Review by Derilaan

Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 11/01/99

Sensless but completely addictive dungeon crawling fun!

While hard to find except in RPG multipacks, Dungeon Hack is one of the best dungeon crawling RPGs out there, if you can put up with a few quirks.

The game is based around the Forgotten Realms campaign world of TSR / Dungeons and Dragons. You need to go find a special item for this sorceress and your payment is whatever else you find. Sounds pretty fair, right?

The absolute best thing about this game is the complete diversity and its range of options. Before you leave to go plunder the depths of the maze, you have to generate a character to play. You can use rolled stats or just do the obvious thing and up them all to max. You must pick your race and this determines what classes you can play. I usually played a half-elf because they can play what for me was the best class, a mage/cleric, but you can be a paladin, mage, thief, ranger, or anything else allowable by your alignment and race. Its important to pick a good class, because items will be placed in the dungeons based on this. It wouldn’t be very useful if you are a straight mage and find a two handed sword +3, so the game takes into consideration who you are and what you can use. Not very realistic, but still helpful.

Now the fun part. You can modify the dungeon you are in before you enter through rows of slider bars and switches. You can decide how many floors you would like in the game. You can decide if you want undead or not, want traps set, want hints, want an underwater level, how often you want doors to need keys, how often you want secret passageways, how strong poison is, if enemies can use spells, and how much food you consume. Even more things can be changed through this screen, or you can just set the pre-set defaults like “Easy” , “Hard” etc.

Every time you play this game, the entire dungeon is rebuilt, and by going through the game several times you still won’t see all the monsters or items to be found. Each floor has a different look. One time you may be strolling down marbled floors with tapestries along the walls, the next floor down will be nothing more than a tunnel with dripping ceilings.

Combat is “real time” only in that if you just stand there the monster is going to eat you piece by piece. You attack by clicking on your weapon hand, either to swing a weapon, shoot a wand, or read a scroll.

Walking around is step-based, but you can also set this to be smooth and not obvious.

The only complaint I had about this game is I felt as if the only way to survive without starving was to be a cleric. Food was consumed way too fast and was way too scarce even on the easiest settings. When you get into battle, you get hit, and when you rest your hunger increases. You can’t heal by resting when your food is out, so one way o another you are going to be loading a saved game when this happens.

One of the things I did like is that enemies could be super-strong on one floor, causing you to back up and level a bit on previous floors. I always set my monster level to the highest, but I’m sure people who don’t want to spend forever leveling will not enjoy this part of the game.

Dungeon hack is just one of those games you don’t know why you are playing over and over. Its pretty simple and there aren’t any towns or anything really other than endless hallways filled with monsters, but for treasure hunting fanatics and those who want some senseless monster slaying, I highly recommend this game!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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