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Felicitous greetings and fanciful salutations my friends, foes, and fans! (Didja notice those big words? Not bad for a high-school dropout, huh?) Everybody's buddy, Oddcube here, saying welcome to the column! In the odd instance that you might be a n00b, or first timer, I shall elucidate about my intention with these articles. Basically, the movers and shakers behind this wonderful website have entrusted who? Me! To show who? You! About the niftiest and dandiest things and stuff that have come and gone! That's right; I'm here to tell you about some UFOs! As in: Unfortunately Forgotten Objects! LOL, I made that up myself. This month, we're going to talk about a game. See, any gamer worth his tokens knows that at the recent Blizz-Con, they announced the next expansion to World of Warcraft. That has nothing to do with this review, really, I just figured saying "World of Warcraft" and "Blizz-Con" would help my article pop up in web searches…so I guess we can all see what sort of underhanded opportunist I really am! Hey, at least I'm honest about it! Seriously, though, the new expansion is called "Cataclysm" and they're wreaking havoc all over the core world, redesigning all the zones that everyone is used to. Well, the post-apocalyptic version of some of these lands reminded me of another game. That game is called "Dungeon Keeper". I first found out about Dungeon Keeper in an ad in Dragon Magazine (I can say that here, right? Even though they're competition?) Anyway, it's a PC game where you get to build a dungeon and attract monstrous minions and fend off ardent adventurers and heroes who have come to harass you. Wait, I better get the boring stuff out of the way so I can get to the good parts. So, it was developed at Bullfrog Productions under the supervision of a guy named Peter Molyneux (apparently an important name in the history of video games). It was released through Electronic Arts in July of 1997. In November, an expansion pack followed, called "The Deeper Dungeons", and in 1999 by the sequel, "Dungeon Keeper 2".
Okay, now on to the cool stuff! So, Dungeon Keeper is a real-time strategy (RTS) game. You, the player, look down on the game board. Your cursor looks like a hand, and is referred to as the "Hand of Evil". Your mission is to conquer the world! …One land at a time. You come equipped with a handful of imps to start each level with. Imps are your all-purpose lackeys. They dig out areas that you tell them to dig, clearing the area for rooms or hallways. They mine out gold and gems. They claim territory for you, so you can build rooms or drop your minions there. They fortify your walls. They set traps. They're totally indispensable. You get other monstrous minions, too; lured to your dungeon by the various rooms you have built. First your imps have to claim a Portal, so these new monsters can get in. Lairs will attract even the weakest of monsters, like Flies and Beetles. Hatcheries that provide food are required to feed your minions, and if they are of a certain size, they attract some creatures, like the gluttonous Bile Demons. Libraries attract Warlocks, who use the library to research spells and new types of rooms. Training Rooms allow your minions to gain levels, and also attract Demon Spawn. Workshops attract Trolls, who can then build you doors and traps. Prisons allow you to hold your enemies; if they die there they become Skeletons under your command. Torture Chambers attract Mistresses, plus they allow you to torture prisoners for information (usually revealing parts of that level's map). Sometimes the prisoners join you just to stop the torture; otherwise, they die and become Ghosts at your command. A Barracks room will attract Orcs, who are better fighters than Demon Spawn. If you build Cemeteries, your imps will drag dead bodies to it, and eventually you'll get Vampires. I know this probably sounds a little overwhelming, but it's not really. They only start you with a couple of rooms, and you get one new room per level until you finally have them all. Another cool thing is that you can change the angle that you look at the board. With the Control button (I think it is) and the arrow keys, you can completely rotate the board to look at it from any angle. Plus, you get this nifty possess spell that allows you to take control of ANY one of your minions and walk through the dungeon with a firstperson perspective. You can also use any attack that your possessed minion has at its disposal. Let's see… Oh! You can use the Hand of Evil to slap your minions around, which makes them work faster at…whatever that minion is currently working on, whether it's digging, or training, or researching, or whatever. You can also pick up piles of gold that have been mined, or pots of gold dropped by a slain enemy instead of waiting for your imps to collect it. You can then drop it on one of your minions (this makes them happy) or drop it in your Treasure Room. Usually, you go about your business, building your dungeon, and after a while (I think it's strictly a time-elapse thing) some adventurers show up. So you have to kill
them. Then the Lord of the Land shows up. The Lord of the Land is a better warrior with better armor, and usually killing him is how you win the level. Sometimes, though, there is ANOTHER Dungeon Keeper (run by the computer) all ready operating in the land, and you have to wipe out his Dungeon Heart…oh yeah. You always start with a room that holds your "Dungeon Heart". This is basically your own life force. If your enemies get to your Dungeon Heart and destroy it, you lose the level! Sure, you can try the level over. But ya still lost! Anyway, sometimes you have to kill the Lord of the Land. Sometimes you have to wipe out your rival's Dungeon Heart. Sometimes, you have to do BOTH! Some levels, of course, are harder than others. Some of them I would describe with words that I can't get away with here if I want the article to be posted. Before you enter a level this voice tells you the name of the place, usually something silly like "Eversmile" or "Cosyton", and laments how happy the denizens are "because they are not punished for non-existent crimes!" Then, after you complete the level, the voice tells you about the renamed land, usually something like "Darkanna", and how miserable the few survivors are now that you're in charge. Once you conquer a land, you go back to the world map and that land is all burned and ruined. So, once you conquer the whole world, all the seas have dried up, and the continent is a big, smoldering mess! (Hence the weak link to that World of Warcraft intro.) So, as you can see, there's a lot of pain and suffering and lots of pointless fighting and death. So, it's obviously a fun game! They even rate you at the end of each level with how efficiently you played, and how much style you had. Also how much time it took you to complete the level. And a quickly-scrolling box tells you how many monsters your dungeon attracted, how much gold you collected, how many traps you set, how many minions died, and about a hundred other things! There are also some bonus levels…that I'm not really sure how you get. I'm not sure if it involves your time rating, or efficiency rating, or what. Some, but not all, are unlocked by finding an artifact in certain levels. There are some little extras, like birthday notices for members of the design team, and silly little couplets at the start of the game. But these are linked to the calendar, and can be triggered by changing the date on your computer. There is a player-vs.-player capability, but you both need the disk to play, so I've never been able to do that. There is a Dungeon Keeper 2. I got them both as a 2-disk set at a Wal-Mart some years back. They are available at Amazon, but the prices are ridiculous! There were advertisements for a Dungeon Keeper 3, but the game was never released. In December of 2008, NetDragonWebsoft Inc. announced their agreement with Electronic Arts to develop an MMORPG (that's a Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game) based on Dungeon Keeper. Sadly, it is only slated to appear in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. But, it's one of the games I like best and one of my favoritest ways to waste time!
So let's see what kind of rating I can get for it on the ol' D&D percentage dice! Oh yeah, in case you're new…a zero-one means it totally stinks, while a double-zero actually means one hundred percent, per-fecto, you couldn't ask for anything better! So I shall give my handy-dandy dice a roll like that…and end up with a sixty-eight!
…I must be using the wrong dice! I KNOW it's better than that! Oh well, that's just one idiot's opinion, and you don't have to accept it! No sirree! You could track down the game and rate it yourself! Meanwhile, that's all the news that is news that's fit to use in my reviews, so I'll see ya next month when I talk about…uh… something else! Be there and be square! -----Your buddy, Oddcube