Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge

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Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge

Wizardry - Bane of the Cosmic Forge - DOS - USA.jpg

MS-DOS - USA - 1st edition.

Developer Sir-Tech
Publisher Sir-Tech, ASCII Corporation
Published 1990-04-16
Platforms Amiga, FM Towns, DOS, Macintosh, PC-9800, SNES
Genres Exploration, Role-playing game
Themes Adventure, Fantasy
Series Wizardry
Distribution Commercial

Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge is a role-playing video game developed and published by Sir-Tech for MS-DOS in 1990 as the sixth game in the Wizardry series. It was later ported to a few other platforms.

In the game's story, a party of adventurers seek the fabled "cosmic forge" a mystical pen so powerful that anything it writes comes true.

Personal

Own?Yes. 3.5" floppy disks for censored version and the manual.
Won?No.

I bought this game at RadioShack because the cover art looked nice and it was on sale, probably because it was the censored version. I was very impressed by the manual, but not so much the graphics or sound. I mapped out the first floor, but got sick of mapping after that. I shared the game with my friend Kevin, and he would call me on the phone for the magic words and we would play our own individual partys. After school, I would frequently go over to his house and we would play together. He got further in the game than I did because he took notes, while I just tried to rely on my memory for everything. Regardless, we only made our way around the first couple floors of the dungeon before getting bored with the game's slow pace. When I saw Wizardy: Crusaders of the Dark Savant, I bought that game, and we both started playing it, leaving this game behind. I tried playing Bane of the Cosmic Forge again in my 40s, and, despite having a lot more patience, and the ability to lookup hints online, I only got a little bit further than I did all those years ago before becoming so bored with the game, I gave up on it. I doubt I will ever again try to play it seriously.

Review

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4 3 5 2 4

Best Version: ?

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The monsters are drawn well and their animation, though choppy, is a great addition.
  • The manual is quite thick and gives a general description for everything you'll need to know in the game.
  • Being able to change classes to more impressive ones later in the game is a nice way to increase the strength of your party over time.
  • Even though there aren't very many interesting graphics, the flavor text for the rooms is well-written.

Bad

  • The interface is usable, but not even remotely friendly.
    • Escape doesn't work to back out of any menu.
    • You can't click on the portraits of your characters to do anything.
    • You can't equip a single item, you must reequip a character's entire kit.
    • If you put in the wrong path for your game location or save state, the game becomes soft locked.
    • Having to move items in and out of swag bags is time consuming and meaningless.
    • Trading items between characters is slow and boring.
  • While certainly a step up from earlier titles in the series, the EGA graphics in 1990 is pretty behind the times, especially for a game that doesn't need quick screen refreshes.
  • The lack of unique dungeon graphics means you have to make your own map of the game if you want to keep track of where you are. This wasn't uncommon for CRPGs, but still tedious.
  • While a couple of doors have hints to which key should be used, most have nothing. This means, you'll spend a lot of time trying every key in your possession on every door until you find the right one. If you do come to a door or gate that you can't open, you need to make a note of it and, each time you find a new key, try it on every locked door. Of course, there are several doors that can never be opened, so they just serve to waste your time.
  • Although the manual is generally helpful, it doesn't go into enough detail, especially on precisely how the spells and skills work. With only a vague description, it's difficult to know which ones should be focused on, and going up levels happens so rarely, that messing up is a major stumbling block.
  • Although I like the idea of using minigames for things like lock picking and disarming traps, the fact that you can save scum just makes them tedious. The difficulty of lock picking and trap disarming seems to be completely random, which doesn't make much in-game sense. Also, saving after you jam a door when a plot-necessary item is behind it can lock you out of the story for a long time until you find the correct key to unlock it.
  • Like many other fantasy RPGs, there is a lot of silliness in some of the special effects, like putting slimes and vines to sleep.
  • You can't just reload whenever you want. So, if you make a mistake, you have to quit your game first, then reload. Unfortunately, the quit without saving button is extremely close to the save button, and the game only ever uses a single save slot, so, make sure you never misclick!
  • Changing classes frequently results in needing entirely new equipment, and, since your party can't hold much, and there isn't a vault, it usually means having to buy a whole new set.

Ugly

  • Combat is very slow and tiresome.
    • The message delay is too long and there is no way to speed it up other than mashing the enter key, which can cause you to miss important messages.
    • Early on, your characters are practically useless in combat failing to hit even sleeping opponents. It takes a lot of battles and deaths before they become competent.
    • You can't set default options, so, even if you always want to use your bard's lute, you have to select Use, then scroll through the inventory, then finally use it.
    • Even if all the enemies are asleep, your characters can still miss. And, even if they're all dead, your characters can still fail at hiding in the shadows.
  • The audio is atrocious. The ambient sound is just random bangs and thuds. The sound effects are barely passable and highly noisy. There isn't any music.
  • Buying and selling is tedious. The game doesn't show you your current equipment, so you can't be sure what to buy. Nor does it give you an indication if an item for sale is better than what you have. I maintained a secondary text document of my party's inventory to keep track, which was a pain in the butt.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Screenshots

Videos

Longplay - MS-DOS.
Longplay - PC-9801.
Longplay - Super Famicom.

Play Online

MS-DOS

Representation

Strong female character?PassYou can have female party members, in fact, there are several women-only items, so it benefits you to have more female characters.
Bechdel test?Unknown
Strong person of color character?PassFor the playable characters, there are black and Asian portraits.
Queer character?FailThere are no queer characters.

Most of the female monsters are fan service for male gamers, several are even topless.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge
Japanese ウィザードリィVI 禁断の魔筆 Wizardry VI ~Kindan no Ma Fude~ Wizardry VI: Forbidden Magic Brush

Links

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