Menzoberranzan, PC

An RPG with a funny name, based on the AD&D Forgotten Realms campaign setting, Menzoberranzan is a 1994, first-person, party-based adventure game developed by DreamForge Intertainment for Strategic Simulations Inc.

You can have up to four characters in your party, but start with two, which you create at the beginning (via some fairly dodgy pre-rendered graphical screens). More characters can be recruited as you go along, including some unique monster race characters, which is somewhat refreshing.

Starting in a village you realise that you must first put out a fire in a nearby building to continue the introduction to the story, which then leads into open fields populated by monsters. Combat is by frantically clicking the mouse cursor on opponents and hoping they die before you do. By fighting off enemies and gradually exploring you will eventually find better weapons, armour, and magic spells.

The way you memorise and learn magic is identical to all the other AD&D adventures published by SSI at the time – you Memorize wizard (offensive) spells and Pray for priest (healing and defensive) spells.

Moving around and manipulating objects is easy enough and playing Menzoberranzan is reasonable fun. It doesn’t take long to reach the tougher monsters and to lose your first life, but – like any good RPG – gaining a foothold is possible with careful play. There’s a good automap, which helps. Ultimately your quest is to find the underground city of Menzoberranzan itself. The place where the Drow live.

Graphically, Menzoberranzan does look a bit dated in places – especially with regard to the 3D sections (the 2D graphics are beautifully drawn), but then so do many of the classic SSI RPGs from the ’90s, but most are still good to play today. I remember reviewing this for PC Player magazine when it first came out through US Gold in 1994. And I recently bought it again on GOG.com. It’s still an interesting and playable game. Not a classic by any means, but decent enough on its own terms.

More: Menzoberranzan on Wikipedia
GOG.com: Menzoberranzan on GOG.com

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