Classic Game of the Week - Dungeon Keeper

The recent release of Overlord II reminds me how fundamentally I enjoy playing the mirthful villain. A role I can never really take on in a game like KOTOR or Fallout where villainous actions tend to be sadistic or cruel in very concrete terms, the more whimsical and candy-coated my trip to the dark side, the happier I am.

This approach is defined by Bullfrog’s Dungeon Keeper, a classic PC game by any definition. I would have words with anyone who suggests that malevolence with comedic overtones has ever been quite so well explored. Pistols at dawn, I would say, and then in a very Dungeon Keeper fashion I would shoot them in the back, cackeling with glee as I waited for cavorting imps to drag their carcass to the graveyard. Casting the player in the role of an evil disembodied hand taked with creating an impervious and trap laden dungeon was, frankly, a stroke of genius. If I were to chart Peter Molyneaux’s career on graph paper, here is the mountain peak.

What helped to define and separate DK was that it did not put the player into the role of construction worker so much as architect. While creatures were not exactly autonomous, they would carry about their own mischief outside of direct intervention, even at times to the detriment of the player. The strategy of laying out an imposing and sophisticated dungeon became a critical foundation of the game, and one had to make sure that it was appropriately devised to serve many needs. At any moment, one had to manage their finances, make sure enemies were blocked out of sensitive areas, keep fighting minions separated and create easy access to key services. I suppose when you write it out like that, it can be hard to understand precisely why this is fun, but a dungeon shouldn't just be a big haphazard cavern. It should be a home; an evil home.

Embracing the pleasure of evil, and sometimes just taking a minute to slap an imp around for just no good reason at all, was a new and devilishly welcome exploration of gameplay. Though Bullfrog was folded a few years later and much of its staff sent to the pits to work on Harry Potter games (true) before the completion of DK 3, the original still stands apart, and is my Classic Game of the Week.

Comments

There's this:
(via Kotaku, last December)

"Dungeon Keeper Online, as the game will be known as, is to be developed by Chinese studio NetDragon Websoft. As part of the deal,. NetDragon will get access to all of Dungeon Keeper's 'themes, characters and other game content', while EA will get access to (provided the game succeeds) large amounts of cash money.

Apart from the fact it's a '3D massively multi-player online role playing game, nothing else about the game was announced. Sadly for Western lovers of the franchise, the game is slated to appear only in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau."

http://kotaku.com/5100216/ea-announce-dungeon-keeper-mmo

Looks like we're out of luck over here. If it's any good, that is.

Both were awesome, but quite a lot of changes were made to 2 that made Reaper-spam a lot easier by simply building a giant temple area. As a result the focus shifted somewhat away from the normal units.

Sacrificing guys to find combos that worked was always fun, except when you accidentally cast a) Turn all your units into chickens, followed up by the classic b) Kill all chickens

Burnt Toast wrote:

Also, it seemed like they nerfed some of the minor details I really liked by negating some of the bonuses or negatives based on dungeon design. For instance, in the first version the wizards liked a library that was quiet. So, if you had it down a long hallway with thick walls away from other rooms, they would research spells faster. Research was slowed if it was one wall away from the training room or other creatures kept running through it - and the wizards got upset more, too. Trolls needed lots of food, and fast, so you'd better have a big nursery near their training room so they can train, eat, and get right back to training.

That kind of mechanic might have annoyed some but I thought such a level of detail, even so small, was just that much more fun.

On the bright side, you could build a casino in DK-II and if a minion hit the jackpot the entire dungeon stopped to dance to "Disco Inferno."

IIRC, that type of thing still exists. I think libraries need doors for quiet, and most workrooms work faster if they're not a traffic route. Also (and I have no idea how you would have found these out without the internet) different room configurations unlocked elite versions of units; elite goblins, for example, can show up if you have a 3x3 lair with a hatchery in each corner.

MAN I want GOG to get this. If it's not forthcoming, I'm-a have to dig out my disks...

I played Evil Genius until 3am... I hate this thread.

Dungeon Keeper is one of those games Karla really got into, she played the hell out of both of them. To me, this was the height of Peter Molyneux making a "game" rather than a series of events created to make me feel something. I liked Fable 2 quite a bit, but there's a lot of concepts without much gameplay payoff spanning the time between those two games.

I was actually thinking about this Game today on my drive into work. It is such a great idea, it is a shame more games were not made exploring this idea.

I have an old DKII disk laying around but it is really unstable on XP. If someone(gog) were to re release I would buy it instantly. We might even get some GWJ multi-player going!

Kier wrote:

I have an old DKII disk laying around but it is really unstable on XP. If someone(gog) were to re release I would buy it instantly. We might even get some GWJ multi-player going!

When I played it on XP, I don't remember having to jump through hoops to get it running, but it definitely was a bit unstable. SAVE OFTEN! It was rare I played through an entire level without a CTD.

I just got DK2 for $12 on ebay. I need to try and find DK1 with the Deeper Dungeons expansion for a reasonable price.

Personally I loves me some "bioware style" sadistic and cruel evilness on occasion, but a bit of larger than life comedy villian action never goes amiss either

Schmutzli wrote:

There's this:
(via Kotaku, last December)

"Dungeon Keeper Online, as the game will be known as, is to be developed by Chinese studio NetDragon Websoft. As part of the deal,. NetDragon will get access to all of Dungeon Keeper's 'themes, characters and other game content', while EA will get access to (provided the game succeeds) large amounts of cash money.

Apart from the fact it's a '3D massively multi-player online role playing game, nothing else about the game was announced. Sadly for Western lovers of the franchise, the game is slated to appear only in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau."

http://kotaku.com/5100216/ea-announce-dungeon-keeper-mmo

Looks like we're out of luck over here. If it's any good, that is.

No real loss i think...one of the best things about the DK games is their fundamental "Britishness" (see also Fable, etc). They might have the raw materials but i REALLY doubt they'd get even halfway close to recapturing it.

You've managed to read my mind. I installed DK 2 last week and have been playing pretty constantly. I agree that it's probably the release of Overlord 2 that's sparked this wave of evil nostalgia. The other night the narrator was chiding me to go to bed.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

An awesome series. Just replayed DK2 last month and it really holds up.

I love the Dungeon Keeper Series but my favorite random thing of the games is when they win at the casino and start playing disco inferno or something like that.

I really should replay these games, such a great choice of game

Burnt Toast wrote:
drexle wrote:

Also, it can't be overstated that slapping was an important game mechanic. I seem to remember minions that would get unhappy if they weren't getting slapped enough.

Absolutely! Slapping them increased imps' speed, and the right amount kept them happy - but too many slaps in a row and "pop" - splash of blood and time to get a new one.

I don't think imps liekd beign slapped, but they got lazy if you didn't... the dark mistresses ont he other hand enjoyed being slapped/tortured/torturing. Give two Dark Mistresses a torture chamber and they'd amuse themselves for hours on end.

Rainsmercy wrote:

I just got DK2 for $12 on ebay. I need to try and find DK1 with the Deeper Dungeons expansion for a reasonable price.

Now you've made me sad, I never got my copy of DD back from John, though he says he dropped it off at the store, I never saw it again.

Nosferatu wrote:

I don't think imps liekd beign slapped, but they got lazy if you didn't... the dark mistresses ont he other hand enjoyed being slapped/tortured/torturing. Give two Dark Mistresses a torture chamber and they'd amuse themselves for hours on end.

Ah, I think you're right about the imps, as I reflect more on it.

Definitely true of the Dark Mistresses, though. There was a bit of controversy in the day about how explicitly they were portrayed in DK2 - besides their costumes and "happy" groans while in the torture chamber, they would put themselves in some very interesting positions on the equipment.

Still can't quite believe what they got away with. Hot Coffee? Pshaw!

All this praise of DK and DK2 makes me want to play them very badly, since I missed out on them when they were released. I see that DK2 is all over ebay, but with the comments about it being very unstable (I use XP), I think I'll just wait and hope that it shows up on GOG. I would definitely buy them both from GOG.

I'm thinking Certis should show this thread to the guys at GOG. Maybe it can convince them to make this happen sooner rather than later.

One of the best PC Games ever made, no DK3 has been a CRIME!

All I could ever think about was a DK multiplayer game where you had a keeper designing the dungeon and other humans coming in as the heroes. Would have been fantastic and now it looks like something like that, a DK3 mmo, will be released in China!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WTF!!!

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008...

http://ir.netdragon.us/game/dungeonk...

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

The Western Market P.C. games industry has seriously started down the slide into the abyss all I see is a future of fps games, sigh were all doomed.

jam3 wrote:

One of the best PC Games ever made, no DK3 has been a CRIME!

All I could ever think about was a DK multiplayer game where you had a keeper designing the dungeon and other humans coming in as the heroes. Would have been fantastic and now it looks like something like that, a DK3 mmo, will be released in China!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WTF!!!

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008...

http://ir.netdragon.us/game/dungeonk...

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

The Western Market P.C. games industry has seriously started down the slide into the abyss all I see is a future of fps games, sigh were all doomed.

*cough*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stengah wrote:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ow. !helping.

So F'ing amazing. One of my all time favorites. I still laugh at the sound the vampires made when they got pissed.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
nukacola23 wrote:

Just installed it and ran in in compatibility mode? Did you have to jump through any hoops to get to play on a modern system?

None that I can remember. Mind you, my memory is notoriously faulty.

Didn't notice anything either. I did turn on win95 compatibility mode after the first crash and that seems to have helped. Had no further crashes.

The thing I remember most about Dungeon Keeper was the anticipation for the game. I remember seeing a preview for DK in a magazine (probably Next Generation) and I just knew I had to have that game when it came out. I wasn't that big of a Moleneux fan at the time (nor did I dislike his games) but there was just something about Dungeon Keeper that appealed to me. I searched high and low for screens and all the info I could find about the game before it came out.

Dungeon Keeper was awesome. For some reason though, I never picked up DK2.

I had never heard of Dungeon Keeper until a demo disc was given to me. I played that demo until 5 am. I had to buy the game after that and ended up spending countless hours perfecting my dungeons.

I've never beat either of the games, but I did manage to play a few multiplayer matches. I never won any of those either.