Gee, my hand of evil sure likes to spank things!
Fans of Dungeon Keeper rejoice, for Dungeon Keeper 2 can now be purchased at a store near you! Yes, once again the call of the subterranean beckons to your little, evil, black-as-coal hearts. For those of you who've never experienced the joy that is Dungeon Keeper here's the scoop:
Dungeon Keeper turns the tables on the traditional 'Dungeons and Dragons' type of game by allowing you to control the dungeon keeper- and an evil one at that. It is your sole duty to defeat the forces of good that enter your subterranean realm. In order to do so you must build your dungeon, raise and train your evil minions, set traps, and destroy the righteous intruders. Yes, it's tough being evil.
Your dungeon starts off with only a 'heart', which is the nerve center of your operations. It must be protected at all costs. You also start off with some imp workers: magical creatures that are your faithful servants. The imps will take care of all the dirty work- from mining gold to reinforcing the dungeon walls. The next most important room is the portal, which draws your minions from the netherworld. In order to draw some interest in your dungeon and attract vicious nasties to inhabit your halls, you have to properly equip it with training rooms, lairs for rest, libraries for study, and hatcheries for food. As you advance, you can also build gambling rooms, combat pits, torture chambers, graveyards, prisons, and much more.
Now that you've got some evil minions, it's time to place some deadly traps- and there are plenty of them for all you sadists. Here's just a taste of them: sentry cannons, fear producers, gas traps, spikes, boulders, and lightning. Needless to say there are many ways to torment any intruding heroes.
The most important weapons you have are your monsters, who can venture out in search of the do-gooders and who pack the real firepower. Again, there are plenty of monsters in your arsenal, including goblins, skeletons, archers, sorcerers, demons, dark mistresses, and vampires.
While the monsters in your dungeon will wander about on their own, you can also control them yourself! At your disposal is a spell that allows you to control one of your monsters in the first person perspective, like Doom or Quake. You can also group some of your monsters together with the one you're controlling to form a war party or reconnaissance team. While it's fun to be the mastermind of the dungeon, sometimes it's a lot more fun to play one of the mindless beasts in the heat of battle.
Dungeon Keeper is played from a 3D, three-quarters perspective that can be rotated in zoomed in and out to any degree. The graphics are simply phenomenal. In this second installment of the game, everything, down to the smallest monster is rendered in 3D. The detail of the game is also inspiring. You can stand by and watch your creatures perform a daily routine of eating, training, and sleeping. You also see the feathers of the chickens fly when they're eaten, and even Horny (the demon on the box) leaves a trail of flame wherever he steps.
Even better than the graphics is the sound. Every monster has characteristic sounds that cover eating, fighting, complaining, and just standing around. The variety of screams and clanging of weapons you hear while scrolling around your dungeon is astounding. They've definitely got the dungeon ambience covered with the sound and graphics. The voice of the dungeon master is also superb- sinister and eloquent: reminiscent of Vincent Price.
A new feature added to the game is called "My Pet Dungeon." In this mode of play you create your own dungeon at your leisure, with no time constraints or enemies. If you want to test out your work, you can go over to the 'hero toolbox' and pick up some guinea pigs using your "hand of death." Either that or you can have the computer send hordes of heroes on command. Also included is the now traditional multi-player over LAN or the internet.
There are few, if any flaws to be found in Dungeon Keeper 2. One might complain about insignificant details like gold floating on top of lava, but that's about all the designers left out. Dungeon Keeper 2 is well thought out and is a very complete package. There isn't much room for improvement in a game like this.
What more is there to say? If you've already run through Dungeon Keeper 1, there isn't a whole lot of new stuff you'll see in the sequel, but it is still worth it for the 3D graphics and all the delightfully evil new scenarios. Anyone who hasn't played it is in for a big treat in Dungeon Keeper 2. The idea is original and the workmanship is excellent. There's something for everyone in this game-- from the strategy lover to the action aficionado. Don't miss it under any circumstances.