C64, Firebird (1987)
Taking the basic design and style of Gauntlet and adding a few twists, Druid II picks up where the original left off.
Released one year after the original, Druid expands the Land of Belorn into ten different additional levels. Like a Star Wars movie, each zone consists of a completely different climate (ice, desert, forest, etc.) Players get to choose their path across the enchanted land, similar to the path-picking portion of Crossbow.
The spell casting system of Druid II has been greatly expanded. Druid II gives players 30 new spells to choose from, including Wall of Fire, Death Touch, and Teleport. Like the original, in Druid II additional help can be summoned. While the original game only allowed the summoning of golems, Druid II players can now choose between conjuring up Fire, Water, Earth and Air Elementals. Each of these elementals can be used in one of three ways. They can simply follow you around, they can be controlled by simply keyboard commands (‘run forward’), or they can be controlled by another human player using a second joystick.
Despite the expanded features, Druid II plays essentially the same as the first game. Based upon the Gauntlet style of play, players will run through mazes, shooting anything that moves and collecting everything that doesn’t.
Druid II takes the already established rules of the first game and simply expands the amount of levels, worlds, spells and enemies in the game. One reason I think these games did so well is because there was nothing to compare them to. Many Commodore 64 owners were disappointed in the home version of Gauntlet, simply because it didn’t look as good as the arcade version. With Druid and Druid II, there was no arcade game to compare them to, and thus, no disappointment.