On a whim, I recently took a trip in the wayback machine to finally finish the DOS game that dominated a sizable chunk of my childhood. I’m speaking, of course, of Might & Magic II: Gates to Another World.
Unsurprisingly, the game has aged rather hard (as most IBM compatible games from the late 80s tend to do), but the one thing that stands out as pretty awesome, even by today’s standards, is the game’s map; a beautiful work of art that captures the imagination just as much now as it did then.
A physical copy of The Map of the World of Cron was packaged with every game sold. When folded out in all its magnificent splendor, it was really a sight to behold. As a kid, I would spend a lot of time just staring at it, observing, and parading my adventurers around to each location in search of loot and adventure. I would try so hard to recreate the artwork with my own hand, and while my attempts must have been pretty laughable, my father would humor me and compliment my cartography skills.
Hold on, where are my manners? Here, see the map for yourself:
Pretty spiffy, eh? What’s more is that those fancy little illustrations like the pegasus, the shipwreck, and other various critters – those weren’t just there to please the eye. Those things were actually there in the world, at those coordinates, just waiting to be defeated or discovered. If you carelessly wandered into the elemental plane of air, then that big cloud feller and his entourage of air elementals would be there to set your ass straight.
There are other, less obvious things in the map to pick up on, too. Things like the three swords hidden near A2, C1, and D4. The world map is a perfect blend of structure, aesthetic, and wonder. It’s the kind of thing you don’t see too often in modern games; the kind of thing that reminds us how well the games of yesteryear could ignite the imagination in lieu of sophisticated technology.
Yes, I finally did beat the game this time around. The part that stumped me as a ten year old would still have stumped me as a thirty something were it not for the internet – getting the elemental orb out of Dawn’s Mist Cavern. See, once you have the orb, you can’t get out of the damn cave. The orb forbids exit. The solution is almost comical and very much feels like a strange exploit: You had to give the orb to a hireling and dismiss them from your party. When you returned to the inn you hired them from, they’d be there waiting with the orb in inventory. As far as I could tell, there were no hints indicating how to go about this, so only the most clever would have figured it out back then.
They don’t make end screens like that anymore, do they?Tweet
About the Author
|Mark A. Brooks uses the A. initial in his name so as to seperate himself from the teeming legions of other Mark Brookses (there are at least 65,000 in the state of Michigan alone).
Keep up with him on twitter, because why not. @unoriginalG
Mark A. Brooks has written 589 posts on Delta Attack.