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Wizardry II: Legacy of Llylgamyn (NES) artwork

Wizardry II: Legacy of Llylgamyn (NES) review

"CRPG ports are havens. Some are arguably better than their computer counterparts, gaining music, bug fixes, and new features. Wizardry 1 and 2 are two ports I'd immediately point to as games that improved on the NES. I do not think this is a point lost on active NES players as I often see The Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord cited as an excellent alternative to the Dragon Warrior style RPGs that are so prolific on the NES. "

CRPG ports are havens. Some are arguably better than their computer counterparts, gaining music, bug fixes, and new features. Wizardry 1 and 2 are two ports I'd immediately point to as games that improved on the NES. I do not think this is a point lost on active NES players as I often see The Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord cited as an excellent alternative to the Dragon Warrior style RPGs that are so prolific on the NES.

Wizardry 31 is a very different beast than its predecessors. While the first two titles challenged your skill with graph paper, 's maps have have far fewer tricks. Each floor is a claustrophobic maze of tightly packed rooms and doors, with the occasional one-way door just to keep you on your feet. Frequent doors means frequent encounters though, since battles are exponentially more frequent when passing through one.

More encounters changes the focus of the game from mapping to fighting. You'll often know where you are in the maze with relative certainty, but will need to spend more time grinding through numerous and arguably more difficult battles every few steps. Of course, don't fall into a false sense of security--just because there are fewer traps doesn't mean you can get along without making a map.

The most significant change though is still in the dungeon itself. Though there are six floors in total, floors 2 through 5 are restricted to characters of specific alignments. To finish the game, you will need to do one of two things: build and manage two completely different parties (one evil and one good) or build one party and change alignment halfway through the game by fighting or leaving friendly encounters. The former--which is the route I took--is time consuming but more strategic as you balance the deficiencies in each party, share neutral characters, and re-use equipment. Changing alignment, on the other hand, is tedious, can take hours, and limits your class selection.

No matter how you deal with the new alignment restrictions, you'll need to visit all floors to get the two orbs needed to complete the game. A shortcut late-game allows you to jump from the entrance to floors 4 and 5, making long treks relatively uncommon. Most of your time will be spent hunting down EXP to last long enough to get through each floor.

The shift from mapping to combat really changes the player's experience. Wizardry's combat system is not nuanced. Combat was always part of the atmosphere, a force of doom that constantly threatened to overpower you while you were lost in the labyrinth. The player's success didn't hinge on the party's levels but on the ability to balance risks and explore effectively. In Wizardry 3, the omnipresence of combat and secondary status of exploration is labourous.

That said, there's no denying the novelty Wizardry 3. Being forced to used two parties requires new ways of thinking as you develop characters. It is a shame that the two-party dynamic was not taken a step further, for example, through puzzles that must be solved by being in two locations at once.

Despite being fully translated (you can change all the game's text to English from the options menu), Wizardry: Legacy of Llylgamyn was never released outside Japan. You'll therefore need a converter or Famicom to play it. Being in English, commanding a relatively sensible price on eBay, and having familiar gameplay makes this a reasonable entry point into the world of Famicom imports.

Regardless of its differences, Wizardry 3 is sill Wizardry through and through. If you know that you're into that sort of thing and you didn't know that this game existed (and is actually in English), you're welcome.

1 Despite being the third PC in the Wizardry series, Legacy of Llylgamyn was actually the second title released for NES. You may find it listed as Wizardry 2 on some websites (including HG), though the box clearly reads "Third Scnario." I've used this numbering throughout, to avoid confusion with Wizardry 2: Knight of Diamonds.


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Community review by dagoss (July 04, 2012)

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JoeTheDestroyer posted July 08, 2012:

Good review, Dagoss. I'm actually a little more interested in checking out this franchise now.

One thing:

Each floor is a closterphobic maze of tightly packed rooms and doors...

I think you mean "claustrophobic."
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dagoss posted July 08, 2012:

Haha, Thanks. I couldn't figure it out and aspell wasn't picking it up.

If you're interested... the stories really don't arch and are not terribly important (except for 6-8, with 8 being a direct sequel). I'd start with 5 on the SNES or 8 on the PC.

Wizardry 1-3 and 5 are the same style of gameplay. 5 is arguably the best of this style and the SNES port is very good.

Wizardry 4 has you playing as the villain from Wizardry 1. It's hard as fuck and the combat system is different. I think this got a Super Famicom port.

Wizardry 6-8 form a trilogy of sorts based around the villain the Dark Savant. These were not ported to consoles. Wizardry 8 is awesome--like bacon-flavoured beer awesome. The combat is strategic and insanely satisfying.
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overdrive posted July 09, 2012:

I own Wizardry Gold, which was the upgraded release of 7. If by "upgraded" you mean, "will crash frequently", that is.

One of those games that I had fun with for a while, but then realized things were getting to the sort of brutal "no fun to be had here" difficulty I really get annoyed by. Where you have normal encounters mixed with absolutely brutal ones all over the place and it can be a battle of attrition just to do anything.
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dagoss posted July 09, 2012:

Wizardry 7 is really fucking hard. I still haven't beat it.

(The Lizardman in Wizardry 7 looks so much like Kermit the Frog that I've never been able to take it seriously.)
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aschultz posted July 09, 2012:

This reminded me of how I enjoyed Llylgamyn on the Apple. The evil/good interplay is very clever & sadly I stumbled at the final hurdle because of some tricky renaming.

Wizardry 1-2 (Kt of Diamonds) are, frankly, awful on the Apple. SirTech had a monopoly, and nobody knew that impossible and imbalanced didn't mean thought provoking. I got through 2 quickly because I had to cheat my party up in scenario 1. Everyone I knew seemed to know the trick of putting a different disk in the drive before visiting the stables.

Basically the most useful strategy in the game was NOT to hit return after your party was killed. Then you had to use disk utilities to restore a lost party from the dungeon.

I remember being utterly baffled how anyone could like Wizardry if it were anything close to the Apple, but then I saw how it eased up a bit. I saw the same for Might and Magic, which got a lot easier in the port, too.
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zippdementia posted July 10, 2012:

Lizardman = Kermit the frog = hilarious description from dagoss
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overdrive posted July 12, 2012:

I just started a Super Famicom game called Dream Maze (at least that's the translated name...what it actually is called...I don't know). It's kind of like a cute Wizardry, so that's kind of interesting.

You go through colorful first-person mazes (first one is called Cake Tower...the walls look like cake) and fight stuffed animals. Some of them drop suits and you wear the suits to get powers and stuff. Apparently by getting new costumes, that replaces gaining levels. Kind of easy because candy is not only the game's money, but also can be used to heal your character 10 points for each one, so (at least early on) would be pretty hard to get killed unless you really tried to.
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dagoss posted July 12, 2012:

OD: Are you talking about a game called Yume Meikyuu: Kigurumi Daibouken (the images sound like what you described? I'd never heard of it until now, but it kind of sounds like fun...
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overdrive posted July 16, 2012:

That's the one! It's called Dream Maze on the site, but what you posted is its actual Japanese name.

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