is in the middle of Erathia and the elven kingdom and also begin attacked by goblins.

  • Ok, this might sound strange to say - but while M&M III and World of Xeen, share the same engine, M&M isn´t refined was Xeen. Still it is a very good game.

    Sheltem was the guardian of Terra, however when he start to disobey order, the was taken prisioner by Corak, but managed to escape, but this time he return to his home.

  • This not easy game, not because it´s hard, but because it a very old school rpg, which share many of the issues and limitation of it´s period. Without a guide of faq and maybe even a map you might get stuck and lost.

    In the world of VARN, the player´s party must find out what happened to King Alamar, while trying to find the Inner Sanctum. This game features the first apparence of Corak and Sheltem.

  • This was the first new M&M under 3DO, which also featured a whole new engine, which they reused over and over again.

    Because of this lot of people really like this game, however, I could only play after VII, which was a more refined version of VI, so I didn´t like the game so much, which was made worst by combat begin really tiresome at the end.

    This game is also the debut of the Kreegan, which are like to remember as the devils from Heroes III, but in real they are alien race enemy of the ancients. Also they aren´t weak to angels, but to Ancient tecnology, such as Blaster and Pistols and they where lot less demon like and more insect like.

    Anyway, the Kreegans invade Enroth and kidnap King Roland while they also take the Mandate of Heaven. It´s up the player´s party, which where survivors of the first attack that where raised by Falagar to save the day.

  • Legacy is a very honest attempt to capture the original spirit of the franchise, it got almost everything right. The setting is Ashan (the one created by Ubisoft), so despite a few nods to the original universe, there is no connections.

  • Using the same engine, but somehow ending with lackluster graphics (that appear worst as in M&M VI), it was a ok game, that tried some stuff, such as drop the party construction, to adopt a Baldur´s Gate like structure, with a Main character and npcs you could recruit, however they had no personality or AI.

    Another major change, was that there was only a few classes, such Knight, Cleric and Necromancer (all Human), but instead, you had several "monster classes/race" such as Minotaurs, Dragons, Vampires, Dark Elves and Vampires.

    The Ancients decided to enact a zero tolerance politic toward Kreegans, and any world touched by them was to be destroyed. So they send Escaton to destroy Enroth, where he start to cause major natural disasters.

    The player must organize a alliance of some of the faction in the region to face Escaton. However allying to some factions mean make enemy of others, which was a cleaver concept, so you had maybe to choose between knights vs dragons, cleric vs undead...

  • At first you might find M&M IX laughable bad, while they tried a new engine, they had to release the game (thanks to 3DO) in something that could not even be called a alpha. So expect terrible graphics (so much that npcs only had half texture for faces, which was copy pasted and inverted) and gameplay. However you might also got a bit sad as you might see some nice ideas here and there.

    The plot and setting where in a new world (Axeoth), the overall game had a viking theme, with you unitying some nobles to face the hordes of Temur Lang. There was no mention of any sci-fi elements.