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I'm replaying the original Wizardry games - this time via the Llylgamyn saga version released for the Super Famicom. Having a surprising amount of fun, I never really had the patience as a kid to play the games "properly." It has the nice graphics and music of the NES versions (upgraded to kind of 16-bit) and the Dumapic spell works as an automap rather than just giving coordinates (once I refill my mechanical pencil, I hope to not rely on it as much.) It includes the original trilogy of games although I'm not sure how transferring characters works (the NES version of Wizardry Knight of Diamonds was rebalanced towards starting at level 1 rather than requiring an imported party from Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord - don't know if that still is true here, but it has some kind of data transfer functionality in it.) When people say it's the best way to replay the original trilogy (if you don't demand the authenticity of the Apple II version, that is) they're not kidding.

 

For those who remember tips for the game, one of my fighters just reached the attributes necessary to switch to samurai. Is this something I want to do immediately or let them grind out fighter levels for a while still? I know my spellcasters I want to let build up a healthy reservoir of spells known before switching, but my melee types?

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The Wizardry series is one I never played when I was younger. I got sucked into the Ultima games and played those, as well as other RPG-style games such as Alternate Reality on the Atari 8-bits. I remember watching a friend of mine playing Wizardry games on his Apple IIe. Would be fun to play those in order, and I know there are a ton of them. No idea what platforms each of the games is available on, nor which platforms are the best to play the games on. Would have to do some research.

 

..Al

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The Wizardry series is one I never played when I was younger. I got sucked into the Ultima games and played those, as well as other RPG-style games such as Alternate Reality on the Atari 8-bits. I remember watching a friend of mine playing Wizardry games on his Apple IIe. Would be fun to play those in order, and I know there are a ton of them. No idea what platforms each of the games is available on, nor which platforms are the best to play the games on. Would have to do some research.

 

..Al

 

I never got into the Wizardry and Ultima series.I didn't really get into RPGs until the more accessible JRPGs on the NES, Genesis and SNES.

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The Wizardry series is one I never played when I was younger. I got sucked into the Ultima games and played those, as well as other RPG-style games such as Alternate Reality on the Atari 8-bits. I remember watching a friend of mine playing Wizardry games on his Apple IIe. Would be fun to play those in order, and I know there are a ton of them. No idea what platforms each of the games is available on, nor which platforms are the best to play the games on. Would have to do some research.

 

..Al

 

From my reading, the best way to experience the original Wizardry trilogy is how I'm doing it - the Llylgamyn Saga version for Super Famicom. It already has options for English text, but there's a translation patch that changes what little Japanese remains into English. It's quite authentic to the original experience on Apple II, but with quality of life improvements and much upgraded and tasteful graphics and sound. What's neat is it has options to revert some of the stuff to how it originally was (wireframe dungeons, coordinates instead of automap for the Dumapic spell, etc.) Difficulty is still there though, which is important.

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I never got into the Wizardry and Ultima series.I didn't really get into RPGs until the more accessible JRPGs on the NES, Genesis and SNES.

 

I got into RPGs via Ultima and Dragon Warrior on the NES. I played the hell out of Wizardry on NES as well, but never really groked how I was supposed to play it (drawing a map seemed so tedious to young short attention span me.)

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No idea what platforms each of the games is available on, nor which platforms are the best to play the games on.

 

To expand on it:

 

Wizardry I - III are collectively referred to as the "Llylgamyn Saga" and are honestly nothing more than expansion packs to Wizardry I. They're identical gameplay wise, and even required you to import characters from the previous game to play on Apple II. The best way to play them is probably the Super Famicom port. Avoid the DOS version because it has a bug where your characters tend to lose attributes way more than they should when they level up, which makes the games even more difficult than intended.

 

Wizardry IV is stupidly brutally hard and obtuse and apparently nobody likes it. You play as the villain from the first game and collect monsters to fight for you - the enemies are based on characters that plays of I-III mailed to the developers. A tip as to how impenetrably difficult the game is: you can't even leave the starting area unless you get some priests to join you, and one of them casts the spell to reveal secret doors during combat, so you can find the door you need to leave.

 

Wizardry V is the last of the "classic" games and was apparently pretty badly dated at release. Best version depends on whether or not you want to experience the original keyword dialogue system. Super Famicom again is the best console port, but removes the need to type in keywords for interaction with NPCs.

 

Wizardry VI through VIII are what I consider the "next generation" of Wizardry and are honestly Wizardry games in name alone. D.W. Bradley took over at this point and the games got even weirder. Gameplay systems were overhauled and the graphics finally moved out of the late 70s/early 80s. PC version is the best for these probably. They have no story connection to the previous games and feature spaceships, aliens, computers and all kinds of other gonzo shit. You can transfer your party from game to game in this trilogy to tell a convoluted but technically cohesive story.

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Thanks for the additional information, deepthaw. Interesting how Wizardry VI through VIII veered from the original games. Are they still fun? :D

 

..Al

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I never got into the Wizardry and Ultima series.I didn't really get into RPGs until the more accessible JRPGs on the NES, Genesis and SNES.

Same here. I knew of things due to having a PC for Christmas in 1990, but the whole need graph paper, take notes, draw maps, write down everything and what every spell or item does drove me nuts. Similar reasons why I won't and don't play those type a command based games of the era too as they never make sense. I don't mind the pen and paper route of a D&D setup if it actually is on that, or the modern equal now like the Warlock of Firetop Mountain on Switch/mobile, but otherwise the JRPG standard of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy are my speed to start at. I always thought Wizardry looked fantastic but made just no sense to me trying to figure it out in the later 90s using an early NES emulator and ROM.

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Well let me add to the chorus....this series was too hardcore for little Wheels bitd.

 

At the risk of being politically incorrect, there's probably a reason the series is still going strong in Japan but died everywhere else.

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To expand on it:

 

Wizardry I - III are collectively referred to as the "Llylgamyn Saga" and are honestly nothing more than expansion packs to Wizardry I. They're identical gameplay wise, and even required you to import characters from the previous game to play on Apple II. The best way to play them is probably the Super Famicom port. Avoid the DOS version because it has a bug where your characters tend to lose attributes way more than they should when they level up, which makes the games even more difficult than intended.

 

Huh, I did not know about the bug. I played the DOS version - maybe that's why I was never quite able to beat it :)

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Huh, I did not know about the bug. I played the DOS version - maybe that's why I was never quite able to beat it :)

 

Well, it's not known if it's a bug or a design decision. The assumption that it's a bug due to other versions not being so prone to stats decreasing at level up.

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I always wanted Wizardy on the Atari 8bit back in the day and thought I was missing something. Once I got an Apple IIe and even emulation I realized that not much was lost. As someone else mentioned there is alot of note taking for this series which I dont have the time or patience for. I think the Ultima series hit the right notes for the general RPG public more than Wizardy (excluding Ultima 8 :D )

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I always wanted Wizardy on the Atari 8bit back in the day and thought I was missing something. Once I got an Apple IIe and even emulation I realized that not much was lost. As someone else mentioned there is alot of note taking for this series which I dont have the time or patience for. I think the Ultima series hit the right notes for the general RPG public more than Wizardy (excluding Ultima 8 :D )

 

I also think it's the context of the times and our respective ages. I know in my youth in the 80s I could happily spend hours on CRPGs and do all the mapping and note taking, etc., as well as wait through slow loads/calculations, occasional crashes, etc. Over the years, and especially now in middle age, my tolerance for that "old school" type of approach is much, much lower, despite my absolute love for the genre. I've tried getting back into several vintage CRPGs in the past decade or so (Ultima IV, Wizard's Crown, Pool of Radiance, etc., including ones I've played and beaten in the past), and it never really went well, even with attempting to add modern conveniences to them (some have nifty overlays these days when played on a modern PC). So, in my opinion, I can't really recommend ANY classic CRPG to anyone not absolutely devoted, including - and especially - the Ultima games, let alone the Wizardry ones. This even applies to many of the CRPGs from as late as the 90s. It's not for those who don't have the time/absolute commitment.

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The Pits in level 3 kicked my butt as a kid.

 

The Pits in level 3 kicked my butt just two nights ago. Had to pull my backup party out of reserve status to scrounge up enough gold to resurrect the "A-Team."

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It's been a long time since I played the original Apple II versions. The only ones I've played within the past decade are the NES and DOS versions. I have a translated SNES rom buried somewhere (it may actually be on my SD2SNES), but I never put any real time into it. I really need to change that, because it looks so awesome.

 

My recollection is that it's generally better to switch classes early, so you can start leveling up and getting the enhanced abilities. However, it depends on how far you are into the game and what you're doing. My stepdad would grind levels for days to level up a character just to change the class when the character got to a high level. I think you keep half your HPs from your previous class, so that was how you got big HP totals.

 

I enjoyed the PS3 Wizardry game, because I'm a savescumming little cheat.

 

I never knew the DOS version had a bug. I think I played it a fair bit, but the NES version was just more accessible.

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It's been a long time since I played the original Apple II versions. The only ones I've played within the past decade are the NES and DOS versions. I have a translated SNES rom buried somewhere (it may actually be on my SD2SNES), but I never put any real time into it. I really need to change that, because it looks so awesome.

 

My recollection is that it's generally better to switch classes early, so you can start leveling up and getting the enhanced abilities. However, it depends on how far you are into the game and what you're doing. My stepdad would grind levels for days to level up a character just to change the class when the character got to a high level. I think you keep half your HPs from your previous class, so that was how you got big HP totals.

 

I enjoyed the PS3 Wizardry game, because I'm a savescumming little cheat.

 

I never knew the DOS version had a bug. I think I played it a fair bit, but the NES version was just more accessible.

 

I've been playing the SNES translation, it's pretty nice. I've gotten more of a handle on class changing, and here's how it works:

 

Your character resets to level 1 in their new class and their stats are reset to the racial minimum (ouch.)

They keep all hit points they've earned to date, and gain 1HP a level until the HP they'd gain by leveling up in their new class would exceed their old maximum.

They keep all spells they knew, but their spell points are reset to one per level per spell known.

There's some kind of other rule that has to do with keeping more spell points if you switch from one spellcasting class to another, but I don't recall it.

They age by some amount.

 

So changing class really only serves two purposes: To access classes you can't access at the start of the game (Lord & Ninja), or to pick up extra spells.

 

Thus far, I've only changed my dwarf fighter to a samurai but I plan on having my mage & priest switch classes so they can start learning spells from the other class if I've not finished the game by the time they've learned all their spells. I also have a fighter I'm grooming to hopefully become a lord; once again it's dependent on stats increasing the way I want when I level up, so we'll see how that works out.

 

In addition: The NES had its own bug. AC for the players didn't work so armor served no purpose. That's fixed in the SNES port.

Edited by deepthaw

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I've recently been playing through the DOS versions. I played the NES version of Wiz 1 when I was a kid, but had zero patience back then and never got anywhere with it.

 

I've finished the DOS versions of Wizardry 1, 2, and 3, and am working on 5 now.

 

The stat thing definitely seems like a bug, since no other version is as brutal. It works like this in the DOS version:

 

For any stat with a score of 18:
6% chance of dropping a point
94% chance of staying the same
For any stat below 18:
37.9% chance of gaining a point
37.1% chance of dropping a point
25% chance of staying the same
By the time I got to the end of Wizardry 1, I had characters with stats that dropped down to ZERO haha.
Class changing is almost not even worth it in Wiz 1-3, especially if you rerolled until you got high bonus points during character creation. I carried a Samurai all the way to Wiz 5, and the entire time I wished I had just rolled a Fighter. You'd think that "fighter with mage spells" would be great, but there's basically no situation where you'd want your Samurai to cast a spell rather than fight. Lord and Ninja are much more worth it, but by the time you reach the stats to switch over, you're probably near the end of the game already.
My overall impressions:
Wiz 1:
GREAT game, even today. It's balanced perfectly; if you explore each floor, you'll typically be just strong enough to move onto the next floor. If you play carefully, you're never really in any danger of a party wipe. In contrast to its brutal reputation, It's pretty fair overall. The dungeon layouts are great... easy to remember with lots of shortcuts.
Wiz 2:
This is more like a victory lap for your party from Wiz 1. Your party will be so overpowered during this game, start to finish, that you are simply never in danger. You can finish this one in a single day. It's not a bad game by any means, but I would have been very disappointed if I purchased this back in the day. Dungeons floors are more "mazey" and thus boring than those in Wiz 1.
Wiz 3:
Nice dungeon design, but poor balance nearly ruins this one. Enemies are overloaded with draining/paralyzing/instant death abilities and you're often forced to navigate through fixed encounter rooms just to go from floor to floor, so the game gets pretty tedious.
Wiz 5:
Still in the middle of this one, but it's pretty much the definitive "classic" Wizardry game. Great dungeon layouts, NPCs you can talk to using keywords (like Ultima), some nice changes to the formula (ranges in combat, new spells, thieves that are useful for more than just disarming chest traps), and balanced much more nicely than Wiz 3.
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The author of Wizardry has talked about the influences behind Wizardry, some of which are hard to find, but the most visible precedent for Wizardry, is the immense influence that the games on PLATO had, in particular, Oubliette, Avatar, and Moria. While I do not have a copy of Oubliette on my system, I do have a copies of Avatar and Moria running. Here it is running on the Amiga.

 

post-9462-0-24341200-1544251209_thumb.png

 

-Thom

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My overall impressions:
Wiz 1:
GREAT game, even today. It's balanced perfectly; if you explore each floor, you'll typically be just strong enough to move onto the next floor. If you play carefully, you're never really in any danger of a party wipe. In contrast to its brutal reputation, It's pretty fair overall. The dungeon layouts are great... easy to remember with lots of shortcuts.

 

I've not yet suffered a full party wipe, but have had several close calls. You really do have to play it careful and know when and how to GTFO when the time is right. But that's part of the charm. It's so much based around the "expedition" as a metagame, something that later games have moved away from (with being able to rest/save at arbitrary times.) As a player of tabletop RPGs, the same has been true there - D&D of the 70's was heavy on mapping on resource management, while the modern iteration has made that aspect much less prevalent.

 

That's neither good nor bad - just different IMHO.

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The author of Wizardry has talked about the influences behind Wizardry, some of which are hard to find, but the most visible precedent for Wizardry, is the immense influence that the games on PLATO had, in particular, Oubliette, Avatar, and Moria. While I do not have a copy of Oubliette on my system, I do have a copies of Avatar and Moria running. Here it is running on the Amiga.

 

attachicon.gifavatar_amiga.PNG

 

-Thom

 

I've seen discussion that accused the authors of not giving enough credit to Oubliette or any credit at all. I don't know enough about it or the backdrop of Wizardry's creation to know how justified that is.

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I've put a bit more time into Wizardry 5, and it's really a great game. To anyone interested in this series for the first time, I would say, play and finish Wizardry 1, and then (unless you are in love with the game), skip straight to Wizardry 5. IMO it is the true sequel to Wiz 1, as it has basically the same system but adds a ton of interesting stuff. It's also a HUGE game and is much fairer than the earlier games—it doesn't save each step/combat, so in the worst case scenario you can just quit and reload from the town.

 

I've also been playing Grimoire, which is available on Steam. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys the newer Wiz games, as it is basically a spiritual sequel to Wizardry VII. Similarly huge, but with much more content in each map.

Edited by newtmonkey

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I just wanted to necro this thread as I finally finished Wizardry 5!

 

I've taken the same party through Wiz 1-3 and 5 (DOS version).  My favorites were 1 & 5 tied for first place.  2 was dull but short, and way too easy.  3 was a slog and poorly balanced.

 

One thing I didn't realize until the very end about Wiz 5 is that you can "quick save" in the dungeon.  Because the game doesn't doesn't auto save every step like in Wiz 1-3, you can save in the dungeon and, if something horrible happens, can shut the game down and reload your save.  You do have to be somewhat quick about it, as the game does save if you get a total party kill.  And you'll need to do this, because the last couple of floors of the game are BRUTAL.

 

I regretted having a Samurai in my party until the very last battle in Wiz 5 lol.  My Samurai being able to cast another magic shield during the final battle was REALLY helpful.

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