[2019 with DOS games] Enchanter / Elvira: Mistress of the Dark / Eye of the Beholder


Hello guys,

This is the fifth entry of the [2019 with DOS games] column, a mini-compendium of the mandatory MS-DOS games ever released. For a big part of my life I’ve been a PC games player and I had tons of old games to play with back in the 90s. This is my homage to them.

The rules are simple. MS-DOS has been created in 1981 and was still available in computer until the early Noughties. However the release of Windows 95 acted as a break and everything before immediately becaome. So I can fairly tell that the DOS era goes from 1981 until 1985. [2019 with DOS games] will feature every two weeks a selection of three games, one for every five-year period (1981-1985, 1986-1990 and 1991-1995) in alphabetic order that I consider either important, ground-breaking or simply fun and easy to play. I’ll try to consider only DOS-exclusive games or in case games spread on different platforms that have the PC version as a flagship. No claim of completeness, I’m not a human encyclopedia (unfortunately…). Let’s go with letter E.

Enchanter (1983)

  • Developer: Infocom
  • Publisher: Infocom
  • Genre: Interactive Fiction

Video gaming in the 80s often means interactive fiction and interactive fiction often means Infocom: Enchanter is therefore the perfect example of the decade in gaming. Whn it came out ot was the state of the art of the genre and had an advanced parser capable to understand up to 700 words.

The games went to sell about 75000 copies, not bad figures for a game in 1983 and was praised by the critic that, of course, knew that Infocom couldn’t fail in “its” genre. Enchanter had two sequels, Sorcerer (1984) and Spellbreaker (1985) that were merged in Enchanter Trilogy in 1986.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1990)

  • Developer: Horrorsoft
  • Publisher: Accolade
  • Genre: RPG, Graphic Adventure

This is a game I’ve already discussed in the [Forbidden Games] column and you can find my rambling here. It was also one of the games I had in my Holy Bible of games, my Graal when I was a kid, the Dutch Flyer compilation. Unfortunately I’ve never seen Elvira’s show nor her movies but I really liked the game when I was a kid because it had all of the things that a boy could ask for: adventure, a bit of thrills, a bit of busty women, a fantasy setting, spells and magic.

This unlucky game didn’t excelled in any of these aspects so it was a bit overlooked by the critic, but this is my column, my post and I decide what is good and what is bad 🙂 And Elvira was great for me. The visuals are pretty much like some old RPGs like Shadowgate or Ultima and also geatures some digitized images of Cassandra Peterson and some (odd) synthetized speech. I’ve spent many hours on this game even thoug sometimes I was a bit scared from it.

Eye of the Beholder (1991)

  • Developer: Westwood Studios
  • Publisher: Strategic Simulations
  • Genre: RPG

Eye of the Beholder is by far one of the RPG I love the most from the early 90s. The game is based on the 2nd edition od AD&D and is set in the Forgotten Realms universe and is one of the classics of SSI. It received a critical acclaim and a lot of 5 star reviews and it sold roughly 150k copies worldwide.

The game had two sequels, Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon (1991) and  Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor (1993) and still have a strong following even these days and the proof is that a few days ago has been cofirmed the documentary Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons & Dragons that will be available in streaming in May.

As always here are some honorable mentions:

  • Elite (1987)
  • Eye of Horus (1989)
  • Emmanuelle: A Game of Eroticism (1989)
  • Earthrise (1990)
  • Eternam (1992)
  • Elysium (1992)
  • Epic Pinball (1993)
  • Eric the Unready (1993)
  • Ecstatica (1994)
  • The Elder Scrolls: Arena (1994)
  • Exploration (1994)
  • EF2000 (1995)
  • Extreme Pinball (1995)

I have to say that letter E has been way easier than others. There are not so many games beginning with W but even this time in the honorable mentions there are some games I’ve intensively played and that I still come back to from time to time. One of these is surely Extreme Pinball.

Extreme Pinball

Now that I can stream what’s on my PC on my TV via Chromecast I love to play it in my living room with the sound turned at 100%, especially when I play the Rock Fantasy table. This is one of the perfect examples of how a game you used to play only because you hadn’t anything else looks wonderful even if it received negative reviews. The critics have been rough with the game but I find it amazing. Actually a lot of the DOS games I played back them received negative reviews but I loved (and still love) to play then anyway.

EF 2000

Another game I almost played a lot is EF2000. Almost because back in the 90s my PC had not enough horse power to support it and most of times the gme didn’t work properly. This was one of the games in my own personal trilogy of flight simulators I played in the 90s along with B-17 and Falcon 3.0. Actually it was a tetralogy, because even the old Flight Simulator 5.0 was a huge favourite…

Ecstatica

There’s also a game that back in the 90s scared the shit out of me. Don’t aks me why but I was terrified by playing Ecstatica. It’s a game not so popular and you can consider it like an Alone in the Dark set in the northern Europe in the X century. Seriously is less frightening than crossing the road but I was petrified if I had to play it. In fact I’ve never get past the first screen.

Eternam

The last game is Eternam, a mediocre graphic adventure that, as frequently happens with “my” games, was included in the Dutch Flyer, so I’ve played it a lot of times when I was a kid. There were 120 games in that compilation and if I could make a list of the games I’ve played the most probably the first 120 would belong to the “Dutch” list.

Previous entries in this column:

  1. [2019 with DOS games] The Ancient Art of War / Altered Destiny / Alone in the Dark
  2. [2019 with DOS games] The Bard’s Tale / Barbarian / Betrayal at Krondor
  3. [2019 with DOS games] Castle Wolfenstein / Cadaver / The Chaos Engine
  4. [2019 with DOS games] Dragonworld / Dangerous Dave / Doom

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