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Dungeon Keeper Review

Duke_Ferris By:
GENRE Strategy 
PUBLISHER Electronic Arts 
M Contains Animated Blood and Gore, Animated Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Evil is Good

From the towering height of my evil lair, I peer down upon the land below. Look at all the happy citizens in their shiny villages and towns, smiling, being POLITE (ugh), playing with happy fuzzy animals (yeeech). From this height they look like ants, and soon I shall crush them like the ants they resemble, and poison them, and trap them, and cut those happy, smiling faces off of their ridiculous skulls.

In their pleasant land, they have no idea of the creeping horror that is tunneling under their homes...even now. Imps, demons, orcs, trolls, skeletons, ghosts, vampires, warlocks, and all my other delightfully evil minions will lay waste to their land. The bodies of their children shall be piled under my throne, and the best and brightest among them will suffer by the lash and the fire, all under the withering smile of my Dark Mistresses (who seem to enjoy that sort of thing).


So you've played 100 adventures, and another 100 RPG's. You've been 'Lance Lightheart', 'Prince Do-gooder the Brave', and 'Sir Friendly the Chivalrous'. Your task has been to save the kingdom, save the princess, cure the princess, restore the kingdom, slay the evil whatsit, and help old ladies across the street. Has it gotten a little tiresome? Are you sick of it yet? Ever wonder what it was like to see the world from the monster's point of view?

Wonder no more. Go and get the latest from Electronic Arts, Dungeon Keeper, and revel in the dark side.

Dungeon Keeper is a real time strategy game that turns the entire fantasy genre on its head. In most games/novels/movies you are the hero, exploring the dungeon, slaying evil creatures and collecting treasure. This time you get to be the greedy Dungeon Keeper, designing your dungeon, laying traps, and stocking it with vicious monsters. Heroes will try to enter your dungeon to kill your lovely, disgusting beasties and steal your precious gold. (Ahhhh gold, sweet gold... and jewels! Can't forget those.) If you've been really evil and designed your dungeon well, those heroes will end up as just so much hero-meat.

The game is real-time, and you must work quickly to build. Imps do all of your digging, mining for treasure, reinforcing of walls, and all the general scut work. You begin only with a 'dungeon heart', which is the source of your power and must be protected at all costs. First off, you should dig out a room and turn it into a treasure trove to hold you piles of gold. Mine some gold to fill it up, and build a lair so your monsters will have a place to camp out and rest after a hard day of monstering. You need to capture portals so that said monsters can enter your dungeon. You can also create Libraries to research destructive spells, Training rooms to improve your creatures abilities, Workshops to build traps, prisons, torture chambers, guard posts, temples, and other nifty evilness. Altogether there are 14 different kinds of rooms.

Your monsters must be fed and paid or they become unhappy and can desert or vandalize your dungeon. If they get too rowdy, you can slap them around a bit, or toss them into the torture chamber and listen to them scream. This has a positive effect on the others who will work harder, lest they be tortured themselves. Monsters also gain experience from fighting or training and can advance levels up to a maximum of 10. With each level comes added strength, toughness, abilities and weapons or spells. There are 18 different creatures.

The graphics are terrific. At least they are if you read the manual and learn to hit 'Alt-R' to switch to hi-res as soon as you begin. Lo-res mode just doesn't compare. Hi-res ran smoothly on a P-133, so the requirements aren't toooo steep. The monsters are well animated and have a wide variety of behaviors. You view your Dungeon from a 3D 3/4 perspective which you can rotate and zoom in/out. However, most impressive of is the ability to possess any of your creatures. When you possess them you control their bodies and see through their eyes. You move about your own dungeon (or that of your opponent) in a first person perspective. You can dig, fight, cast spells, nearly any behavior that that creature can do independently. Your vision is even affected by the type of creature you have possessed (some have a weird fish eye effect.).

The sound is nearly as impressive. There is no background music (thank god), because it might take away from the great sound effects. You will be astonished by the sheer variety of creaks, groans, wails, clangs, cries, and screams (especially the screams). The narrator's voice is terrific as he instructs you in the finer points of evil. He should win an award for best voice in a video game.

Speaking of which, this game won the 'Best PC Game' Award at E3 '97. What I'm saying here is that you really can't go wrong: you'll be playing late into the night. Dungeon Keeper is a revolutionary, terrific game. So come to the dark side, you won't regret it.

A Revolution report card
  • Revolutionary Idea
  • Great Graphics
  • Strategy AND First Person Gameplay
  • Evil may not be good, but it sure is fun.

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