Thursday, 22 September 2011

Dungeons of Dredmor

Have you ever played an ASCII roguelike RPG?

I know.  That is a really odd question.  Most of you will be shaking your heads and saying "a what, what, what now?" but bear with me.  This is relevant.

Roguelike RPGs have a long history in computer gaming.  They typically feature pretty standard RPG elements; character classes, elves, magic swords and all that stuff, along with randomly generated dungeons and, most importantly, no restarting from a save game.  Unlike most other games, when you die in these games you stay dead.  You have to start with a new character, right from the beginning, but a different beginning because everything is randomly generated.  Remember?

And the ASCII part means that the graphics for these games are simply characters from your keyboard (google it if you're bothered.)  So your character might be a red "E", an orc is a green "O", walls are "-".... you get the idea.

Right, now just put all that together in your head.  They are usually fantasy based, death means a complete restart and the graphics ARE LETTERS AND SYMBOLS.  Jesus Christ.  If there was ever a reason to find the geekiest thing on the planet then this is what it would be.

Which brings us to this game.  Dungeons of Dredmor is a roguelike RPG.  But!  BUT!  It doesn't use ASCII characters.  It uses proper graphics (well, if it was 1997).  Still, this is an improvement.  And it's cheap.  And it's on Steam.  It's kind of easy access to Prime Geek Alpha dom.

This could prove useful, imagine there was some girl at school or something who you really liked but she rejected you because you were too damn cool.  She liked the more sensitive soul, the loner with the sadness in his eyes.  Before you would have to speak to people like that and ask them what kind of keyboard-graphics based game might win this fair maiden's heart.  But no longer!  This removes the need for that potentially embarassing encounter.  Now you can walk up to her with a confident swagger and ask her if she wants to play Dungeons of Dredmor round your place.  Job done.  You'll be discussing whether your first born should be called Gimli or Legolas in no time.  I can picture it now... lovely.

Sorry, where was I?  DoD (which is what I'm going to call it from now on cos it's too long to keep typing it out) also differs from the usual crowd in that it is humorous.  This humour takes many forms - none of them particularly funny.  For some reason the hero has big eyebrows.  There is also a monster which attacks you with its moustache.  A lot of your time will be spent killing Diggles - bird things with plastic drills for beaks.  You get the picture.  This isn't funny.  I mean, it's funnier than the usual roguelike RPG but that really isn't saying much.  It's funnier than a green "O", big deal.  In fact, I'd go on record to say that they should tone down the funnies.  Less funny.  That's the way to go with this kind of thing.  Play it straight.  The audience that play this stuff  aren't in it for the funnies.  They're in it for the Axe+2.

Character creation is good.  You pick 7 from about 30 skills, all with further skills to pick as your level increases.  These can range from the obvious (sword, axes etc) to the slightly icky (fleshomancer).  It gives a good range of characters and lots of different ways to play.  This is where games like this come into their own.  They're puzzles, like the Rubik's cube but not really.  Got beat trying it one way?  Start again but with a different approach.  Somewhere there is that mythical perfect build that'll mean you walk it.

It also has crafting.  You can make potions, armour, weapons, omelettes (yeah, that's the humour again) if you have the correct skills.  On the plus side this means access to some decent stuff, but on the down side it means cluttering up your inventory with endless lumps of metal and broken clock bits.  It's hardly groundbreaking but it adds another dimension to things and provides a welcome break from just endlessly killing birds with plastic beaks.

DoD (see, told you) is a perfectly serviceable game.  If you're the kind of person that does this kind of thing (and I reckon you will know that by now) then give it a go.  I've happily spent about 20 hours on it over the past few days and it's like £3.50 or something.  And it's about 150MB so it takes minutes to download.  Why not?  What have you got to lose?  Live a little.  Broaden your horizons.  Try it, you might like it.  What's the problem?  Give it a go.  A little of what you fancy does you good.

God!  Grow up.  Deal with your issues.

You're so insecure, you make me sick.

Hello World

This will be a blog, probably about games and stuff, eventually.

In fact, probably about old games, and weird games and possibly the odd blockbuster depending on whether I get my grubby little mitts on it.  But usually it will be stuff I get off Steam or in charity shops for bobbins.  Because I am poor.

The first one I'm going to drop my little pearls of wisdom into the bosom of the world about is called Dungeons of Dredmor.  I got it off Steam. 

For bobbins.