World of Xeen is essentially one game, but due to some arcane marketing or production deadline issue, it was originally released in two parts: Clouds of Xeen and Darkside
of Xeen. (There was also a short add-on called Swords of Xeen, which I'll deal with in a later walkthrough.) Today, all three of these games come bundled together and are
installed simultaneously, so you can access all the areas in the game just as soon as your party can physically reach them. This changes gameplay somewhat--you can, and
probably should, visit Castleview on the Dark Side before Winterkill on the Top Side. On the other hand, you can accidentally reach places way beyond your capabilities,
since Darkside of Xeen was designed with a party that had already finished Clouds of Xeen in mind. In this walkthrough, I present material from Clouds, Darkside, and the
combined game together, with some sensible tips about what challenges to approach when. I don't, however, reveal the answers to any puzzles or quests.
My walkthrough series is designed for gamers looking to improve their playing experience by getting pointers towards parts of the game they might otherwise have
missed, or by being warned in advance about important game factors they might have overlooked (in one of the Bard's Tale games, for example, you MUST have a
Lizardman in the party to finish the game, something it's nice to know before you start out.) Some of these people, like me, prefer to figure out the puzzles and quest
solutions on their own. Honestly, the puzzles in this game aren't all that hard anyway. If you do need the answer to a riddle, just send me an
email for now; eventually I'll put up a spoiler FAQ for those who are looking for that, but right now my focus is
on the walkthrough.
World of Xeen automatically starts you off with a pre-rolled party, in the street, facing a monster. Talk about jumping in at the deep end. No
sissy tutorials here, you betcha. Either dispatch the blob or run into the tavern behind you to evade it; the XP reward for one blob isn't enough to
worry about conserving for your real party. The bigger problem is actually equipment. The pre-rolled party comes fully loaded, and your new characters
arrive naked and empty-handed. So you need to transfer everything in the party to two of the pre-made characters (one can't hold all the armor), dismiss
the other four, create four new characters, exit the tavern, scoot back in away from the blob if you left it there the first time, transfer the stuff to your new
characters, dismiss the two old ones, and create the last two for yourself. If you want to use one of the portraits belonging to a premade character for
one of your own, you have to delete him from the tavern, too. It's one of the more annoying beginnings to a game I've had the misfortune of
encountering recently. You can skip this rigmarole by just creating your party and turning them loose equipmentless, but that really does make the first
city significantly more difficult (the bow one of the pre-made guys is carrying is especially useful).
This town is quite easy, particularly if you're able to acquire a couple of missile weapons.
There's only one quest: rid the town of vermin. You get this quest from the mayor in the tent outside the tavern.
You can get a clue about where to go to accomplish this quest from one of the patrons at the tavern.
You don't need to kill all the vermin in town, though you probably want to (XP are important at this stage in the game). Make sure to search
everything (beds, crates, trees, etc.) This is a good habit to get into. Rob the blacksmith shop, too. If you try this with
a character who has no thievery skills you will get thrown into jail and receive a permanent "convicted thief" award, though I don't know if
this has any effect other than to look bad on your awards page; however, your first-level thief or ninja will never get caught, so don't be shy of a little
larceny. (-: Don't drink from the town well until you've solved the town's quest (this will hold true in all the towns in the game). Or do, but save
first. The results won't be pretty. Once you've solved the quest, the fountain will heal your wounds if you drink there. You can learn
Cartography and Pathfinding in this town. Skills are expensive, so don't waste money buying ones you don't need--remember that you only need one Cartographer
(and that sorcerers have this skill automatically) and two Pathfinders (rangers have this one automatically).
You can also find the usual smithy, temple, training hall, bank, and guild in Vertigo. At this point, spend your
gold; you need equipment and skills. Once you start getting extra, definitely bank it. The interest rate is incredible. The training hall only goes up to level 10--this is going
to be a common theme in the game, finding increasingly better, and pricier, training halls to raise your characters' levels at. As for the guild, don't
bother signing up non-spellcasters, and don't waste extra money on spells you don't need.
You'll immediately notice a portal in town that will obviously transport you to any location you name. It's tempting to simply type in one of
the locations you hear about from locals, like Rivercity or the Red Dwarf Mines, or to look around the map and type something in. This
works, but except for the Red Dwarf Mines, there is probably no named map location your party is ready to handle at this point. And
you can get to the Red Dwarf Mines by walking, picking up some quests and minor XP along the way. Go on and head out the front door to
Map Square F3. (Don't panic at the old-fashioned copy protection question you get asked on your way out--the answers from the new
manual don't match, but if you have the CD version of the game, the passwords are stored in a separate file in the Manuals directory.
Or you can just crack it, which is pretty easy to do; or send me email; or just go through the portal to the Red Dwarf Mines after all,
which works fine.)
Much of this quadrant (F3) isn't accessible yet, since your party can't swim and doesn't have mountaineering skills. There are orcs wandering
around this area; you can kill them, find their outpost hut, and destroy it. (This is an early Might and Magic motif. We used to call it the
"kill the babies quest," since it usually involved finding a cave full of eggs or hatchlings or baby monsters and destroying them, preventing
more monsters from respawning in the area. Mercifully, the outpost hut is not full of orc toddlers to slaughter, but destroying it will stop the
orcs from respawning anyway.) There is also a tent with a questgiver in it just outside of Vertigo.
Myra the herbalist wants you to bring her some Phirna roots from Toad Meadow. Get used to this, too: the "go fetch quest," less affectionately
known as the Fed-Ex quest in the modern gaming era. Don't worry about going out looking for Myra's stuff immediately--quests appear in your quest list,
so you're in no danger of forgetting any of them, and Toad Meadow is far away and beyond your current party strength.
Of more interest on this map quadrant are the entrance to the first
of the Red Dwarf Mines, and the first pyramid, which will transport you to Castleview on the Dark Side.
Castleview is tougher than the Red Dwarf Mines--in particular the Gremlin Guard ambush is near-impossible for a 4th-level party to survive--but
by solving a fairly trivial puzzle there you'll get 100,000 XP each, which is enough to make the city easily solveable. The Red Dwarf Mines might be
a bit boring once you'ver mastered the more difficult Castleview, though, and the money and extra stats you get in the Red Dwarf Mines come in
handy in Castleview. You can do it in either order, but for walkthrough purposes, I'm going to start with the mines.
There are nine of these mines in all, each slightly more difficult than the last. This is a good place to build your characters up, both in terms of
their experience points and their stats. The barrels of colored liquid confer permanent stat increases on the characters who drink out of them.
If you've played a Might and Magic game before, you'll already know exactly which color corresponds to which statistic, but if not, go on and
experiment. There are scores of these barrels throughout the game, and an extra couple of points to the personality of a sorcerer is not going to
kill him. The colors are absolutely fixed, and drinking any red liquid from anything will have the same effect anywhere on Xeen, or in any other
Might and Magic game you ever play, for that matter.
Things not to miss in the Red Dwarf Mines:
1) Once you figure out the naming scheme of the mines, you can use the magic mirror in Vertigo (or any other town) to return to the exact one you want.
This makes schlepping the loot back and forth less tedious.
2) Of course, don't neglect to drink from all the aforementioned barrels and open all the crates. Some crates require a certain strength to open them
(probably 18 or 21). If you're not strong enough, wait until you've hit the stat-boosting barrels and go back to try them again.
3) There are plenty of secret doors in here--use Wizard Eye to locate them, or just inspect dead ends carefully. You have to bash the doors in to open
them, which damages your lead characters somewhat.
4) If you examine gold veins, you can mine them for gold--quite a lot of gold. You may also cause a cave-in. Be wary, and reload the game if you need to;
cave-ins are random.
5) You can learn Danger Sense in Mine 3 and Direction Sense in Mine 5, if your party doesn't have any dwarves or druids
(who start with one of those skills automatically).
As you pass through the pyramid to the Darkside, Zelda the Herbalist will pop up with a prophecy and a magic orb for you to deliver to the
Ellinger on the other side. (This is the same Ellinger whose story is told in the manual, if you still have it.) Castleview can be a deadly
place for 4th-level heroes; if you're attempting it fresh out of Vertigo, you'll be well-served by doing the several non-combat puzzles in town
before attempting the gremlin, sewer, and tower quests--you get a ridiculous amount of XP for solving the puzzles, which you'll need to tackle
the more dangerous parts of town.
Things of note in Castleview:
1) The mayor asks you to rid the town of Gremlins, a standard town-clearing task. This is extremely difficult if your characters are less
than 7th level--you can kill most of them using standard bow and arrow techniques, but there's an ambush at the end that can be tough for
new characters. As part of your reward you'll get some "energy disks" that
don't seem to be of any use. They'll be helpful later on, so don't worry about them cluttering up your inventory.
2) A guy named Joe is hanging around here and will sell you a treasure map for an exorbitant price. I suspect he's meant to be the same
Joe who pulled the extermination scam on Vertigo on the other side. (-: The map is a rip-off, of course, but buy it anyway; you'll be able
to exchange it for a good treasure map later.
3) You can learn the Swimming, Pathfinding, and Cartography skills here. Remember that all six of your characters need to know how to swim before you can
enter the water (humans can already swim).
4) Miles the Cartographer has a Dell Magazine-style word puzzle for you that you can solve easily using the Darkside of Xeen map
(there's a scanned in copy of it here, if you've mislaid yours.)
You get a whopping 100,000 XP for this, which is frankly a bit
game-imbalancing if you go to Castleview early in the game; on the other hand, if you're already in Castleview, you'll need those levels to beat the
5) Dysson the Puzzlemaster has a trio of chest puzzles for you. The first two have nine chests apiece which you have to close and open in the right
order to get another substantial XP award. You can figure out the pattern from the numbers and letters on the chests (the numbers should be opened in
an easy numerical pattern, and the letters should be opened to spell out a word.) They're also both pretty easy to do by trial and error. The third room
has a chest that moves around the room when you try to approach it--you'll get access to that one later.
6) Four Drawkcab monks are hanging around here playing word games. Listen to them carefully; if you talk to them in the correct order (you may need to think
about this for a few minutes to figure it out), you can get another easy XP reward, and what you learn from them is also a clue for later in the game.
7) There's a secret door in town with some hidden loot behind it. Use Wizard Eye to spy it, or just keep your eye out for suspicious dead ends. (-:
8) Nadia the Hoarder has a quest for you: fetch her necklace from the sewers.
9) Jethro the Mapmaker has a quest for you: free his brother.
10) The sewers are relatively easy as a dungeon, but you should probably try to have Suppress Disease and Suppress Poison learned before attempting
it (to cure these conditions entirely, visit the temple or drink some of Myra's antidote potions). There's a guy down here who will give you a quest to kill
the Rat Queen, but you're likely to encounter the Rat Queen first if you're not careful. The questgiver, Valio, is by the entrance nearest to Nadia if you
want to be sure to talk to him first--you'll still get the reward either way, but I find it annoying to be thanked for completing a quest by some guy I've never
met before. Opening Valio's chest is amusing, but wait until after you've finished his quest for him, and you probably want to save first. You can also learn
Direction Sense down here (druids automatically have this skill), and there are more stat-raising barrels. Two of the stairs up lead to parts of Castleview
you can't access any other way (one with trapped treasure chests in it, the other full of tough Gremlin Guards, so be careful if you're low-level), and one
leads out to the countryside (where you probably don't want to be yet).
11) Ellinger's Tower is an easy dungeon for a young party, plenty of puzzles and secret doors, but no fighting. Traps can pick you off if you don't have a lot of
hit points, though, so be wary and use Clairvoyance (getting blessed at the temple conveys this and other useful spells on you). You need a key to enter
this tower, which you can get from one of the city's other quests. Once you reach the end of the tower, Ellinger has important information and a plot quest for you.
You can also exit the top of this tower to the Darkside skyroad, but at this stage in the game you won't be able to handle the things you'd find up there, so leave
that for another time.
You still can't get into the mountains, but you should be able to swim now, so you can finish exploring most of the quadrant. Besides the already-mentioned
Red Dwarf Mines, transporter to Castleview, Myra the Herbalist, and orcs to kill, other things in this quadrant include:
1) Four fountains and a shrine. I took diligent notes on the location and effects of each of these things ten years ago, but the fact is, it takes so long for your
whole party to drink from them that they're effectively useless. The one in the very southwest corner raises your level by 5, which is probably the most valuable
of them. For your time, praying at a temple a few times in a row is a better way to gird for a tough combat, though.
2) Derek the Ranger has a quest for you: rescue his girlfriend Celia.
3) Orothin has a quest for you: find his lost whistle. You get two extremely useful spells for completing this quest, which really only involves some swimming.
This quadrant is tougher than the early stages of the Red Dwarf Mines or Castleview, but easier than the final stages of either. Besides wandering
monsters, things of note:
1) Toad Meadow, with the Phirna roots for Myra. No spoiler, that; they're right where she said they were.
2) A quest-giver, Valia, who wants you to retrieve an Alacorn for her and will reward you with the Crusader skill.
3) The Witch Tower, a moderately tough dungeon. Lots of spells to be learned in here. Try to have the Linguist skill before entering this dungeon, as the
statues will tell you interesting things if you can understand them; you can learn the Linguist skill on the ground floor of Castle Burlock (which you can
reach via magic mirror if you like). This is the first place you can access the Clouds level from (you'll need Levitation, and take care not to step through
the holes in the clouds...)
This city is infested with Sorceresses, who are much tougher opponents than slimes, dwarves, rats, or gremlins. You should be able to take them by now, but
proceed carefully. Things of note:
1) Here you can acquire the Mountaineering skill (and Pathfinding, if you didn't buy it in Vertigo). Remember that you need two characters with each skill
before you can travel in the mountains/forests.
2) You can also learn Armsmaster and Bodybuilder skills, which are good value for the money, and Navigator, which will come in useful in the desert areas
later in the game.
3) Barok will give you a quest to fetch his amulet from the sorceresses.
4) Be careful to search in all the trees, there's decent treasure hidden in some of them. (Of course, you should be searching everything you find on your
own anyway, but sometimes a tree doesn't seem worth bothering with--these are.)
5) The door in the back of the Training Hall leads to a very tough fight. Save before going back there.
6) There are some robbers in town with a couple of chests you can liberate. In one of them is a quest item, a tiara. I always find it annoying to get a quest item
before I get the quest; it doesn't stop you from completing the quest and getting the XP that's due you, but it does rob you of hearing the questgiver ask you
for help. If you feel this way too, the person looking for the tiara is in Burlock's Castle, and you can easily stop in there before coming to Rivercity (the magic
mirror will take you there).
Now that you have acquired mountaineering, there shouldn't be any wilderness squares that are unavailable to you any longer. This is what my
gaming friends and I used to call the "World Is Your Oyster" stage of a computer game: you're a nice healthy level, there are dozens of cities and
dungeons and map quadrants you can safely explore, and most of the quests are ones you're capable of solving. You still want to stay out of
the lava and desert zones, especially on the Darkside of Xeen; Necropolis is probably too tough for you right now, and there will be a few
dungeons and other map locations you may have to skip and save for later as you travel past. But other than that, you can strike off in any
direction you prefer from here: take the portals to the remaining cities and solve their problems for them, work your way through the rest of
the Clouds of Xeen map quadrants, or start exploring the grasslands around Castleview on the Dark Side. Or jump back and forth between
these tasks. It's all good. In the next section, I'll break the walkthrough down by city and quadrant, so it can still be useful regardless which
order you decide to tackle the mid-game in, and make note of any useful hints about quest order as I go along.