Longtime readers may recall that I was quite impressed with Might and Magic Book One, a game originally released in 1986, when I played it for the first time a few years ago. Impressed enough, in fact, that I honored it with the very first History Lessons post on this blog. Well, it turns out I’m not the only one who likes that particular brand of old-school role-playing. Swords and Sorcery — Underworld Gold is an homage to the first two Might and Magic games, created (as they were) by a single person.
Now, the word “homage” does not fully capture just how similar Underworld is to those early games. The six-character party, the first-person turn-based movement, the 16×16 grid maps, the combat system, and even many specific spells are pretty much copied from the first Might and Magic games. In fact, the original version of Underworld had almost no graphics, just like Might and Magic Book One. Underworld creator Charles Clerc later made a slew of design changes and bug fixes, and hired an artist to redo all the graphics, resulting in the newer, shinier Gold edition.
Actually, let’s talk about those graphics first.