And so it is, I’ve chosen Dungeon Keeper 2 as the first game to pull me out of my gaming slump. First published in 1999, I originally loved it from the moment my mate Dave first told me about it (I wouldn’t actually get to play it by myself until much later).
Revisiting it now, it’s easy to see why – all of the classic Bullfrog charm remains and still makes me smile. The devilish yet dolcit tones of the narrator, the saccarine-sweet names of the lands in which you do battle (Smilesville, Sing-Song), the fact you can slap your imps to work faster (no longer a feature of the modern workplace).
The first three levels gently ease the player into the gameplay by slowly introducing new concepts such as the training room and workshop. From memory, the difficulty ramps up relatively quickly – something I’m actually hoping will happen because at the moment it feels fail-proof.
But I’m pleased to be seeing things I didn’t notice before – the big red devil, Horny (yes I know, hardly subtle but I was 11), and the fact there is a pay day (I would have noticed this, but had never once stopped to question just what these creatures are spending their gold on).
Of course, it feels outdated – graphically yes (a max resolution of 1024×768) but also in other ways. The amount of information on offer is sparse and there is little indication of how ‘good’ your dungeon – frustrating as you’re left guessing how to more readily recruit creatures. Maybe this is fixed, who knows. But the decision to only reveal minimum room specifications when you fail to meet them is hard to understand.
But these minor niggles are all quickly forgiven on seeing this beauty:
This is a single-player game, with limited replayability, but there’s a scoreboard anyway (perhaps this is the reason to replay). And I’ve hit 6th on the first level, I must be a literal god. Suck it, Mark Stacey.