A guy on the radio today talking about the "blood moon" tonight reminded me of the video game Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon and I thought I'd download it and see if it's crazy hard as I remember it being or if I was just too young to be able to play it well.

Turns out it is crazy hard.

There is literally no hand-holding in this game, not so much as a tutorial. Obviously this game was made back in the days when games came with manuals, and you're expected to have read it. All 58 pages of it.

Without the manual you barely even know what's going on in the story. Your "friend" the wizard tells you there's evil in "the Temple Darkmoon" and that he sent someone to investigate but she disappeared. Then he teleports you into the forest. That's it. You're in the forest now. And it's full of wolves that will attack you for no reason.

What the game doesn't tell you at this point is that your spell-casters are currently useless because you need to choose their spells and then rest so they can memorise them. Obviously this is in the manual, but come on, 58 pages.

Also the forest is a maze. You can only walk on the paths, you have no map, and no idea where you're going. So you blunder around killing wolves for a while, and then you finally reach the temple and get a moment to pause and figure out what to do.

Oh yeah, and you really can't hang around in the forest figuring it out, because the game is real-time so any time you're sitting around trying to figure stuff out wolves are spawning and attacking you. Usually from behind. And you will get no alert that this is happening, other than the audio cue (which is really easy to miss at first or just assume is ambience).

So you finally figure out how to get your spells, and you'd think this is where you start to get a handle on what's going on. Nope. There is no information about the spells in the game, that's all in the manual. I picked some spells based on what sounded good, because I don't want to have to study before I play a game.

And there are so many things that you can choose and do right from the beginning. Like character alignment. The game gives no indication of what a particular alignment will mean for you, but at one point I found some graves and decided to dig them up (as you do), and one of my characters refused to participate because she was lawful good. It didn't stop the rest of the party though, and I have no idea if there are any later repercussions from that.

Just wandering around the forest fighting wolves, I managed to get one of my party members killed, and this isn't one of those modern RPGs where you're OK as long as at least one party member survives to revive them after the fight, she was dead dead.

I remember from playing when I was younger (and probably with cheats) that there is a way to revive dead party members, but it's an actual object in the game you need to find. I think if one of your team dies at this point you may as well just start over, because you're fucked.

And the best part about that, I'm pretty sure it was one of my own spells that killed me. I cast this spell and it did damage to my entire team. What even is the point of that? Why does this game give you spells that just hurt you instead of your enemies? How did anyone ever manage to play this game? It's crazy.

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