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Friday, 13 November 2009

Dungeon Master (Amiga)

Through time, there have been games that have been groundbreaking, revolutionary and system defining. Those games are remembered still, and will be as long as people continue to write about the history of videogames. Better yet, they will continue to be played, such is their legendary status.

If there's one game that defined the Commodore Amiga for me, it's Dungeon Master. And yet, I never really played it. As I've mentioned before, I never owned an Amiga, and relied on trips to my mate's house for brief sojourns into 16-bit territory. And Dungeon Master isn't a two-player game, and nor is it something you can really share, so all I really got out of it was the excitement of watching and sharing an adventure.

Not any more. Now that the mate's Amiga is mine, I can have a Dungeon Master adventure of my own. That was what I thought... of course, that was one of the games that had gone missing from his collection. A scout around eBay rectified that problem, and a wee while later, I was on my way.

There's a moment in Dungeon Master, near the beginning, where you know there's no turning back. You've wandered around the top level, gazed at the not-very-attractive pictures of heroes, and chosen the character that feels best suited to you. And then you find yourself at the top of a flight of stairs... you know that as soon as you set foot on them, your adventure will truly begin...


In fact, this is the moment... one mouse click, and I'm in trouble...

It didn't take me long to realise that the game is far more intense and enjoyable when you're actually playing it. In fact, almost from the very start where I saw myself chased down a corridor by a mummy, I was well and truly hooked. The fact that the mummy was a slowly-shambling monster didn't make it any less frightening... when you're barely armed, it's more than scary enough.

I've played for a good while before writing this, and I'm pretty well hooked by now. I've found that you have to be careful where you save your game, though... if you save at the wrong moment, you could be playing the same part of the game over and over again before you realise you'll never have enough health and you'll have to start again. Not so bad if you're early on in the quest, but soul-destroying if you've been playing for hours.

Dungeon Master is a renowned classic, and rightly so. It's filled with enough horrors, tricks and traps to keep anyone enamoured for weeks. I'm thrilled to finally have the chance to play this at length... I intend to savour the experience.

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