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Trial by Magic

DOS - 1995

Year 1995
Platform DOS
Released in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom
Genre Role-Playing (RPG)
Theme Action RPG, Fantasy
Publisher Merit Studios (Europe) Limited
Developer Silver Lightning Software
Perspectives Isometric, 2D scrolling, Diagonal-down
Dosbox support Broken on 0.63
4.33 / 5 - 9 votes

Description of Trial by Magic

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Trial by Magic is an above-average isometric dungeon RPG that is strongly reminiscent of Event Horizon’s classic The Summoning, except with much more emphasis on difficult combat.

Your objective is simply to descend down a dungeon as deep as possible to defeat the powerful Trialmaster. The game boasts over 20 huge levels, plenty of monsters to kill, neat treasures to loot, secret doors to find, and all the action you’d expect from an old-school dungeon romp.

The similarities between Trial by Magic and The Summoning extends beyond the isometric appearance. As in The Summoning, you need to collect and combine runes to cast spells, watch out for traps, battle monsters in real-time, and deal with realistic elements such as limited arrows for your bow, although you don’t need to worry about item weights in this game. The rune-based spellcasting system is effective, although not as easy to use as The Summoning, and runes are much harder to come by.

The game’s emphasis on combat and exploration over plot means that you will face many tough monsters and insidious traps on every level. Fortunately, you can jump over traps, and use them judiciously to kill monsters (e.g. by triggering them at the right time when monsters are charging towards you). Although runes are not easy to find, your spell points automatically regenerate quite fast, enabling you to cast spells more frequently – which is especially helpful since you gain experience points every time you do so.

I find Trial by Magic to be a challenging dungeon romp, although unfortunately not as engaging as classics like Wizardry or The Summoning due to the complete absence of plot development or NPC interaction. If you’re in the mood for a challenging hack & slash RPG with negligible plot, Trial by Magic packs enough tough monsters and huge levels to occupy you for dozens of hours.

A decent game overall, but still not as polished as classic dungeon romps like Dungeon Master or Eye of Beholder games. Still, considering that this was Silver Lightning's first RPG release, it was a commendable effort that paved the way to superior Ancient Evil and its sequel.

Review By HOTUD

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Comments and reviews

Brommo 2016-12-27 1 point

and it have a sequel too called Ancient Evil in 1998 and i heard in 2001 they made another called Ancient Evil: Curse of the Snake Cult. but never played it

Brommo 2016-12-27 1 point

i finished cd version back in the day and when i started it, i thought its brainless empty click fest, but the lower you go , the more the game lives and i was amazed how great it was. For the real rpg fans is a must :-)

admin 2016-08-11 3 points

@Tommy: uploaded the manual :)

Tommy 2016-08-11 4 points

Played this game a few years ago, it was fun. But, as a form of copy protection, all the spells that you can cast were put in a spell book that was supposed to ship with the game. If I remember correctly, you had to use the correct runes in the correct order to cast a spell, it's impossible to guess. Unfortunately, towards the end of the game a magic spell is required to get through to a lower level of the dungeon, meaning that without the manual you get stuck towards the end of the game. I never did finish this game because the game compilation that I bought this with included the game manual but not the spell book.

Licurg 2012-05-03 -1 point DOS version

First download:) never played this game before, hope it's good.

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DOS Version

Game Extras

Various files to help you run Trial by Magic, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.

MiscInstall Guide English version German version French version Italian version Spanish; Castilian version 5 MB

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