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NWN/HotU - Eye of the Beholder Module Review

Discussion in 'Mod Reviews' started by Spellbound, May 24, 2005.

  1. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Eye of the Beholder Module
    Version: v2.3. (Requires NWN 1.65, SoU and HotU installed)
    Review first posted on: May 24, 2005
    Review updated:
    Mod download location: http://nwvault.ign.com/View.php?view=Modules.Detail&id=4028

    Content

    This module begins like most, with your character, “adventurer extraordinaire”, being summoned before a town’s notable dignitaries and heads of state – in this case, none other than Khelben Blackstaff and Piergeiron, Warder of Waterdeep. The quest is standard fare – root out the evil that is threatening Waterdeep. The means, however, prove quite interesting, to say the least.

    After some initial training options, you are given a letter of passage and directed to the beginning depths of Undermountain to start your adventure. As you head out to slay the great evil festering in the depths of the Undermountain, be prepared for a long, long and quite eventful journey. This module is composed of 12 levels and presents over 16 new monsters such as Driders, Elder Zorns, Kenkus, Mantises, and Scorpions to name a few, with a variety of new and different death effects too: golems shaking the screen when they fall, mummies spewing disease that will make you ill if you fail your saving throw, water elementals emitting a female spirit that screams as they die and much, much more. Combine that with a huge variety of puzzles – this module is sure to whet the appetite of most gamers. Each of the 12 main levels has been recreated from earlier Eye of the Beholder maps used in the 1991 version produced by Westwood Studios and 2 new secret levels have been added. Without providing too many spoilers for those who haven’t played the original Eye of the Beholder – you can experience sewers, dungeons, the drow enclave, dwarven mines and strongholds and of course the hidden lair of the beast you seek. You also have the opportunity to choose from 7 new henchmen that were especially designed for this module to go with you:

    The first henchman you will find is Tod Uphill. You can find Tod on the first level; he is a Halfling thief and a decent fighter. He is great at disarming traps and opening locked chests.

    The second henchman is Anya. She can be found on the third level of the sewers. Anya is a human fighter with a mean double bladed sword. Her skill is unmatched when it comes to close combat. If you need some extra muscle in your party, Anya is a great choice.

    The third is Dorhum. He can be found on the fourth level of the Dwarven Camp. He is a Dwarven Fighter who crushes anything that gets in his way with his dual hammers.
    He wants revenge for the king’s demise and is always looking for a fight.

    The fourth is Ileria. She can be found on the seventh level. Ileria is a Half-Elf Cleric who will aid you with her Healing powers. Additionally, she is a good enough fighter to hold on her own

    The fifth is Beohram. He can be found on the ninth level. Beohram is a human fighter who desires to see Xanathar’s reign brought to an end. Beohram is very skilled with a sword and can turn the tide of a battle.

    The sixth is Kirath, you can find him on the eleventh level. Kirath is a powerful mage that has a warped sense of reality. Although his power is unquestionable, his tactical choices border on the chaotic. Still, he is a valuable ally in the quest to defeat Xanathar.

    Dof, a seventh special henchman is also available. He is a canine that will follow you and fight with you. There is nothing really special about this dog except he’s a pretty good fighter. After finding other henchmen you may want to trade him for one of the better fighters who can take advantage of powerful magical equipment.

    You can only take 2 however, so I opted for the rogue, Tod Uphill and the dwarf Dorhum – Uphill was necessary for the numerous traps and Dorhum proved to be an awesome fighter, especially in the lich battles.

    While the different levels proved to be intriguing for the most part (the puzzles were exceptional), most of them were set up in maze fashion, and without a walkthrough of some kind, you are pretty much doomed. I spent many hours going around and around in circles, falling into pits that put you 2 levels down into the Undermountain, providing the option to fight battles too advanced for your current XP level…..or falling into a pit that there was no way out of, unless you had a Potion of Recall. An extensive walkthrough and highly informative readme file are packaged in with the download --- I found them to be absolutely indispensable.

    Perhaps one of the best features of this module is the availability of TREASURE! Treasure and more treasure – gold piles littering the floor, twinkling through the dark of a spider-infested cavern. I have never SEEN so much treasure! Everywhere I went I stuffed my pockets full. Hehe… it was great! And not only gold – all sorts of cool weapons and trinkets can be found, in addition to some essential puzzle and portal keys. Over 200 new magical items were added for this go round of Eye of the Beholder. Discovering all this incredible stuff kept me busy enough, but when combined with all of the different monsters, many of which I had never seen before – I was quite pleased.

    And the final battle! – well, let me just say, that I don’t think many of you will be disappointed – it was as tough as they come.

    Gameplay

    Most of the gameplay went smooth. There were a few glitches, like doors not opening, pieces of dialogue running off the screen on cut scenes, as well as people talking over other people. While some of this could be explained by the resolution I played at, I still think more attention could be made to this. Also some doors in the module were meant to be difficult to open, so I’m not sure if that was what I experienced. There were some interesting plot machinations, such as notes being left from one known as Wentley Keslo, giving you hints as to what to expect as you move forward. Some of those were quite amusing.

    I mentioned earlier that there was more treasure than one could possibly imagine – well, there was also more treasure than 3 grown men could carry, even toting along 8 or so magic holding bags. Unfortunately I spent HOURS in inventory management, shifting goodies around and looking for traders, which were in fairly short supply. As the readme notes, there were 6 traders interspersed on a few of the levels – but not on EVERY level and not always there for the duration of the game – and given the difficulty of the maze navigation, I couldn’t bring myself to try to find my way back to a previous level or two to find a trader. Supposedly, if you can find the right portal key, you should be able to transport back to their location (see readme for details). I never seemed to have the right key and in some cases, the traders left after quest completion or for fear of being discovered by the drow. Regardless, I think to provide that amount of treasure is great – however, let’s have enough traders so we don’t have to backtrack 2 levels to find one.

    Visuals

    The visual displays in this module were quite above par, in my view. There were a variety of tilesets in this module, some of which looked to be standard NWN, while others looked somewhat new. There were also some great spell effects to see. While not unique to Eye of the Beholder, they still were impressive. My personal favorite was Bigsby's Clenched Fist , but there were others that caught my eye as well: Water Elemental Blast and Basilisk Petrification Gaze.

    Bugs

    As can be seen from the downloaded readme – a huge amount of bugs have been fixed. leaving this a fairly clean module to play. I did not discover any game crashing anomalies, thankfully.

    Final Thoughts

    The one overriding perception that I was left with upon completion of this module is that this is, without question, a dungeon crawler’s dream come true! If you are into hours and hours (weeks) of crawling around the mazes of Undermountain, discovering treasure hordes the likes of which most of us haven’t seen in some time and pitting yourself against some of the most unusual monsters created, then this is the module for you. But be warned – this module is as large an any game I’ve seen – it isn’t something that can be played in a few hours – there are over 25 side quests to be completed, in addition to the main plot line. If you have the time and truly love mazes, then this is the quintessential module for you! :thumb:

    [ August 09, 2005, 16:41: Message edited by: Spellbound ]
     
  2. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran

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    Thanks for that Spellbound. Nice review. I'm glad that this module turned out to be good as I was hoping it would be. Not sure I'm excited about all that treasure - lugging treasure around is one of the biggest pains in the Original Campaign.

    By the way - what character levels is this module for and how much does your character level up?
     
  3. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    You start at level one and then go on up a ways from there...I leveled up into the 20's....it's just like a full blown game, in most every respect. And it's the first and only time I've seen a game or mod actually have little piles of gold on the ground, since I played Morrowind. I thought it was very cool to be surrounding by so much glittering yellow. :D

    And yea -- inventory management took up a LOT of time. I carried over EIGHT magic bags and it still wasn't enough -- had my dwarf and rogue loaded down too. But I still love my treasure! ;)
     
  4. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Thanks, Spellbound. Sounds as if I'm going to have to reinstall NWN again. Darn! I knew I should have saved my last character...
     
  5. Gothmog

    Gothmog Man, a curious beast indeed! ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    I'm playing through it now with a bard/pale master/red dragon disciple. I was messing around on the third level, but since i could not find the way to open any locked doors, i just jumped down some hole and ended up in the fourth.

    It truly is a pure dungeon crawl :D

    One of the things i like about it is the massive, yet fairly unrestrictive dungeon. Sure, you have to get keys and push levelers, but there also seem to be quite a few holes in the ground, where you can enter a lower level without completing the previous one. I, for one am very pleased for this option.

    Another thing, at least to me, it isnt nearly as easy as the offician campaign. I started with a bard/pale master/red dragon disciple because it sounded cool, not considering it might be tough. Well, i stopped counting how many times i died as a lvl 1 character. The game just wont give quarter, no matter if you start as a lvl1 wizard with 2 spells and -2 attack bonus, you will just have to struggle to get that 1000xp. It must be because of my high AC that the levels 5-10 seemed fairly easy. Otherwise, the monsters have decent attack bonus (+10 at clvl 7) and dish out even more decent damage. Generaly, it's hardest when you're starting a new level, but the XP reward for beating a higher level baddie is considerable ;)
     
  6. Spellbound

    Spellbound Fleur de Mystique Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Yea, it definitely is a dungeon crawl the whole way -- yet a VERY interesting one. I found some of the best puzzles I've seen in quite some time. Oh....and on those pits in the floor -- you might want to try and double back to cover that part of the level you missed -- there's some very cool loot and there may be a key or stone you're missing. If I recall correctly, levels 3 and 5 were the toughest and most confusing for me, going round and round and round -- I enjoyed the later levels much better.
     
  7. Lee Melanson Gems: 1/31
    Latest gem: Turquoise


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    Has Anyone played the Epic version Of EOB? I downloaded it, love it but had a few probs anyone else have any trouble?
     
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