Westwood Studios‘ Eye of the Beholder is a bold attempt to replicate the thrills of Dungeon Master, with real time, first-person exploration and combat.
And it is a very good game overall. EoB (as it is affectionately known) is quite tough from early on in the game – from level four onwards, when the spiders become opponents, and getting poisoned by them becomes a real problem. Until you find some antivenom potions, or a spell that cures poison, being poisoned by spider bites can be a real game-ender. Thankfully, saving the game regularly, and re-loading if you get poisoned, is the best way around this, although there is only one saved game slot so you have to be careful not to save when poisoned. Getting to level five is a real challenge because of this.
Eye of the Beholder is worth persevering with, though, because it is a beautifully put-together game, with nice graphics and intuitive controls. In my opinion it is not quite at the same level of greatness as the peerless Dungeon Master, but it is certainly better than many DM clones out there, so is definitely worth experiencing past the first few levels.
Eye of the Beholder was initially published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. in 1991 and is still buyable today, thanks to websites such as GOG.com.
Note: one great thing about the Eye of the Beholder series is that you can create a party of characters in this first game and use the same party of four throughout games two and three. I believe that you have to complete each game to do that, though. Upon completion the game will create a new file, called “FINAL”, which you can use to import your characters into the next game. A neat feature. Anyone who has taken the same party through all three games deserves a medal!