Originally Posted by mattbarton.exe
I did play Temple of Elemental Evil and didn't like it all that much. It did have a great engine, but the story, setting, or gameplay just didn't really grab me like Baldur's Gate or Dungeon Master did. As I recall, at some point you get a golden skull that pretty much lets you obliterate anything with impunity.
I think you're right about the STORY of TOEE sucking badly, but you're wrong about the setting and gameplay.
The setting is Greyhawk and that pisses on the Forgotten Realms in which Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale were set. I don't know QUITE how ignorant you are about ADnD in general but Greyhawk is not generic Tolkien fantasy like The Realms are. It is a weird blend of rather odd novels that Gygax had read.
Gameplay? Well, the dialogue sucked badly but the combat is the best you're going to find, thanks to the turn based engine and best UI ever in this type of game. I really don't think you can argue this. TOEE = dungeon crawler and better than any other CRPG where you have a party.
Maybe you just like real time or real time with pause systems, but they're inaccurate and in fact BROKEN, including Baldur's Gate. Fallout has better combat than BG, because it is turn based and therefore EXACT control. This equals superior tactics and it is seen in TOEE where you can pull off subtle manoeuvers. I would love to see you take EXACTLY a 5 ft step towards a foe in your cherished BG. :-)
Now about the skull. Yeah, there's power in it but that can't be assembled until you've conquered the demon nodes, which are the hardest battles. Did you even play on IRON MAN mode? I think not.
And sure, there are not items of mass destruction in Baldur's Gate are there? I was hallucinating when I bought the Robe of Vecna and looted the corpse of a dragon for Carsomyr in Chapter 2, wasn't I...
Last, but not least, TOEE was rushed out the door by the publisher and a huge amount of content was cut because it was "edgy" and loads of bugs remained. If the game succeeded, we would have had a second Goldbox era, but it flopped and failed.
Now we have "RPGs" like Jade Empire, KOTOR, Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Oblivion, and DA:O that makes the shoulders slump, and that are conceived by twits, it seems.