With my current misguided playthrough of Neverwinter Nights 2 in full swing (at least, until Dragon Age 2 comes out next week and ruins everything), I thought it best to once again take a look at all the obscure shit from the DOS era that none of you (or I) really have any deep knowledge of. Chances are, these games have a poorly formatted or poorly written walkthrough on GameFAQs mentioning usenet groups and at least one LP on Youtube. With my weird facsination with these kinds of games as well as the D&D bender I've been on recently, it makes sense to do one of these blogs themed around all the weird old D&D games that predate Baldur's Gate and thus any semblance of modern game design. That, and the other games I wanted to do wouldn't record video correctly. As always, these are the most surface of opinions, because chances are I only play these games for like an hour or two before making a swift and shallow judgment on them. Let's dig in, shall we?
While not quite "Snakes on a Plane" level of self explanatory titling, Dungeon Hack is exactly what you might think it is from the title. There will be no grand storytelling, nor lengthy dialog trees within Dungeon Hack. Instead, it's someone at SSI going "I understand those Eye of the Beholder games are quite popular. Why not make that, but with procedurally generated dungeons?" Thus, Dungeon Hack is a game made with the Eye of the Beholder engine that uses procedurally generated dungeons. Duh.
Dark Sun: Shattered Lands
Alright, so if we want to talk about games I had no idea existed until just around now, we can talk about this. First of all, it's in the Dark Sun campaign setting, a place I have very little knowledge about other than "Yo, maybe Deserts?" However, as far as I can tell everyone has Psionics, Half Giants and Bug people are races, and Wizards are called Preservers for some reason. But, the main advantage as far as I can see, is that the combat is pure turn based, which immediately endears me more than many of the other games I messed with (more on that next) because it also reminds me of Temple of Elemental Evil, a game that I still consider totally rad for those who care. Who knows, maybe this is the pre-Baldur's Gate D&D game I am capable of playing?
I would like to thank fellow old game type blogger Mento for name dropping both this and dungeon hack as "Mediocre old D&D games", and since I couldn't get any of the gold box games I *ahem* acquired to work, I settled for this game. First off, I had to look several times to make sure I spelled the title correctly. Then, I found out that this game is running on the same engine that later (or maybe earlier?) powered Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession and its sequel. Thus, it's the era when it was no longer cool to have your first person dungeon crawler bound to a grid (1994! The Future!) and also when bad polygonal graphics were all in vogue. This combination makes Menzo a much harder game to look at than many of its contemporaries. As far as I can tell, it's a fairly fleshed out D&D game from that era, you wander towns aimlessly, cursing that you didn't annotate your map the first time, and occasionally you dungeon crawl. I've seen an LP of Ravenloft, and if this is anything like how that ends up, I don't think I have the patience to play it. I almost had trouble putting out that building as in this video, hot off the video compressor!
And for fun, here's the list of games I tried before I picked this one: Darklands, Pool of Radiance, Pools of Darkness, Champions of Krynn, King's Bounty.