Saturday 31 October 2009

Dungeon Master

As I mentioned in yesterday's posting, the first lengthy games sequence that befalls, Gina, Cary and Rabby as they weave their way through the twists and turns of Cloud 109 is loosely based on a now relatively steam driven computer game which appeared over twenty years ago under the title of "Dungeon Master".

As this game has at least a vague Halloween theme, insofar as it's a definitely creepy in parts and full of monsters, I thought it might be fun to have a look at the thing in a little more detail.

Dungeon Master is one of those games that does have the ability to suck you in, the premise is relatively straightforward. You have to assemble a team of four adventurers with a mix of skills, so that ideally your team has a mix of spell casting and healing powers as well as fighting and dexterity skills, which are gradually enhanced as you journey through the at times labyrinthine levels to journey's end where you release the nice old guy at the end of the final level (there are 14 of them) from imprisonment by the Forces of Chaos.

All the characters have ridiculously portentous titles as if they have stepped out of Lord of the Rings and they are destined to encounter a veritable bestiary of nasty killer creatures which as their journey progresses, get ever more difficult to overcome. Added to which there are puzzles to solve, food and drink to find (your party will starve if you fail in this respect and some of the levels are very short on food), light to be created - those dungeons get very dark very quickly as your torch burns itself out.

The game itself looks primeval in comparison to the kind of games you'll see on your PS3 or XBox, but what the hell - it's the atmosphere, the 3D sound of something nasty shifting restlessly as your team heads down a corridor with the light already failing and they're not quite sure which turning to take.

Highly addictive at least in the short run.

Christophe Fontanel has a website devoted to this game called "Dungeon Master Encyclopedia" and if you're as sad as I am, you can even download the game and it's sequels for free.

Something to try out over the weekend providing your Halloween hangover isn't wreaking more damage on you then the Forces of Chaos.


  1. I still remember being in a dungeon corridor, surrounded by screamers, as all the party's light spells suddenly expired. I was hacking away wildly in total darkness, terrified, and when I finally took the time to cast a new light spell I realized I'd killed all the screamers and in my panic I was just swinging at empty air.

  2. Ahhhhhh Dave - you too have fallen prey to the insidious charms of Dungeon Master.

    I still love this game with a passion, the best I've ever done with Dungeon Master is get to Level 9 which is really nasty with the floating eyeballs that spit poison at you, plus the usual mummies and skeletons and a host of other nasty suprises.

    However it wasn't the light that failed on our brave party so much as my flippin' hard drive.

    So now it's back to level 1 again.

    So sad really...

  3. The coolest thing is that you actually start to become fluent in the symbolic rune-language used to cast spells. So after a bit you think, "Shouldn't there be a set of runes in this order?" and you can guess what that spell would do. That's the key to finally completing the game btw ;-)

  4. Dammit Dave! You mean you've completed the game.

    Jeez! I suppose I'll have to try a bit harder.

    Hate those floating eyeballs though - one zap and you are toast.

  5. The toughest fight I remember was a dragon or T-Rex. It took a *lot* of killing. I covered it in dozens of poison gas clouds and after it died it left a permanent fog of poison hovering in that spot!