Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Retro Videogames: Dungeon Master (1985)

a personal selection of retro favourites.

Dungeon Master by FTL is such a wonderful and seminal game. I bought an ATARI ST just to play it. Some things just feel right when you experience them, and everything about Dungeon Master is pitch perfect right. From the initial selection of your adventurers to the brilliantly atmospheric environment and fear of light giving way to dark doom as you travel deeper into the dungeon, the game is awash with epic and memorable moments.

Anyone who has played it has their own. Mine is entering a huge hall several levels down for the first time, torches flickering their last gasps and suddenly hearing a shriek behind my group. Spinning around we came face to face with a bunch of psychotic Ghosts hell bent on providing a quick death to one and all. The moment further enhanced as the lights finally went out. I don't think I've swore so much, ran so blindly fast, and produced so many "OOoof's!!" as I bounced from wall to wall trying to escape from their north, south, east and west clutches. "Well, ok, now how the hell am I supposed to kill those bastards then?!" Moments make games great and that was a fucking 10/10.

Dungeon Master is perfect in that it knows its limits. One step forward - run like hell a dozen more back to escape. Cool puzzles that required much head scratching back in 1985. The solutions to which were always of the "DOH!!" variety. Pressure pads, hidden buttons, the hunt for food and water, killing everything and eating everything no matter how icky they looked, learning spells, finding badass weapons and hefting armour until your group were the toughest sons of bitches on the planet.That was what Dungeon Master was about. Brilliant, fantastic, superb and utterly addicting.


For me, Dungeon Masters greatest claim to fame is not the game itself, but more that it was the inspiration for an even greater game to come. That game was called CAPTIVE on the Amiga. More about that another time.
So raise your flaggon of steaming brew to Dungeon Master, a truly classic game from a more imaginative era and a worthy entry into the ELECTRIC PIX Hall of Videogaming Fame.


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