Game Soundtrack Review: Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord (Original Game Soundtrack)

Released in 1981, Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord is the first game in the Wizardry series of role-playing video games. It was developed by Andrew C. Greenberg and Robert Woodhead and became a smash-hit video game that established the party-based dungeon crawler genre. Laying the foundations for an entire genre of interactive fantasy adventures that include Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Quest, Might and Magic, and Final Fantasy.

In September 2023, a 3D remake was developed and released by Digital Eclipse for the PC via Steam.

The original 1981 version of the Wizardry game had no music, but the modern remake features a soundtrack steeped in ancient history and culture. Composed by Winifred Phillips, this official soundtrack album was released on May 23rd, 2024. The music of Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord has won both the Telly Award (Best Music for a Game) and two Gold NYX Game Awards (Best Game Soundtrack, Best Music for a PC Game).

Winifred Phillips is a BAFTA-nominated composer whose credits include titles in eight of the most well-known franchises in gaming: Assassin’s Creed, God of War, Jurassic World, Lineage, LittleBigPlanet, The Sims, Total War, and now Wizardry.

I wasn’t even alive when Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord was first released, but like many gamers, I would eventually come across it as I grew up, and be completely taken in by the experience. While it was surpassed by many other game franchises as the years went on, it still holds a special place in my heart.

There was no music though, so the prospect of experiencing a soundtrack from a composer as talented as Winifred Phillips is very exciting. Especially as I’ve not played the 3D remake as it stands right now. So, the question is, will this soundtrack be capable of immersing me in the world of Wizardry on the strength of the music alone?



The short answer is yes. The bombastic, epic, ominous, fun, and folkish soundtrack is exceptionally cinematic. Easily capturing the sense and style of wonder that Wizardry is so well known for. At one stage you can be enjoying the peace and tranquillity of nature, relaxing in a town, then, in another, you can be doing battle with monsters and evil beings. It is the encapsulation of fantasy, created via an array of orchestral instruments.

I have a deep love for soundtracks to games like this, but being both original and memorable is a tough ask these days. It speaks volumes about the quality of this soundtrack that not only is it exceptionally original sounding (even with many familiar tones) but it’s incredibly memorable. When a soundtrack is so listenable on its own, you know it is strong.

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From the lofty and epic Dragon Slayer to the chilled out folk melody of Gilgamesh’s Tavern, and the mysterious sound of The Maze. To the daring Heroes in Training, dangerous Thieves Dagger, haunting horror tone of Nightstalker, and triumphant Masters of Wizardry. It’s a soundtrack that lives long in the memory and proves, once again, why the talents of Winifred Phillips are so sought after.

If, like me, you have plenty of nostalgia for Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord, but haven’t gotten around to playing the remake, this soundtrack will ensure that changes pretty damn soon.


  • Carl Fisher

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Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord (Original Game Soundtrack)
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