Welcome To The Dungeon!

Playing God has never been quite this much fun!

There are generally two categories of gamers: the ones who like to play real-time sim games like "SimCity" and "Myst", and the others who like to play blood-and-gore games like "Quake" and "Doom". But what if you wanted to sit on the fence and enjoy the best of both worlds? Try "Dungeon Keeper"...

Bucking the trend of playing the good guy, you have your task cut out as a Dungeon Keeper. Not only do you have to ensure that your treasury is always filled to the brim, but also make it an abode that attracts the most evil of warriors, to protect your dungeon from the good guys and enemy dungeon keepers. And what do you have to start with? An uncharted dungeon and hard-working Imps.

The Imps are the backbone of your dungeon, carrying out menial tasks such as expanding your dungeon by digging tunnels, building rooms and mining gold; when they have no work, they also clean, decorate and reinforce the walls of your vast dungeon. Of course, all this comes at a cost - on each payday, when you have to pay them for their efforts. And if you think you're not getting your money's worth, a slap will encourage them to work more efficiently...

Imps are not the only weird creatures that you will encounter in this game. From the Dungeon Portal, which acts as a gateway to the outside world, the meanest and most evil creatures will enter your dungeon and make it their home. But these creatures are a fussy bunch - they need to be well looked after by building big Lairs, vast Hatcheries and over-filled Treasure Rooms. Apart from these structures, you will have to build Training Rooms to keep your forces fighting fit, Libraries to train your creatures to learn new spells and trade tricks, Torture Chambers to get secrets from the captured enemies, and Graveyards to bury the dead (these later rise to become Ghosts who can detect invisible enemy creatures). Phew!!!

Your enemies in this game are Heroes and enemy Dungeon Keepers. The Heroes are the most challenging to fight off - acting as minions of the Lord of the Land, they enter your dungeon in a quest for your gold and their good deed for the day. And finally, in order to reach the next realm (read level), you have to get rid of the Lord of the Land. The other enemies that you have to keep your eyes open for are your counterparts from other dungeons - you have to constantly take over enemy dungeons, if you wish to build a bigger and better dungeon. Bigger and better dungeon? Yes, if you wish to avoid an exodus of your minions to the neighbouring dungeons...

One of the most interesting features of "Dungeon Keeper" is the ability to possess a creature. This allows you to take control of a single creature in your Dungeon and see the environment through its eyes. So, if you possess an Imp, you can actually dig through the wall and mine the gold faster, or get an aerial view of you dungeon by possessing a Fly. The behaviour of your creatures also makes for interesting viewing. Creatures that are enemies, like the Spider and Fly, need to be kept away from each other - else you could soon have a bloody battle within your lair itself. But if you torture a creature, the rest of his brethren will work harder to avoid the same punishment.

14 different realms, 17 spells, 6 traps, 4 door types, over 30 different minions with 5 secret realms - this game has enough to keep you going for a few weeks!

This article was first published on 15 Aug 2000.