Dungeon Keeper 2 (PC) review
"Dungeon Keeper 2 is quite simply one of my favorite games. It was the sequel to the hugely popular Dungeon Keeper 1 and improves so much on that already excellent game that it has achieved the status of pure strategy game heaven. Ironic really when the game sees you take on the role of the Keeper of an underground dungeon dedicated to smiting the forces of good and establishing your evil reign across the land! "
Dungeon Keeper 2 is quite simply one of my favorite games. It was the sequel to the hugely popular Dungeon Keeper 1 and improves so much on that already excellent game that it has achieved the status of pure strategy game heaven. Ironic really when the game sees you take on the role of the Keeper of an underground dungeon dedicated to smiting the forces of good and establishing your evil reign across the land!
As described above, the game is fairly straightforward plot wise. Your job is to take control of a series of ever growing dungeons. With each level more rooms, traps and creatures become available to you. You must then use these creature to achieve your primary goal which is to work your way though a 20 mission campaign mode. Initially you face weak heroes trying to prevent your evil doing. But soon you have to battle rival keepers and huge goodly armies commanded by ever more powerful Lords of the Land. Defeating each Lord gives you a gem, collect all 20 and you can open the portal to the upper world and wreak havoc with Horny the Demon by your side!
Aiding you in your quest are various monsters you attract into your dungeon. These range from the Trolls who toil in your workshops, the Warlocks who research your spells, the Dark Mistresses who torture and convert enemies and the fearsome Dark Angels who can raise the dead and lay waste to even the most powerful Lord of the Land.
The gameplay is sublime. Your interface with your dungeon is the Hand of Evil. Instead of a mouse pointer you have a hand. Use this to mark out territory you wish your faithful imps to dig up, land you wish claimed, rooms you want built as well as choosing option from the easy to read menu bars. Most brilliant of all is the ability of the hand to interact with your minions. Right click to administer a hefty slap and watch the terrified creature start working all the harder! Pick up a creature and drop them where ever you want, but prepare for grumbles if you hold them too long.
This is probably the most important part of the game. Grumbling, unhappy creatures soon get mad and leave your dungeon. You must supply them with the rooms they like to work in, lairs to sleep in, money for wages, chickens to eat and a casino to keep them amused. The whole game is full of lovely touches, for example a creature winning the jackpot in the casino triggers the song ''Disco Inferno'' and all creatures in there will proceed to strut their funky stuff.
As well as providing for your creatures needs, you need to pay attention to the layout of your dungeon. It should be easy for your creatures to get about in but also easy to defend and hard for enemies to attack. Luckily DK2 comes with a ''My Pet Dungeon'' mode. This allows you to build huge dungeons and trigger enemy attacks at will to help you get used to dungeon design, spells, traps etc.
Again this games excels graphically and aurally. The dark clunking sounds of your gloomy dungeon are accompanied by the gravel voiced game guide who is amusing and never irritating as he guides you through the games. Visually its a treat even without 3D acceleration. I play it on a PII-233. The frame rate can get choppy when a lot is happening on screen, for example during big battles, but mostly it looks fine.
Another departure from the original dungeon Keeper is the upgraded first person mode. A novelty in the original, in this game possessing a creature and using their skills is a must for full enjoyment. For example a Rogue can be possessed to go scouting unseen in an enemy dungeon. Possessing a warlock gives you access to a wide range of offensive spells and you can also lead reluctant minions into battle with a group possession.
This game is one that will last and last. Once you have completed the campaign mode there are always the pet dungeons to play with. You can attempt the campaign mission is a variety of ways, there is often no ''right'' way to finish a level. There is even an online mode, but I can't vouch for how good that is not having tried it myself.
BUY OR RENT?
This game can be picked up in a value pack for a paltry sum of money that includes the upgrade patches and manuals. For a few pounds you can purchase and amusing, long-lasting and enjoyably twisted take on a largely staid genre. Buy it, play it. Fall in love forever. Being evil shouldn't ever be this much fun!
Community review by falsehead (March 08, 2004)
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