Eye of the Beholder

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Eye of the Beholder is a series of first-person role-playing video games created by Westwood Studios, occuring in Forgotten Realms. The game is both a pun on the term "Eye of the Beholder" and is based on the Dungeons & Dragons monster, a Beholder which is also a pun of the term. There were three games in the series, although Westwood stopped developing them after the second game, and a Game Boy Advance version was released which used the goldbox engine for combat and many other differences.

While there was never a fourth game, the series had a spiritual sequel, Dungeon Hack (DOS). This game not only used the same engine as Eye of the Beholder III, but also included most of the enemies and sounds from that game. Most of the bugs present in the third game have been remedied for Dungeon Hack.


The first game in the series was composed by Westwood's only sound composer, Paul S. Mudra. When the second game was released, Frank Klepacki had just joined the company, and was given the chance to score the game's soundtrack, while Paul took care of sound effects with Dwight Okahara. While Eye of the Beholder II was one of Frank's first titles, he later went on to compose some of Westwood's best known franchises such as Lands of Lore, The Legend of Kyrandia, and especially Command & Conquer. The third game, being by a different company, Strategic Simulations Inc., was composed by Mason Fisher of F.E.A.R. and Age of Empires fame, and was the first game he ever worked on.

Each of the three games contains mostly orchestral scores that fit the action of the game. However, music only plays during the cutscenes and does not loop (except for the first two games, that loop the Character Generation music). The second game features some elements of rock, which don't quite fit the medieval theme of the game, but fit into the action they're used in.

The first two games were only compatible with the PC Speaker and AdLib sound cards, whilst the third game supported a multitude of sound devices, as it used the Midpak sound engine, though the first game was also compatible with the Tandy 3 Voice. However, the third game required a Sound Blaster sound card in order to play the digitized sound effects heard in the game, whereas the first two games could play sound effects on both the AdLib and PC Speaker. On the other hand, the second game required an AdLib card to play music, whereas the first game only cut out a track.


Eye of the Beholder

The party is summoned by the Lords of Waterdeep to investigate an evil lurking underneath the city. The party is sent to the sewers. Upon the party's entrance into the threshold of the sewers, the way they entered is barricaded by rocks, so they have no choice but to go deeper into the sewage system. They later come across a dwarven community, as well as encounter the Drow elves. The party must defeat the titular Beholder, Xanathar.

Most versions of the game feature a minimal score of songs by Westwood's in-house audio creator at the time, Paul Mudra. The SNES version used these tunes, as well as in-game music from the Capcom sound team. A Lynx version was developed but never released, and featured a soundtrack by Byte Size Sound. The Game Boy Advance version is a completely different game than the others.

Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon

In the second game, the party is staying at a tavern in Waterdeep when a note is slipped to them. The message urges the party to visit the archmage of Waterdeep, Khelben Blackstaff. Upon doing so, Khelben informs the players that there is an evil lurking in the Temple Darkmoon. He sends the party to investigate the evil, and warns his scout Amber never returned. Upon visiting the seemingly innocent temple, it is revealed throughout the game that a 300+ year old dragon in human form (with an uncanny resemblance to Q from Star Trek), Dran Draggore, is not only behind the evil in Temple Darkmoon, but was also responsible for the events of the first game.

The game uses the same game engine as the first game and vastly improves the gameplay and its mechanics. The party has access to more spells, items, and you can even transfer party members and their items from the first game into this game. Eye of the Beholder II was received positively by critics, and is considered by fans of the series to be the best in the trilogy.

This time, Paul Mudra stepped down from music composition to allow their new composer, Frank Klepacki, to get a chance to make the game's soundtrack. Paul and Dwight Okahara worked on the game's sound effects. There are much more songs in this game than the previous installment, but they only play during cutscenes and do not loop. Similar to the SNES version of the first game, the PC-9801 version, also by Capcom, adds the polish of in-game music whilst using the original DOS soundtrack.

Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor

Eye of the Beholder III takes place after the events of the previous game. The Heroes of Waterdeep are summoned by a mysterious robed figure to travel to Myth Drannor and retrieve the Codex of the Planes from an evil Lich. Upon retrieving the artifact, the Heroes discover the robed figure is actually a being known as the Dark God and must go through the Temple of Lathander to stop him. This allows the city to start its recovery. Along the way, the Heroes make their way through a burial glen and forest just outside Myth Drannor, a warriors tomb dedicated to the fallen warriors of Myth Drannor, the city of Myth Drannor itself, the Mages Guild, and finally, the Temple of Lathander.

Unlike the first two games, Westwood did not develop this game, as they were bought out by Virgin Games and developed a similar game instead, Lands of Lore. Strategic Simulations developed the game in-house, but it received negative reviews by critics. Mainly, this was due to the new game engine called AESOP. The game locks up at random times, you can no longer rest if monsters are near, and the sound effect design is annoying, as a sound plays every time a monster moves. However, all of the game's assets were used in another AD&D game, Dungeon Hack, although the game has nothing to do with the Eye of the Beholder series.

The game's soundtrack appears to be the first video game soundtrack by Mason Fisher, later known for his contributions to the F.E.A.R. franchise. The game also uses the Midpak sound engine that was used in many games. This, however, means that none of the sound effects are FM-based and are all digitized. Monsters' sounds repeat every time they take a step, so it can get annoying. Similar to the previous installment, most of the music only plays during cutscenes and doesn't loop. However, because the game uses the Midpak engine, it also allows for use of higher fidelity soundcards including General MIDI and the LAPC-I/MT-32.

The game was also released in Japan for the PC-9801 and FM-Towns home computers.

Notable Audio Personnel

Eye of the Beholder
Eye of the Beholder Platform - AMI.png • Platform - DOS.png • Platform - PC98.png • Platform - SCD.png • Platform - SNES.png
Eye of the Beholder II: The Legend of Darkmoon Platform - AMI.png • Platform - DOS.png • Platform - FMT.png • Platform - PC98.png
Eye of the Beholder III: Assault on Myth Drannor Platform - DOS.png • Platform - PC98.png
Eye of the Beholder (2002) Platform - GBA.png
Notable Songs Character Generation
Notable Personnel Paul Mudra • Frank Klepacki • Mason Fisher • Andrew Edlen