Might and Magic: Book One - Secret of the Inner Sanctum

DOS game, 1987

New World Computing
New World Computing
Fantasy, Turn-based, Dungeon
Apple II (1986), DOS (1987), Commodore 64 (1987), Macintosh (1988), NES (1990)
Also known as:
魔法門, Меч и Магия, Mech i Magija

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Might and Magic: Book One - Secret of the Inner Sanctum is a legendary RPG game and the first game, which kicked off wonderfull saga of Might and Magic. At the beginning you create a group of characters you're go through the game. In total, your group will consist of 6 members and you can choose from 5 different races: human, elf, dwarf, gnome and half-orc. The whole game is seen from a first person perspective and is set into a pseudo 3D environment. Graphics of the game is not something you're gonna be happy about, but it should be noticed that the game was released in 1986, so many of us don't even remember the release.

Unfortunetally, this game is no longer abandonware.

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Game review

A very successful game in the manner of Civilization from a not very well-known company, Simtex Software, has gained great popularity and favor, especially among fans of Fantasy and Role-playing games.

In the game you set out with your magician on the journey of a master of magic. However, you are not the only one who decides to do so, so you find yourself in a picturesque fantasy world with a few magicians, your only small town, a few simple spells and a whole bunch of legendary and less legendary monsters, raiders, treasures, heroes and adventures shrouded in darkness. robes of secrecy. How it all turns out is up to you.

You can choose your magician from pre-created ones, or use your own creativity and create your own. Your magician will become the ruler of the race you choose with him at the beginning, so your capital will be inhabited by this race. There are a total of 14 races, divided into two worlds in which the game takes place.

The arcanic world is inhabited by:
Barbari, Gnolls, Halflings, Elves, Ludi, Klackoni, Jasteri Muzi, Nomadi and Orcs.

The Myrran world is inhabited by:
Beastmen, Dark Elves, Dragon Men, Dwarves and Trolls.

Each race has its advantages and disadvantages, such as how fast it reproduces, what its building talent is, or what combat units it can use. For example, if you choose dwarves, you will be able to train engineers and build roads. Each elven unit, in turn, has a "Forester" feature, which allows it to travel through wooded areas without penalty. Every dark elf can cast spells again, so even your simplest units will be able to attack the enemy from a distance, like archers. As you can probably guess, the dark elves do not need archers. Each race has its own combat and non-combat units, with its own graphic appearance (in those pixels, however, you will rather notice a different color), which removes the stereotype of looking at the same units over and over in Civilization. As you can see, the game therefore offers an enormous number of different units with different properties, which is a benefit for the strategic part of the game.

A special and very important chapter is magic. The spells in the Master of Magic are divided into 5 types of magic:

Death - The magic of death. Insidious attack spells and summoning of the undead
Life - The magic of life. Defensive, healing, and anti-death spells
Chaos - Destructive magic of Chaos. Lots of attack spells
Nature - The magic of nature. Summoning, combat and defense spells
Sorcery - "Meta-Magic". Illusionic and psionic spells

If you are creating your own magician, you need to divide the spells you will be able to learn between these types of magic and some special properties. You can also combine magic, with the exception of Life and Death magic. You can't learn one magician at once. Each magic contains 40 different spells. There is a sixth kind of magic, which contains a few useful spells and which can be studied by any magician. Together, we have an incredible over 200 spells, which few games of the time can boast of.

If you have created your magician ruler, the game can begin. If you want to compete with other magicians, you have to start building a powerful civilization, and you must not forget research. Unlike Civilization, you are not exploring new technologies here, but the spells you have focused on when choosing your magician. You build new cities with settlers and thus expand your civilization. The choice of a new city must be considered strategically and a suitable location chosen; whether from a military or an economic point of view. It grows better on grasslands, so your city will grow faster and reach a larger population. It is well produced in the woods, but only if you have a saw. You often earn various minerals on the rivers and in the mountains, which can also carry out or enrich your units, for example with Mithril weapons. If you don't want to build cities, you can try to seize enemy cities. But beware of mixing races ... not all races tolerate each other well. Such Trolls or Klackons are borne by a small race, and if you keep such a city, prepare for a dissatisfied population.

As for the strategic-economic part of the game, it is similar to civilization, but not so sophisticated. On the other hand, it contains something that was missing in Civilization ... proper fighting!

If there is a fight between units, a battlefield with the units deployed is displayed and the fight begins with a chess-like turn-based system. Your magician watches the fight from a distance, and each round has the opportunity to contribute some "greasy" spells, which he had studied bloodily so far. Even one not very powerful spell has the effect of changing the entire outcome of the battle. If your ride is attacked by unpleasant, intrusive flying Sprites and you forgot to pick up archers, you have a problem. You can watch the Sprites fry your surprised ride with long-range attacks. However, if your magician masters the magic of nature and has learned the magic of the Web, the Sprites will learn a new thing - you can't fly with your wings glued. And it will probably be the penultimate thing they will learn. The last thing will be to stop the attack driving on the ground. It is the fights that add a wonderful strategic dimension to this game. Although the fights can be turned off and then proceed similarly as in Civilization, I definitely recommend leaving them.

If someone likes more "Might" than "Magic", they can initially set up "weak magic", which will weaken the magic in the game and its research, so the role of power will be played mainly by units and heroes. On the contrary, "strong magic" will make magic powerful, and so it will be the decisive influence on the game. There is a spell that, if you successfully conjure up, you win the game. It's called Spell of Mastery. It is not at all easy to collect mana to conjure it up, and it is even harder to stop the magicians, who will pounce on you like a herd of wild bison after the magic begins. If someone likes Might and Magic as well, for example, they can only make an army of fantastic monsters, such as gargoyles, hellhounds or fighting bears. Or, if he masters the magic of death, he can conjure up an army of undead made up of skeletons, zombies, ghouls, or the dreaded wraith. And what else to spice up this army with a powerful fire dragon or Great Wyrm ?. There are many possibilities.

Really, did I mention to you that you can own up to 6 heroes in the game? Heroes add an RPG dimension to the game because you can train them like in any other RPG. Namely, each unit can be trained, but the heroes can be trained to such an extent that they will play a more decisive role than the whole army of ordinary units. You can equip the heroes with various magical items, which you find, for example, in abandoned dungeons or temples, usually guarded by fantastic monsters. Or you can just conjure them, which is very difficult at the beginning. Each unit contains 5 primary properties: melee, range, armor, resistance, hits, and can contain a variety of secondary properties. So - there is something to practice.

An important attribute is the Glory, which you gain, for example, by winning big battles. Great battles are those in which either large armies or mythical monsters and legendary heroes fight. It depends on fame whether you get the most powerful heroes.

What to add? Master of Magic is a great game that offers perhaps an infinite amount of fun time, because every time you play it again, it's completely different. While you explore all the spells, all the units, the traits, the heroes and the fantasy world, many hours will pass, during which you will definitely not be bored. In addition, wonderful midi music (well - for the time), which changes according to the situation. As for the graphics, at first glance it's not a godsend. The standard 320x200 simply belongs to such an old game. However, what the game loses in resolution catches up with the perfect contrast of colors. The game definitely doesn't look dull but fairy-tale. And especially when you start using magic, a number of shimmering color effects appear on the screen to please your eyes. Perhaps the only thing I would say about the game is the diplomacy and artificial intelligence of the opponents (if you can call it intelligence). It has improved a bit in version 1.31, but it is still disruptive in such a wonderful game. It is a pity. However, even this shortcoming cannot overshadow the other great aspects of the game. This game became my Number One. Definitely recommend!

Reviewed by Anonym – 1. april 2014


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