by Chris Capel
previewed on PC
Going Deeper Underground
The majority of people who have heard of Dungeons are likely to be old-school Bullfrog fans, and even they have probably forgotten about the game since its initial press release. For those of you who weren’t around PC gaming in the 90s, Bullfrog was an incredibly innovative developer founded by Peter Molyneux (of Fable fame), with a string of imaginative successful games to its name. One of the most loved was Dungeon Keeper, a simulation game where you play as an evil overlord and plan a dungeon full of traps to repel any good heroes who seek your downfall.
Dungeon Keeper had a sequel in 1999, but the series has not been seen or heard from since (apart from an Asia-only MMO). Here’s where Kalypso’s Dungeons comes in: a spiritual sequel in the same style attempting to fill the void, while offering its own spin on the idea.
You are the Dungeon Lord, an Overlord-style black knight who rules his dominion with an iron fist. You can command goblins to build tunnels and mine gold, set out pentagrams for various monsters to spawn at (as well as increase your territory in a system similar to Lionhead’s Black & White), and generally spruce up the place all nasty-like to tempt goody-two-shoes heroes in.
While there are plenty of proper objectives that are needed to win the stage, like get a certain amount of prestige, interrogate some servants or water some flowers (seriously), the best way to achieve those objectives – and the most fun – is by luring heroes into your lair. Put some cool skeletons on the wall and they’ll admire them for a bit. Scatter some handily accessible chests of loot around and they’ll raid it. Give them some easy monsters to kill and they’ll happily hack them to pieces.
We can kill heroes, just for one day
Once the good guys have finished their quests and feel as heroic as possible, you beat the snot out of them. Heroes are the best source of two major resources: gold and soul energy. Both are vital for your dungeon, your objectives and maintenance. Kill the heroes as soon as they enter and you’ll get a bit of gold, but not as much as you’d get if you’d let them plunder some treasure first and then bring down the hammer. Capture heroes, and you can slowly drain extra soul energy for your coffers.
Once you have your gold and energy, you set about adding to your dungeon. You can tunnel through and unlock more minions or make a beeline for your various objectives. You can hang back and spruce up your dungeon, or you can concentrate on “harvesting” heroes. While in the main campaign you’re pretty set on your objectives, luckily there is a sandbox mode where you can mess about and be evil whatever way you choose.
Dungeons can be accessorized in numerous ways. Rooms such as libraries (good for more knowledge-focused heroes) and torture chambers (good to extend the stay of heroes) can be added, and the various accessories (‘Gimmicks’, such as piles of bones and campfires) you can scatter around increase your Prestige, allowing you to buy better things and make your Lord stronger.