So I never played this game before and probably won’t get to it this month so I was wondering, why does everyone dislike this game? I’d like to get to it eventually but my understanding is that Westwood didn’t develop it and it kinda lost something when it switched developers.
I didn’t play it at the time but I’m on to number 3 now. SSI didn’t use the same engine and used the one from Dungeon Hack instead. I gather this caused all sorts of speed issues due to the digitised sounds it uses when all the monsters move around. The version on GOG uses a 32 bit version of the previously 16 bit engine which apparently fixes this so we aren’t seeing it as it was. I think other issues have been fixed also – it wasn’t a case of applying a single fan patch prior to this having looked into it before going for the GOG version instead.
I can’t speak for playing it back then but playing the GOG version now, it’s a decent enough game from my experiences. Some aspects are a step back. It’s much smaller, the story is less well told and the music isn’t a patch of Frank Klepacki’s EOTB2 score. The digital samples are used far too much and aren’t always appropriate – e.g. opening a door in some of the levels makes an electric guitar sound for no clear reason. The levels can be a bit uninspired but it does have the virtue of being a whole lot easier and I’m enjoying it well enough. Westwood made Lands Of Lore instead which came out around the same time and is leagues ahead. This comparison, the buggy release and lack of major improvement are probably why EOTB3 gets panned but none of these are big issues playing it now so I reckon it’s worth playing.
It is the echo chamber effect. Everyone says it’s bad, so it must be bad. When in fact, it’s a rather decent game. It was slightly panned at the time it came out, because it offered almost no innovation. Though in retrospect, 30 years later, what difference does that make?
Honestly, I think the main issue with this game is that its starting level, the forest maze, is rather awful. If you manage to get through that, it’s rather worth playing and certainly on par with the first two.