@ Roguelike games

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I'm going through a little bit of an obsessive period about roguelikes. Happened last january too (it has to be the weather...), but at that time I only read and downloaded lots, without ever getting around to playing anything. This year I did some research on Roguebasin, the GameSetWatch @Play column, found a bunch of reviews scattered around and downloaded (again!) lots of games.
This time it really looks like I'm gonna try for real, and I actually got started on POWDER on my DS. So far, liking it a lot. I also tried a bit of DoomRL which seems very fun and accessible.
Other downloads include usual suspects Rogue, Hack, Nethack, CRAWL, Angband and some variants, ADOM, and some less known ones like IVAN and Xenocide. Haven't even tried them though.
Now, keeping in mind that I'm a complete n00b and that all my knowledge about the genre is quite shallow and second hand, does anybody have any good recommendations about where to continue? I seem to understand that of the two big ones Nethack is a lot about learning absurd secrets, and Angband tends to get overly "grindy" given the length, so they don't sound too exciting after all. But maybe some Angband variants are more interesting? Or is there other stuff that's more compelling?
Just shoot, it's about time GWJ had some proper discussion about this weird, old-fashioned but fascinating and rewarding genre!

Nice thread.

*snacks on Tinned Shopkeeper*

Well, thanks to Rogebasin, there are almost as many roguelikes as there are playstyles. It really depends on what you're looking for. I like the "coffeebreak" categorization they use for relatively short and simple RLs like the original Rogue and DoomRL and DiabloRL. I've been messing with SewerJacks lately, which is a pretty silly one. My favorite angband variant is Zangband. My preferred "more complicated than rogue, but not ridiculously so" is Moria, which is very Diablo-like. I haven't yet found a sci-fi one that I like, but I'm always looking.

What I didn't like about Moria was that the levels are not persistent.

Nethack's complexity is so ridiculous that I played it with a FAQ and save backups. Total cheating, I know, but I'm not a fan of hiding so much information from the player without any real in-game way to learn it except an insane amount of play or looking at the code.

I'll second Zangband as one of the better Angband variants. I played it to death about 10 years ago when it was still undergoing active development.

I never won Zangband, but I did get close, maxing out my character's level. It's definitely a brutal game - I don't know if I could pick it back up again seriously. But then most roguelikes are brutal. "Unforgiving" is about the kindest thing you can say about them.

(I've played NetHack and never understood the appeal. An FAQ is practically required if you've never played it before.)

There's also Dwarf Fortress's adventure mode.

Nethack sounds more and more like something I don't want to play... I read that Hack is less FAQ-dependent, there is a version here.
Inspired by the talk about Moria I found this modern interpretation. But what about the classic one? There is both Moria and UMoria, which one is best, and do they have windows binaries? Also looking into Larn/ULarn, anyone knows anything about those?
Talking about coffebreak RL I tried Berserk! as well, but found it too limited for its own best. I want some character advancement after all... Dwarf Fortress adventure mode looks interesting, but kind of useless unless you have some old fortresses to explore (which I don't, since I haven't dared seriously tackle that game yet).

I think UMoria is the one with windows binaries, it's not much different from Moria other than ported for other systems.

Best coffee break RL: Java Rogue http://www.hexatron.com/rogue/index....? Just don't navigate away from the page in the middle of a game!

Nethack is not something you play, it is something you study, like Go, but never really master.

I agree about the absurd complexities of nethack, but having played it for years, I can say that there's a lot about it you can figure out on your own. If you're starting out, there's some beginner FAQs that can give you a pretty solid description of game mechanics without giving too much away, or making you feel dependent on esoteric bits of lore.

How is DoomRL and DiabloRL? I've been playing some roguelikes on my laptop and have been looking for more.

DiabloRL I can't comment on, but DoomRL is very good, albeit too simple for some people. Fast paced, few commands, only ranged attacks, a little bit of char advancement, comparatively nice graphics. Try it, it's easy to learn. I haven't tried the latest version though, so some of it may have changed.

Ok, I started looking into Zangband, and the question is: which version do I play? Found ZangbandTk at the Home of the Underdogs (nice, but I'm a sucker for ASCII), and it's based on ver 2.4.0. The latest stable version seems to be 2.6.2, but development progressed a lot after that: www.zangband.org has 2.7.3, sourceforge 2.7.4b and 2.7.5 preview I. So which one is THE version?

The Diablo one is just a 7-Day hack, I think it only has two or four levels. I don't know if it's still in development or not. The Doom one is really good for coffeebreaks and has a really nice sound effect and music system if you turn it on. The skill system is pretty simple, but fun to mess with, and it has a pretty good difficulty and scenario setup.

il dottore wrote:
So which one is THE version?

The one that you can find the most documentation for is the one to play. Minor point releases probably aren't going to make much difference to you until you've been playing a long time and have it mastered.

Oh, and it may be hard to find, but I heard some noise about a DS game called Izuma that's basically a roguelike with a teenage japanese ninja girl and pretty graphics. I've not played it myself and the reviews are mixed.

Re: Zangband, it depends on what you like. Older versions (2.4 era) had fixed quests and a less elaborate overworld. IIRC, 2.7 era took out the fixed quests, expanded the overworld greatly, and changed the combat some.

I prefer 2.4 era myself, back when there were less people involved in the development. At some point there were too many cooks in the kitchen, development became much less focused, and the project started to get kind of messy. In my opinion anyway.

Mixolyde wrote:
Oh, and it may be hard to find, but I heard some noise about a DS game called Izuma that's basically a roguelike with a teenage japanese ninja girl and pretty graphics. I've not played it myself and the reviews are mixed.

If by "mixed" you mean they range from mediocre to terrible.

LobsterMobster wrote:
Mixolyde wrote:
Oh, and it may be hard to find, but I heard some noise about a DS game called Izuma that's basically a roguelike with a teenage japanese ninja girl and pretty graphics. I've not played it myself and the reviews are mixed.

If by "mixed" you mean they range from mediocre to terrible.

I played that one. It held my interest for enough hours to call it a worthwhile game. If you want a modern Rogue-like, you could do worse. I think the reviews were negative because people were looking for more than a dressed up Rogue.

By "mixed" I meant ranging from terrible to "this game is great if you like roguelikes and don't mind japanese weirdness." There were a few that really liked it in context.

A few years ago, there was a thread like this, and somebody linked to a graphical roguelike that I got really hooked on at the time. I remember you levelled up by traversing dungeon levels, not by fighting monsters, and you got to pick a bunch of special attributes for your character, who was represented by what looked like "borrowed" sprite art.

I know that's a pretty poor description, but does anyone know which game I am talking about? I've tried to track it down again, but to no avail.

EDIT: AHA! Using the resources in this thread (and 2 brain cells) I have found it at last. Lost Labyrinth

There's FastCrawl, too, which is quite fun. Not as deep as your average roguelike, but nice to while away 30-90 minutes per game.

Whoa, I didn't know so many of you played rougelikes. My favorite is still Nethack... (I play Slash'em more though. It's a nethack varient) I play Angband quite a bit as well.

Though, I've gotta say... I've been playing for ten freaking years. Regularly. And I've never beaten the damned thing. Not once. Usually I get my ass kicked before I can ditch the amulet.

Well, I had a chance to try Izuna and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon on DS. They're OK, I guess... I didn't play long enough (and I'm not experienced enough) to give a proper opinion, so all I can say is: they look nice, they have a good interface, and they annoy me. Izuna has a lot of the quirky japanese humor (you know, people getting all ball-eyed and sweaty when they are surprised/embarassed, that kind of thing...) and Pokemon, well, you become a frickin' Pokemon, and that's bad enough. Also, too much dialog.
Gameplay-wise the one annoying thing, which is apparently common in japanese RLs, is that when you die you don't actually die, you "just" lose your equipment and get thrown back to town. Now I might be a masochist, but I like permadeath, as it makes all your decisions meaningful, and it feels like this japanese method can easily turn the game into a big grind.
Also, I'd like to throw in a renewed recommendation for POWDER. It's great if you have a DS, since it's made for that system, but it works on Windows too, and the step from stylus to mouse using the new excellent interface isn't a very long one.
Now come on people, post!

One roguelike I've had a lot of fun with in the past is Omega. It's as large as ZAngband in terms of the potential time commitment, but does a better job of making the game fun. One interesting aspect is that certain dungeons have their design pre-specified in a text file, and you can edit those files to change the dungeon. For one, "The Eater of Magic" if I remember correctly, I added a ton of loot tiles right inside the entrance as a cheap way to beef up my character without doing any work. It appears that there are now two separate distributions, so I'll just link the wiki and let you pick:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_(1987_computer_game)

Well the character creation is definitely unique! You get to play yourself, after answering a bunch of personal questions that determine your stats, brilliant!
How is the gameplay though? I worry that it's a bit unfocused, lacking direction, kind of like ADOM from what I understand...

il dottore wrote:
Well the character creation is definitely unique! You get to play yourself, after answering a bunch of personal questions that determine your stats, brilliant!
How is the gameplay though? I worry that it's a bit unfocused, lacking direction, kind of like ADOM from what I understand...

Hmmm, yes, that's true. But you could also say that it's open-ended, allowing you to make you're own story. It's definitely much more than descending to level 50 and ascending again like a lot of other games in this genre.

Gameplay in Omega is more quest-directed than in ZAngband, but still sufficiently open-ended that you can really just ignore the quests and go kill stuff if you want to. I like the game's rather quirky feel and the fact that there are semi-relevant quests to accomplish instead of just a vague excuse to become uber as in many roguelikes (Moria and Angband, for example). ADOM seems pretty fun as well, but I've never spent the time to figure it out.

I've been giving this some thought, and I'm not sure I like the idea of fixed quests + permadeath. I'm not sure if this applies to Omega as well, but from what I read one big issue many have with ADOM is that there are a bunch of quests that are more or less compulsory (I don't think it's a open-ended as Omega, there's quite a bit of pressure on you to get things done) and that take place in fixed locations with fixed monsters. I think I'd find that infuriating, going through the same bloody quest a million times! In my view permadeath requires randomly generated content. Gearhead has randomly generated quests, which might be a good way to give you purpose other than becoming uber without forcing you to repeat stuff all the time. It depends a lot on how good the quest generator is i suppose.

I downloaded the demo for FastCrawl last night. It's a pretty cool little coffee break game, might be worth the $20 after I finish/get bored with some other games I have around. Too bad my work computer faces the rest of the office.

I'm late joining this party, but I just fell head-over-heels for roguelikes. I'd always had a passing interest in them, but never put in the work to learn how to play them.

A couple of weeks ago, my apartment was burglarized. They got 2 HD tvs, a PS3, a Wii, & an Xbox 360, among a few other things. Rather than let that get me down, I decided to go back to those halcyon days of my teens, when I was exclusively a PC gamer (thankfully, the burglars didn't touch my desktop). So, at long last, I'm not a roguelike player.

Just playing Nethack and ADOM at the moment, and boy are they amazing! I gotta say, though, I'm vastly preferring barebones ASCII graphics to any kind of hackjob tilesets. I want to try out a sci-fi roguelike - anyone know if Gearhead is any good?

One big reason I'm getting into them is that I'd like to start developing a hybrid of a roguelike and a CCG/TCG (drops are cards instead of items, etc). And lastly, I'm chronicling my roguelike characters in my Twitter, at www.twitter.com/jakemix if you're interested in following me.

I don't know about Gearhead, but DOOM the roguelike is surprisingly fun.

Also worth playing is Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup. I find it less impenetrable than nethack. On the other hand, I guess some folks like that.

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