Might and Magic VIII: Day of the Destroyer is a computer role-playing game developed for Microsoft Windows by New World Computing and released in 2000 by the 3DO Company. It is the eighth game in the Might and Magic series. The game received poor reviews, with many critics citing the increasingly dated game engine, which had been left fundamentally unaltered since Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven in 1998. The character development system, spells, sound effects, many of the sprites, and even some gameplay tasks - including an Arcomage quest - were recycled from earlier games.
Unlike the previous two games in the series, however, Might and Magic VIII introduced a new party management system that allowed all but one of the five possible player characters to be dismissed at any time during gameplay. The character class system used in the previous two games has similarly been overhauled, with only the cleric and knight classes remaining. In place of the traditional class system, Might and Magic VIII features non-human player characters, including minotaurs, dragons, vampires, dark elves, and trolls, each of whom possesses traits unique to their particular race.
This game has a GameSpot score of 6.0.
Over a thousand years ago, the interstellar war between the Ancients and the Kreegan drove both races off of one of the Ancients' many colony worlds. During the millennium since, the natives of that world built their own society and culture from the ruin, the stories of the Ancients and the Kreegan having long since passed into legend. A few years ago, as depicted in Might and Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven, the Kreegan invaded the world. The heroes of MM6 destroyed the Kreegan Queen and the last of the Kreegan were wiped out in Might and Magic VII: For Blood and Honor. The Ancients, however, anticipating disaster should the Kreegan manage to gain a foothold on the world, had already enacted their contingency plan: rather than let the world fall into the hands of their ancient enemies, they would see it destroyed outright.
A servant of the Ancients, the planeswalker Escaton, arrives in the village of Ravenshore on the continent of Jadame. Approaching the center of town, he unleashes an elemental storm across the three continents of the planet. There is widespread destruction and the boundaries to the four Elemental Planes are breached. Now monsters from beyond the boundaries are threatening to invade, fulfilling Escaton's plan, and the player must assemble a party of heroes to prevent this.
The four elemental gateways appear in the four corners of Jadame: the Gateway to the Plane of Earth on one of the Dagger Wound Islands (southeast), the Gateway to the Plane of Water in Ravage Roaming (southwest), the Gateway to the Plane of Air in Murmurwoods (northwest), and the Gateway to the Plane of Fire in the Ironsand Desert (northeast). In each case they cause an environmental disaster: a volcano in the Dagger Wound Island chain erupts and the tremors destroy the bridges that link the islands, the minotaur undercity in Ravage Roaming is flooded, the trees in a large area of Murmurwoods are uprooted by the winds, and much of the troll settlement in Ironsand is destroyed by an explosion of fire. Escaton raised an enormous crystal in the centre of the town of Ravenshore, which acts as the portal to the Plane Between Planes, where the Destroyer now resides.
The first character created by the player remains with the party for the entire game and is referred to as the 'Acknowledged Champion of Jadamé'. This character will lead the party through the adventures in the game. The following is an outline of the events which will unfold in the course of the game:
- The initial character begins on the Dagger Wound Islands at level 1, as a caravan guard employed by the Merchant Guild of Alvar. The pirates of Regna have used the cataclysm and resulting chaos to raid the Dagger Wound Islands. The pirates pose a threat to the player but are being continuously held at bay by the lizardman (the inhabitants of the Dagger Wound Islands) soldiers.
- The characters must find a way off the Dagger Wound Islands and when they do, their next stop is Ravenshore, the capital of Jadamé, where their duty is to inform the Merchant Guild branch in Ravenshore of the events. More evidence is required, so the party is commissioned to 'persuade' the smuggling ring in Ravenshore to send boats to gather more information. The smugglers are required as the Regnan pirates and their navy pose an increasing threat to other ships.
- The characters are next sent to the Merchant Guild of Alvar, in Alvar City. Here, Bastian Loudrin, the High Guildmaster, recruits the party into his service and requests that more evidence be brought to him of the Lake of Fire which allegedly formed in the Ironsand Desert. He asks that a witness be brought to Alvar.
- In the Ironsand Desert the characters locate a witness in the troll-inhabited town of Rust. This witness will not accompany the party to Alvar until his deceased brother's ashes are placed in the family tomb, which is also now infested with hostile creatures.
- When the characters return to Alvar with the witness, a prophecy is explained - that the destruction of the world is imminent unless the land stands united. This said, the party must attempt to make alliances with the various 'factions' of Jadamé, many of which are at war with one another.
- The minotaur city of Balthazar Lair has become flooded and in order to gain an alliance with the minotaurs, the characters must succeed in unflooding the lair. This must be done whilst fending off the hostile tritons, water dwellers armed with tridents.
- A choice must be made between allying with the dragons of Garrotte Gorge or with the Dragon Hunters; the latter are at war with the dragons. This must be done by retrieving an egg from the ogres in Ravage Roaming that contains Deftclaw Redreaver, the unborn heir to the King of the Dragons. Returning it to the Dragons ensures their cooperation while returning it to the Dragon Hunters will gain their trust.
- Finally, a choice must be made between the Necromancers of Shadowspire or the Temple of the Sun in the Murmurwoods. To ally with the Necromancers, the characters must take with them the double-agent Cleric, Dyson Leland, who poses as a Necromancer, and steal the Nightshade Brazier, hidden in the Temple of the Sun, returning it to the Necromancer's Guild. To ally with the Temple of the Sun, the player, with Dyson Leland, must destroy the Skeleton Transformer in the bowels of the Necromancer's Guild.
- When this is accomplished, it is learned that the king and queen of Enroth are on their way to help, but are hindered by the Regnan fleet. The characters must find a way to sink the fleet.
- When the fleet is sunk, king Roland Ironfist and his wife, Catherine, arrive at Ravenshore with their sage, Xanthor. Xanthor says that he is able to fashion a key to gain access to Escaton's crystal and hence the Plane Between Planes, but that in order to do this, he must use Heartstones of the four elemental planes.
- The characters are sent to the elemental planes and battles his way through hordes of raging creatures to take the heartstones. Upon the completion of this quest, Xanthor is able to fashion a 'Conflux key' to Escaton's crystal.
- In Escaton's crystal the party battles creatures constructed from crystal, which are difficult to destroy. At the end of the crystal, the player must complete a puzzle to operate the portal to the Plane Between Planes.
- The Plane Between Planes is a place of utter chaos, which has the effect of driving weaker creatures mad. The characters battle creatures which are capable of causing insanity in the party members along with other hostile creatures.
- The characters must seek out Escaton in his palace. When there, they learn that Escaton has imprisoned the Lords of the Elemental Planes. The player must answer three riddles in order to receive the keys to the prisons.
- When the lords of the planes have been freed, the characters return to Ravenshore to witness the destruction of Escaton's crystal and the restoration of peace to Jadamé.
In typical Might and Magic fashion, the game is fairly non-linear, so quests can be completed at the player's own leisure. In addition, side quests can warrant rewards if completed, but are not vital to the storyline. Also, promotion quests can increase the capabilities of particular classes of character.
Notes and references