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Might and Magic IV

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Title Screen

Might and Magic: Clouds of Xeen

Also known as: Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen
Developer: New World Computing
Publisher: New World Computing
Platform: DOS
Released in US: 1992

CodeIcon.png This game has unused code.
TextIcon.png This game has unused text.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article
NotesIcon.png This game has a notes page

So very stubbly.
This page is rather stubbly and could use some expansion.
Are you a bad enough dude to rescue this article?

Might and Magic: Clouds of Xeen is the fourth game in the award-winning Might and Magic series of first-person dungeon crawler role-playing games. This time around, it seems that some Skeletor wannabe came out of nowhere and decided to take over one side of the two-sided world of Xeen. As usual, it's up to a party of up to six adventurers to go out, kick some monster hide, and fix everything.


Read about prototype versions of this game that have been released or dumped.
Prototype Info
Miscellaneous tidbits that are interesting enough to point out here.

Leftover Might and Magic III Code

Since the World of Xeen games were made using the coding and interface from the previous game, there are a few random bits-and-bobs left over from that game which can be found through save game editing.

Note: A majority of the following also applies to the next game, as they share most of the same engine.

Unused Alignment Strings

Don't feel bad, he got over it... in death.

By messing with a character's values (in this case, race and gender), one can find strings for various location names, status ailments, and even the previous games' character alignments (Good, Neutral, and Evil). In the Xeen games, Alignment goes completely unused, so the byte that was previously used to determine a character's alignment became a value which tells the game if a character is in Clouds of Xeen or Darkside of Xeen.

Hireling Party Slots

In the previous two games, the player could add two more members to their party. These extra party members, known as "Hirelings", could be found at any of the inns of the game and, like the name implies, they would stay with the party for as long as they could cover the costs of hiring them. Some of the coding for this system remains within the Xeen games and even works... to a point.

Personal space, man, personal space.

Forcing the game to add a seventh member to the party is somewhat bug-free. The seventh character's portrait displays over-and-to-the-right of the first character's while their hit point crystal is aligned to the bottom-right of their portrait.

For all intents and purposes, the game even recognizes the extra party member as being valid and functional and can do just about anything any of the other six members can. However, there are some caveats, most of which can be negated by swapping them with another party member in the character sheets:

  • Pressing F7 directly from the main screen will not open the seventh character sheet. However, pressing F1 through F6 (to view any other party member), followed by F7, will.
    • Viewing the seventh character's sheet will temporarily glitch the first two portraits upon leaving the sheet. Doing anything that would affect the portraits (sleeping, getting hurt, etc.) will restore them, although the bottom-left frame of the window will still look odd.
    • The seventh character cannot be given any items, although items can be forced into their inventory should the other party members' inventories be full.
    • The seventh character can, however, hand their inventory over to anyone else.
  • Despite what the interface says in that fifth screenshot, the seventh character cannot be used to make choices (such as opening doors), nor can they be targeted by friendly spells or items.
    • The seventh character also cannot be selected for shop interfaces of any sort.

Now that guy knows how to party!

Trying to add an eighth character to your roster results in something a little more spectacularly broken.

For whatever reason, any character placed in the eighth slot will have their data severely corrupted with junk data. As a result, their name and personally-identifiable information will be changed to be wiped, their stats will skyrocket to the maximum possible values (including temporary values), they'll have every single Spell (inaccessible, due to not being a spell caster), Skill, and Award possible, be given a glitched inventory full of junk items, and have varying degrees of every single status ailment possible, even if it doesn't make sense.

Error drawing sprite in window: 0000 handle: 0008 frame: 0016!

Exiting the character sheets after looking at theirs crashes the game with the above error message.

Still mangled, despite our best efforts.

Removing extra party members and resurrecting the eighth member at a temple doesn't fix their stats, nor does it make them fully-functional. Attacking with them will always crash the game and, since they don't have a class, they can never equip anything. However, it does make them the single most powerful member of your party, able to survive any attack, open any lock, smash any gates, and so on. Either way, it's abundantly clear that the designers never intended for the party to have eight members, again.

Also, like with the seventh character, the eighth is correctly registered with the Inn as being "In Party,", as well as showing up as a choice (F8) on interactions, despite being unselectable.

Tracking Skill

The skill "Tracking" is only available in Shangra-lai upon purchasing all the game's skills as a single package from an NPC. This skill does absolutely nothing. It is not mentioned in the game's manual or hint book. There is no information anywhere on what this skill would have done. The adding of this unimplemented skill to a party member only upon the purchase of the full skill package set was probably a mistake by a game programmer who forgot to exclude it from the list.

Scrapped Concepts

There are some bits and bobs in Clouds of Xeen which hint at some concepts which ended up not making it into the final Darkside of Xeen game, much less the combination game of World of Xeen.

Portal Pyramids

In Clouds of Xeen, two random NPCs mention something about the Portal Pyramids which sit outside of the four main cities of the land:

Roland took the key to the pyramids with him on his trip of Darkside of Xeen.
One of the Dungeons, Two of the Towers, the Southern Sphinx, and all of the pyramids cannot be entered without a visit to the Darkside.

If Darkside and Clouds are combined into World of Xeen, the player can use the pyramids without needing any key or visiting Darkside via the Shangri-La/Castle Alamar passage. Further, all pyramids lead to the Darkside starting area, Castleview, rather than each of the corrosponding pyramids on the Darkside... which are destroyed. It's possible that this wasn't always the case and that the Portal Pyramids were always intended to be available and functional, but due to marketing Darkside as its own game, they scrapped this idea.

Lord Xeen's Scepter

An NPC has this interesting tidbit to say:

Xeen's scepter will allow you to stay on Darkside as long as you want when the moons are aligned.

This seems to have been scrapped early on; in the final game(s), the player and several NPCs can travel to the Darkside of Xeen and stay there for as long as they want, with or without Lord Xeen's Scepter. The item in question only has one in-game function: lowering the protective barrier surrounding the Sixth Magic Mirror -- a quest-related item sitting behind Lord Xeen, himself.

Crodo the Off-Worlder

There is tidbit in a Cloudside tavern which is never elaborated about the backstory of Crodo, one of the main NPCs in Clouds:

Crodo was not born on Xeen.

After the events of Clouds, Crodo is neither seen nor heard from again, leaving this mystery as nothing more than gossip.

Terran Adventurers

At the end of the previous game, the party pursues the main villain, Sheltem, and his warden, Corak, with all three groups piloting escape pods from an Ancients Planetary Seedship. Sheltem and Corak's escape pods both crash land on the Darkside of Xeen, but the third pod is unaccounted for. In Darkside, the following text can be seen in Sheltem's travel logs:

My sensors indicate that the main ship passed through the atmosphere of the other side of the world and burned up, but not before safely beaming the Terran natives to the surface.

The text seems to suggest that, perhaps, the default Clouds party was intended to be the Terran adventurers whose escape pod was vaporized before it could crash on the Cloudside of Xeen.

Additionally, there was an option in the second game to import characters from the first game (PC releases only). A similar function could have existed in Clouds, allowing the transfer of the Isle of Terra party so they might adventure on Xeen. Considering the numerous Isle of Terra leftovers in the game code, this seems likely, but the idea was eventually scrapped before the game's release.

Curiously, the Terran travelers did come back in the seventh game as the default playable parties. However, the story was retconned to the six characters (and two hirelings) piloting the planetary seedship itself rather than an escape pod, and crash landing on Enroth rather than Xeen.