This one's a Keeper: Dungeon Keeper on GOG.COM

Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

Bullfrog's highly original strategy game Dungeon Keeper is another welcome addition to the Good Old Games library (even though they really should have thrown in the excellent Deeper Dungeons expansion for good measure). It's also a great way to start off GOG's new collaboration with publisher Electronic Arts, which will also bring us other classics like Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (which I think will benefit somewhat from GOG's regular compatibility tweaks) and Crusader: No Remorse (a game I never thought much of when it was new but apparently has its fair share of fans).

Some games provide very worthwile experiences without necessarily providing great mechanics, and Dungeon Keeper is a good example of this. It's not unfair to classify DK1's campaign as a series of thinly disguised puzzle scenarios which pretend to be a lot more strategical than they actually are, and most of the actual gameplay elements are pretty superficial and repetitive (a problem which the frequent addition of new room types help alleviate to some extent).

But while in purely mechanical terms Bullfrog might not exactly have created the ideal strategy game with Dungeon Keeper, there's no denying that the game is crammed with all sorts of cool features and unique concepts which hadn't really been seen in the genre before. The premise of creating a dungeon and inhabiting it with monsters ingeniously turns the conventional D&D-inspired fantasy narrative on its head, while still retaining the pleasure of exploring vast underground networks of caves (natural and/or man-made), much like you would in an RPG or conventional RTS game. The ability to possess the otherwise independent-minded monster inhabitants and experience the world form a first-person perspective might not be of much practical use, but it's a highly entertaining addition which takes full advantage of the game's 3D environments in a way which was simply mind-blowing back in 1997.

However, what makes DK one of my favorite games of all times is a curious combination of that anarchical humor which is so evident in the writing and art design on the one hand and the game's surprisingly thick atmosphere on the other. The spoken introductions to each campaign mission are frequently laugh-out-loud funny, and the cutscenes likewise do an excellent job of underlining the game's gleefully satirical take on tired fantasy conventions. At the same time, the amazingly detailed sound design and Russel Shaw's moody ambient music help create an unexpectedly immersive experience of being in a mysterious forgotten world where you're never quite sure what dark discoveries await your imps as they start digging their way deeper and deeper into the abyss...

Buy Dungeon Keeper here:

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/dungeon_keeper

#1 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

Bullfrog's highly original strategy game Dungeon Keeper is another welcome addition to the Good Old Games library (even though they really should have thrown in the excellent Deeper Dungeons expansion for good measure). It's also a great way to start off GOG's new collaboration with publisher Electronic Arts, which will also bring us other classics like Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (which I think will benefit somewhat from GOG's regular compatibility tweaks) and Crusader: No Remorse (a game I never thought much of when it was new but apparently has its fair share of fans).

Some games provide very worthwile experiences without necessarily providing great mechanics, and Dungeon Keeper is a good example of this. It's not unfair to classify DK1's campaign as a series of thinly disguised puzzle scenarios which pretend to be a lot more strategical than they actually are, and most of the actual gameplay elements are pretty superficial and repetitive (a problem which the frequent addition of new room types help alleviate to some extent).

But while in purely mechanical terms Bullfrog might not exactly have created the ideal strategy game with Dungeon Keeper, there's no denying that the game is crammed with all sorts of cool features and unique concepts which hadn't really been seen in the genre before. The premise of creating a dungeon and inhabiting it with monsters ingeniously turns the conventional D&D-inspired fantasy narrative on its head, while still retaining the pleasure of exploring vast underground networks of caves (natural and/or man-made), much like you would in an RPG or conventional RTS game. The ability to possess the otherwise independent-minded monster inhabitants and experience the world form a first-person perspective might not be of much practical use, but it's a highly entertaining addition which takes full advantage of the game's 3D environments in a way which was simply mind-blowing back in 1997.

However, what makes DK one of my favorite games of all times is a curious combination of that anarchical humor which is so evident in the writing and art design on the one hand and the game's surprisingly thick atmosphere on the other. The spoken introductions to each campaign mission are frequently laugh-out-loud funny, and the cutscenes likewise do an excellent job of underlining the game's gleefully satirical take on tired fantasy conventions. At the same time, the amazingly detailed sound design and Russel Shaw's moody ambient music help create an unexpectedly immersive experience of being in a mysterious forgotten world where you're never quite sure what dark discoveries await your imps as they start digging their way deeper and deeper into the abyss...

Buy Dungeon Keeper here:

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/dungeon_keeper

#2 Edited by Adamsons (877 posts) -

Oh my fucking God.
 
Want.
 
Edit - IT IS PAYDAY.

#3 Posted by countinhallways (632 posts) -

Happy days! 
  
I am growing to love GOG.

#4 Posted by FlamingHobo (4482 posts) -

Buying this asap! Also if they add Dungeon Keeper 2 to the roster at some point and are able to fix a number of compatibility issues I'll buy that in a shot. 

#5 Edited by ArbitraryWater (11626 posts) -

I actually bought this as well as Wing Commander Privateer and Ultima Underworld 1+2 the day they came out. I've had experience with Dungeon Keeper through... other means before, but I remember liking it then too. You're right in that it's not exactly the most strategic game in the world (I can't imagine the multiplayer being much fun after a match or two), but it has a deliberate charm with the way it gleefully exonerates the mass murder of the land's happy inhabitants. As someone who's first real exposure to Peter Molyneux was Fable, it's nice to see he was actually capable of making good games once. 

#6 Posted by SythonX7 (134 posts) -

Am I the only one that always gets Dungeon Keeper and Dungeon Siege mixed up? :) I know there nothing alike, its just the title.

#7 Posted by GetEveryone (4455 posts) -

Dungeon Keeper 2 is one of my favourite games of all time; haven't been able to play it for years due to the issues inherent in trying to get a 15 year old game to run on modern day machines. 
 
How does the first compare to the second? I may very well pick this up.

#8 Edited by Egge (446 posts) -

@ArbitraryWater: I'm a pretty big fan of Fable 2 (though not either of the other two games in that series), but I see what you're saying. I remember reading an interesting PC Gamer interview with Molyneux right after he finished work on DK1 (which I bought immediately after having read PCG's predictably glowing, somewhat hype-inflated review), and there was a real sense that in 1997 he was still one of the few big innovators in the business.

#9 Posted by blueduck (964 posts) -
@GetEveryone said:
Dungeon Keeper 2 is one of my favourite games of all time; haven't been able to play it for years due to the issues inherent in trying to get a 15 year old game to run on modern day machines.  How does the first compare to the second? I may very well pick this up.
The first one is way better than the second one.
#10 Posted by GetEveryone (4455 posts) -
@blueduck said:
@GetEveryone said:
Dungeon Keeper 2 is one of my favourite games of all time; haven't been able to play it for years due to the issues inherent in trying to get a 15 year old game to run on modern day machines.  How does the first compare to the second? I may very well pick this up.
The first one is way better than the second one.
For what reasons?
#11 Edited by Adamsons (877 posts) -
@GetEveryone said:

 How does the first compare to the second? I may very well pick this up.

Trying to remember what was different between them, it has been a loooong time.
 
The high end units differed a little, DK1 had demon spawn - dragons (which acted as pretty good researchers) whereas DK2 had black knights / fallen angels. 
 
The gameplay elements were pretty similar though, usually build a dungeon - explore - kill lord of the land, or you are pitted against enemy dungeon keepers.
#12 Posted by Galiant (2193 posts) -

@Egge: Thanks a lot! I've been waiting for this =)

#13 Posted by alternate (2696 posts) -

Nice, especially as back in the day my 'puter could never run the bit where you take over a mob and go first person.

#14 Posted by alternate (2696 posts) -

damn it looks rough.  any tips on tweeking dosbox or are my expectations just way too high?

#15 Posted by Galiant (2193 posts) -
@alternate
damn it looks rough.  any tips on tweeking dosbox or are my expectations just way too high?
You can press alt+R to get a slightly higher resolution at least.
#16 Posted by Egge (446 posts) -

@alternate: My answer to questions like this is always that you can get used to whatever graphics or interface a game has; just give it a few hours and I can virtually guarantee that you'll be quite comfortable even with stuff you thought looked absolutely horrible at first. Having said that, however, there is a convenient Windows-compatible mod called KeeperFX which lets you play in whatever resolution you want (1280*720 works just fine, for example), as long as you're comfortable with editing a .CFG file or two.

Just make sure to buy the game from GOG before using the mod, since it would appear that using KeeperFX without owning a copy of Dungeon Keeper could be highly problematic from a legal standpoint.

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