Tough As Nails: Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant

Tough Ain’t Got Nothing on This

This is a title most gamers aren’t even familiar with. Wizardry VII was a turn-based RPG you played in first perspective on a tile-based map. The map had well over 10,000 squares to cover, and you really had to go to all of them to have any chance of completing the game. From what I understand, beating Wiz 7 required months of gaming and extensive map-making, and even then you could screw it up and get one of the “bad endings.”

 

Oh crap! Rat people.

It’s really not for a lack of trying either. Over the years, I’ve started new games of Wizardry many times, and still have many of the maps I made for the game (they’re around here somewhere, but I couldn’t find them for this article.) The game was endlessly punishing. Lose one of your six party members early on to death or a stone spell, and you may as well kiss that poor bastard good-bye, ’cause you aren’t seeing them again for another 10-20 levels of gameplay. When you finally had the gold/magic/super-secret artifact that could cure or revive your fallen comrade, you still had to level them up to where the rest of your team was.

The objective of the game was to track down various maps scattered around the game world, which you could eventually use to obtain the Cosmic Forge… or something. But, as if you didn’t have enough working against you, there was the added element of a bunch of computer-controlled adventuring parties running around trying to get the same items. Did you want to spend an hour grinding to raise everyone’s level and have a fighting chance against the next boss battle? Well, too bad, ’cause now the party of rat people has the first map you needed to pick up. Try to hunt them down and get the map from them? Well, now the gun-toting rhino-looking people got the second map in the meantime. What do you have to show for hours of gameplay? A half-broken party and piles and piles of hand-drawn maps on graph paper. Oh, the good old days of PC gaming.

I need to beat this game. I feel I’m going to think of my failure to complete it on my deathbed. I know it’s one of the larger and harder to complete games out there, but the Dark Savant will haunt me until I conquer it…which likely means I will forever be haunted…

Screenshot generously provided by Korseby Online.


Comments
7 Responses to “Tough As Nails: Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant”
  1. The Wizardry games were sweet. I had the first 3 on my old Apple IIe. Although for old school RPGs, Ultima is my favorite. Not quite as difficult as Wizardry.

  2. Armand K. says:

    I played 3 or 4 of the Ultima games for a while (including the online one,) but never got into them. Can’t remember which ones, but at least one was first person 3D (or the 3D of the day) and one was isometric view. That one had tons of pointless crap to pick up (like a Bethesda game) all over the place. I remember spending hours walking around a town or castle or something, and absolutely nothing interesting happening.

    This was the only Wizardry game I played, and I must have spent around 200+ hours over my lifetime playing it. I also enjoyed the Might and Magic games (similar to Wizardry) and I actually finished one of those (MM6: Darkside of Xeen.)

    Man, I love these old school RPGs!

  3. Herbman says:

    Yep, this was one of the games that really got me into RPG’s (along with Ultima and Might & Magic as you guys mentioned). Can you imagine of those games never existed? We owe so much to the people behind these classics.

    Oh and I also never finished it either! I THINK you can pick up Wizardry VII as abandonware now, I’ve been thinking about giving it a crack again for years but I know it will still own me 😦

    • Armand K. says:

      I’ve come back to this game many many times over the years. It holds up surprisingly well.

      I have my original copy on old 3.5 floppy disks (long corrupted and unusable,) the later Windows edition, and I’ve downloaded it off of abandonware sites as well. I’m always planning grand schemes of how I’ll start playing these old games and get into them like I used to. Then something like New Vegas and command all my gaming attention.

      I really wish gog.com would pick up some of these titles.

      • Herbman says:

        If I’m not mistaken, that Windows edition had better graphics and sound? I remember reading something about that long ago… would you recommend it over the original?

      • Armand K. says:

        I think both had their pros and cons. I can’t remember the details, but I think the original is technically playable in a DOS environment, while the Gold, or Windows edition may be limited to Win95 and on. As for graphics and sound, according to Wikipedia, Gold introduced speech for the narration, and:

        “the improvement of character portraits to a more colorful “fantasy comic book” feel, rather than the more realistic look of the original Crusaders of the Dark Savant’s portraits.”

        Personally, I prefer the original character portraits to the Gold version. I also think voiced narration is unimportant (but that’s just me.) I’d edge towards the original, but you may find Gold to be more compatible with Windows unless you are comfortable using DosBox… or have an old Dos based PC around.

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