Dungeon Lords
New Updated Version

Format: PC

3 700265 654020
Age Restrictions: 12+
07 April 2006

The great wizard, Galdryn of the Meadows, has been slain by a deadly conspiracy within the Circle of Mages. His chief ally, Lord Davenmor, now struggles to save his kingdom from dark forces of the conspiracy and the onslaught of Lord Barrowgrim's army of marauders. Lord Davenmor has promised his daughter's hand in marriage to Lord Barrowgrim to quell the invasion, but her heart belongs to another and after learning of her father's pledge, she has vanished. Sensing treachery. Lord Barrowgrim has sent his army to destroy Lord Davenmor and raze the kingdom...

The launch of Dungeon Lords has been delayed considerably across Europe due to the fact that the original USA release was riddled with bugs. The "new updated version" sticker that is attached to this game is there to ease gamers minds that this is not the same bug packed version that was released in the USA.

The game is based on an idea by D.W. Bradley. Now that means about as much to me as algebra. Apparently Bradley is revered by many RPG gamers as a godfather of the genre, having worked on a number of PC RPG titles "including the Wizardry series (numbers 5, 6 and 7), Might and Magic and Wizards and Warriors." I'm afraid I'm still none the wiser, but for those of you that care, that's who is behind the basic story.

This game strips back all the flowery rubbish that seems to to have become the norm with RPGs currently on the market. If you like your RPG to be packed full of treasure hunting, monster slaying and generally slicing and dicing till the cows come home, then you won't be disappointed. If, on the other hand, you want some weak story where you have to save a beautiful maiden from a bunch of trolls, with the promise of a kiss (from the maiden, not the trolls) then your advised to look elsewhere.

A fusion of fighting and traditional role playing games, Dungeon Lords can be played solo, or a group of players can experience the plot together over LAN or Internet. The dungeons are large and well designed - which is just as well as you'll be spending a lot of time there. The gameplay takes a bit of getting used to. The mouse is used to control the camera angle and for casting spells or performing attacks. While it's a bit of a nightmare to start with, once you get used to it it's quite an ingenious design.

You can create and customise your character from a range of professions and races, and undertake quests, honing your special skills and collecting items, spells and weapons as you go. According to the manufacturers the main quest story alone takes 30 hours, even longer if you are playing co-operatively, plus there are enormous amounts of characters and items to interact with in the game world. Journey through castles, forests and dungeon lairs as you try to get to the bottom of the evolving storyline.

This is a pretty impressive addition to the genre. It's just a shame that its original US release has meant that a lot of European gamers will be very wary of picking this up.

Pete Boomer

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