Taking A Look At Might And Magic One

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A true classic I’ve never actually played until now. Might And Magic One Book One was what started a series of games that created one of my all-time favorites of games. It lacks a lot of the modern-day comforts that make games quite easy today and replaced it with that love-hate relationship I used to have with old-school games.

This might shock a lot of the younger gamers out there but back in my day, you used to have to read. What you might ask? Read? Well, if you wanted to even understand the most basic of things like starting in a game yes you had to read.

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Making characters was not that bad. While I’m sure it would have been smarter to read and see what kind of min/max I could be doing creation-wise. I was just looking to get into the game as quickly as possible.

I could somewhat guess what different classes would do along with some other things. The only thing I was not quite certain about was what the alignment I picked role would play in my overall gameplay. I ended up picking good this time around perhaps in the future I’ll try some other option.

Then I repeated the process another five times. I ended up going to take a couple of the same classes since I was not quite sure what I wanted. This game allows you to have quite a large group. This was before I realized the game already had a bunch of “starter” characters made. Some of them came with better-starting items than anything I created so I just ended up going with theirs for the slight improvements. Expect I kept the Enjar character around.

I naturally forgot that old rule of playing a game and needing to read the manual. I jumped right in and realized after some frustration. I had no idea how to start. Every time I entered the key for the first town it showed I had zero characters even after I had far more than I needed.

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So I took a while and opened up the manual that came with this game. That is when I realized now only how I could select a group but I had to press 1 and start them all off in Sorpigal.

This is one of those strange games where you can have up to six active characters in the game at once. You might think I worded that a bit funny. As you are not stuck with the ordinal group you made granted it might be a smart way to go. Instead throughout the game you can park different characters in different towns and use them in a group when you see fit if you can get to them.

Along with that, you can’t just open up the menu and manually save the game every 31 and a half seconds. Those who do that sort of thing know who you are. The only way to save in Might And Magic One is by reaching an inn to save.

That also means if you find some insanely amazing item and get killed trying to make it back to town and then the inn. Well, you are out of luck that item is gone as you reloaded from the last save for each of those characters. I’ve already lost a couple of items myself so far.

Around this part of the game, I started to realize while it looked quite different from my favorite Might and Magic there seemed to be a lot of similarities as well such as starting in Sorpigal, certain items, and even some of the classes.

Back in the day, I used to visit a friend of the family and that person was massively into Might and Magic. Sometimes I’d get to jump into whatever random game they were working on in the series. Most times playing once for a short while was my only experience.

There was however an expectation and that was with Might and Magic VI. I ended up loving it so much I was sent home with the CD of the game itself. The person had already beaten it and was enjoying another game in the series.

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Being able to go back now and play the first one is quite a treat. While I had no clue what I was expecting it was not such a basic game as this was. I’m rather glad things ended up evolving along the way somewhat.

One thing that quickly caught my attention was how much I enjoyed the turn-based version they were using in this one. In some of the other versions of this game, they made the grid and your time spent moving around in the world far more of a consequence. Here I got to walk around all I wanted and if attempted to go to another area there was no food cost for doing so that I’m aware of.

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I then started to wander around the game lost not having any clue where I was. There is no in-game map. Back in the day in a game like this if you wanted a map you had to get gridded paper and make your own. One of your characters even has a location spell so you know the coordinates of where you are on the map.

Even when I did not encounter a creature I’d have to rest and let the party heal up. There were many doors I attempted to break down to get past that did not go so well. Along with some other traps I ran into along the way that I’d for sure be trying to make mental notes about in the future to avoid if possible till I was ready for them.

However, even knowing you had such a spell to cast was something you either had to discover or read further documentation on the game. You did not go out and buy a spell and equip it into a slot. There was no in-game spell book to pull up to see what your character to cast.

You had to either read about it or trial and error and try and discover what spells your character has. The spell system is a little more involved than you would. You start by selecting which spell level of a spell you want to cast by typing in a number. You then type in another number of the spells for that spell level.

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It turns out that magic characters in this game gain a new spell level every other level. This at first made things even more confusing till I got the hang of it. When my characters reached level two for instance I was not permitted to cast level two spells. I’d later discover my casters needed to be level three to unlock level two spells!

Over time I ended up learning different key combinations to cast a single spell for each of my casters. For my cleric for instance to cast damage undead, I have to press C, 1, 8, and enter. Magic characters back in the day always felt like they were quite disadvantaged over melee and they sure felt like that so far in this game as well.

Thankfully melee and ranged non-magic attacks are a lot easier. You can just press A or S and then if applicable which target you want to hit. You could also change things up and pick a different target.

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Combat overall had a lot more than I was expecting. You don’t know what you will encounter until it randomly pops up as you move along the game. You are then given unless you are quite unluckily options to attack, bribe, or even attempt a retreat.

In every fight you enter into you or the monsters could have a handicap depending on who scared who and many other factors. This has an impact on attack order by characters or monster speed. You are hoping you are getting the jump on a pack of creatures or they are rather weak the game just lets you quickly take them out. That tends to not always be the case.

Final Thoughts


Like a lot of games like this death is all but certain. Even more so when you are out learning about the game. The cost of death could be as simple as a character getting killed and it costs a lot to revive at a temple. Your entire group could also get whipped and you have to start from the last save you had at the inn.

So far this has been quite an interesting game to look into. It’s a decently long one as well. This naturally you kind of expect from these older games. I’ll be showcasing a little more of this game as I play around with it further.


Screenshots were taken and content was written by @Enjar about Might And Magic 1.