Wizardry Gaiden IV
Source: cover art
Wizardry Gaiden IV: Throb of the Demon's Heart is a Wizardry title originally released for the Super Famicom in 1996. Unlike most Wizardry titles of that vintage, it was developed by the Japanese company Access and published by ASCII. Its three predecessors for the Game Boy have a similar pedigree, and in fact characters can be imported between the four Gaiden titles, as well as the later Wizardry Dimguil for the PlayStation.
In terms of core gameplay, Gaiden IV is extremely faithful to the classic Wizardry series (1-5), featuring turn-based combat involving up to six player-creating party members against larger and larger groups of monsters as they explore a grid-based dungeon. Where the game differs is in many of its greater-scope details:
- The setting, at least initially, is the Japan-inspired land of Hiren.
- As a Super Famicom title, it has colour graphics and visible dungeon walls, and it makes great use of them with detailed, well-made sprites.
- There are three dungeons rather than one, each with its own appearance, layout, NPCs, monsters, and storyline. Each dungeon is built somewhat like a Dungeons & Dragons module.
- Following that, the game has an extensive postgame featuring three more dungeons in sequence, each very different from the last.
- There are additional character classes, such as the Ranger, Valkyrie, Alchemist, and Psionic, as well as two additional spell types for a total of four.
- And the music is by Ikuro Fujiwara, primarily a composer for movies before the Gaiden series, so it has a very interesting, cinematic quality.