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Game #5103
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  Dungeon Keeper Gold    View all Top Dogs in this genre
Strategy   God game or micromanagement

Rating: 9.06 (850 votes)

Dungeon Keeper Gold box cover

Dungeon Keeper Gold screenshot
One of the most unique and addictive "god games" ever made, Dungeon Keeper from Bullfrog represents a high watermark in Peter Molyneux's career and the quirky British outfit that practically invented the genre with Populous. There is plenty of reviews on the Internet that praise this masterpiece, but I find this review from Monkeycube to be one of the most concise:

"Dungeon Keeper Gold (an amalgam of earlier editions Dungeon Keeper and The Deeper Dungeons) explores the other side. As the all-powerful (and quite evil) dungeon keeper, you are responsible for creating those wonderful underground mazes and traps that the "good guys" attempt to get past. Those meddling do-gooders will try to get to the heart of your dungeon, banish your dark forces from their realm and preserve their peace-loving ways. So you're just going to have to kill them.

Simple enough, right? Wrong. Managing a dungeon is pretty complex: You have limited resources and space management issues. You've got to deal with the comfort level of your creatures (Hey, ogres are high-maintenance), not to mention finding the time to research your own library of spells.

You start the game with some simple creatures, such as beetles and flies. But as the game and maps grow more complex, so does the sophistication of your creatures. Several are of particular interest: The Bile Demon is a fat, slow-moving blocker that has the unique ability (as so many of us do in real life) to fart on his opponents, choking them. The Dark Mistress, who seems to be modeled after Angelina Jolie in a leather S&M outfit, revels in pain: Drop her in the torture chamber (used under "normal" circumstances to interrogate your enemies), and she'll get up on her hands and knees while the torturer whips her. And she really, really likes it! There's nothing like a whole coven of those vixens getting whipped at the same time, I'm telling you! (The game will actually tell you "Stop that, you'll go blind!" if you leave the cursor over the occupied torture chamber for too long.) The best creature is, of course, the most fickle. The Horned Reaper (affectionately nicknamed "Horny" — don't say that to its face if you want to live) is summoned by sacrificing a Bile Demon, a Troll and the Dark Mistress. The Reaper is bred for wholesale slaughter. YEAH, BABY! It has no powers, no spells, nothing. Just a crapload of hit points, and it can use its sickle to kill things in one pop. The downside? As long as it's training or killing it's happy, otherwise it'll easily get pissed off during downtime and start killing your own critters.

In Dungeon Keeper Gold, you get a total of 21 basic realms, named lovely things like "Snugglehat" and "Eversmile". Thankfully, once you have beaten the forces of light to a pulp, you get to rename each of the realms to more proper titles, such as "Brimstone Wood" and "Widow's Bite". The wonderfully demonic voice of your servant also adds new tidbits of information about the conquered realms, such as: "You'll be pleased to know anthrax has broken out, and the remaining inhabitants have happily taken to cannibalism!" Adding on the Deeper Dungeons expansion gives you 15 more ass-kicking realms to conquer, as well as a multiplayer feature.

The only throwback here is the graphics. In the current age of 3D/first person/Sims-dominant games, Dungeon Keeper is a little slice of DOS-looking nostalgia. Just remember, it's a game from 1997 and geared towards a Windows 95 or 98 environment. I'm running XP, but Dungeon Keeper worked fine once I ran the Program Compatibility Wizard." A must-have for every strategy fan. This "Gold" version for download includes the original game patched with Direct3D support, the Deeper Dungeons mission disk, multiplayer support, level editor, and a desktop theme for Windows 98. Both the original and the Gold version have severe A.I. etc. bugs unfortunately, but you can try to run the unofficial KeeperFX patch to enhance the experience some. (Link below takes you to the latest build as of 16/09)

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Peter Molyneux
Developer: Bullfrog
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Year: 1998
Software Copyright: Bullfrog
Theme: Unique, Fantasy, Design Tool
System Requirements: Oyn
Where to get it:
Related Links: KeeperFX Patch
If you like this game, try: Dominus, Populous II, Sacrifice

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