Published by Bullfrog and designed by Peter Molyneux, Dungeon Keeper was supposed to the reverse of an RPG. You would play the dungeons Keeper as opposed to the Hero.

The concept was pure genius, Instead of the Avatar and his party romping through a dungeon, slaughtering all sorts of horrible beasts, you play the Dungeon Keeper. Your goal is to build up your dungeon, populate it with monsters and traps, and protect it from the heroes.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out quite right. You build up your dungeon, usually fortify it so no hero could access it at all, train you minions to become master fighters, and then go forth to destroy a rival keeper, or the heroes dungeon. That's right, the heroes build there own dungeon.

In the average RPG you would gather a party, go into the dungeon, kill monsters scattered along the way, eventually reach some horrible boss creature, kill it, and fight your way out.

In Dungeon Keeper you build a little village for your minions, with a hatchery, lair, training room, library, treasure room, ect. Wave after wave of heroes attack your dungeon. When they get close enough, you drop every creature at you disposal on them, creating one big ugly melee you can't see through. If the heroes win, they go on to destroy your dungeon heart (no boss creature). If you win, you get attacked some more.

Don't get me wrong, Dungeon Keeper is a truly excellent game. As an RTS, it's very innovative. For example, you have no direct control over your minions. it's not select, click location to go/attack. You can only pick up creatures, and drop them in places you would suggest they work. But if they don't like manufacturing traps and doors, dropping them in the workshop will make them mad.

Though it doesn't live up to it's claim of being a reverse RPG, maybe this is what being a dungeon keeper is all about. Perhaps if they made a true reverse of the RPGs everybody plays, it just wouldn't work as a strategy game.

Name: Dungeon Keeper
Release Date: July 1997
Developer: Bullfrog
Publisher: Electronic Arts

Dungeon Keeper places you in the unusual role of head bad guy, controlling your own legion of evil minions against the invading hordes of goody two-shoes heroes, as well as other keepers. You are a god-like figure with the ability to move your creatures around at will as well as building rooms and casting spells.

You start each level with a few imps, a dungeon heart and that's about it (later levels may give you a few basic rooms to alleviate boredom). The aim is to build a formidable dungeon and amass an army of creatures so that you can destroy the enemy keepers / lord of the land. The graphics are all (apart from while possessing, more on that later) isometric 3d, and you can zoom in and out and rotate at will.

You dig out room shaped areas, build rooms, train creatures, research new rooms, build traps, explore and eventually lead an attack. You also have both defensive and offensive spells at your disposal. One of the most hyped spells, possession, turns out to be almost completely useless. You can possess any of your creatures and control them independently in a kind of first person shooter style view. It's a nice idea, but your creatures work a lot better by themselves.

Along the way, you can find special crates. These do special things like levelling-up all your creatures, letting you take a creature to the next level, or opening up secret levels. These are generally quite fun, including timed levels and ones with specific targets, but are also outrageously difficult.

Dungeon Keeper was followed by a sequel, Dungeon Keeper 2 which was essentially the same game with prettier graphics.

In (roughly) order of appearance:

  • Treasure Room (50gp)
    A place to store gold. Your imps will drag any gold they have collected to the nearest treasure room. Also the place all creatures make their way to on payday.
  • Lair (100gp)
    A lair is a place for creatures to set up their own little home. Without one of these, your creatures will become annoyed and leave. If you have natural enemies in a dungeon (spiders and flies, for example), it is a good idea to have multiple lairs to keep them apart.
  • Hatchery (150gp)
    The hatchery is where little chickens are created for your monsters to feed on. Again, they will become annoyed very quickly if they have no access to a hachery. possibly the most fun you can have in dungeon keeper is slapping chickens and watching them explode.
  • Training Room (150gp)
    Creatures working in the training room are honing their combat skills to perfection. They can gain levelups by spending enough time in here.
  • Library (200gp)
    Building a library as quickly as possible is immensely important. Drop creatures in here to get them to research new rooms and spells. Without one you'll be left in the dark ages.
  • Workshop (200gp)
    Creatures dropped in here will work away at the machinery to create doors and traps. Once created, they can be placed anywhere you like in your dungeon.
  • Bridge (30gp)
    Essential for crossing water or lava.
  • Prison (300gp)
    Once the prison is researched, you can choose to kill enemies outright, or to subdue them and have their bodies dragged to the nearest prison by your imps. Once there, you can wait for them die, have your creatures attack them again, or dump them in a torture chamber in an effort to convert them.
  • Torture Chamber (350gp)
    Attracts dark mistresses and can be used in an attempt to convert enemies to your side. Incredibly useful to bulk up your attack force.
  • Guard Post (50gp)
    Used to defend the outer reaches of your dungeon, and monster dropped in here will stay unless hungry or wanting money.
  • Barracks (125gp)
    The barracks can be used to put creatures into groups that will go around together. Also attracts orcs.
  • Temple (300gp)
    The temple is where angry creatures will go. Creatures can also be sacrificed here and certain combinations can reap big benefits.
  • Scavenger Room (750gp)
    Creatures placed in the scavenger room will attempt to attract other creatures to your dungeon.
  • Graveyard (300gp)
    Dead bodies are dragged into the graveyard by your imps. The bodies rot and later rise as vampires. The lack of dead bodies scattered around also increases the happiness of your creatures.

In (roughly) order of appearance:

  • Imp
    Imps are the peons of the Dungeon Keeper world. They do all your menial work like digging tunnels, collecting gold and fortifying walls. In many ways, they are the most important of all creatures and are the only monsters that you can manually create more of (through a spell).
  • Fly
    The fly is the first creature that makes its way into your dungeon. It is next to useless other than for exploration purposes, as it can fly over water and lava and get to places no other creatures can. If you have both flies and spiders in your dungeon, they are liable to attack each other.
  • Beetle
    The beetle is a fairly bog-standard monster. They are generally the first ones to die when dumped next to some attacking heroes.
  • Demon Spawn
    Fairly good fighters, demon spawn are attracted by training rooms and love to practice their skills. They increase in level fairly quickly and grow into dragons on passing level 10.
  • Warlock
    Warlocks are exceptionally good at research and are attracted by libraries where they can study new rooms and spells. They can also be formidable in battle, especially after training to learn powerful ranged spells.
  • Troll
    Fairly rubbishy fighters, trolls are primarily used to create doors and traps in a workshop, by which they are attracted.
  • Spider
    A pretty average and boring creature, spiders are the natural enemies of flies and will attack if forced to share a lair. You can either keep them seperated or let the best man win (invariably not the fly).
  • Skeleton
    Skeletons are fairly good fighters and can be trained to higher levels pretty quickly. They are created when a humanoid creature dies in a prison.
  • Bile Demon
    Bile demons can be effectively employed in the workshop but they are also very good fighters. Their primary weapon is essentially a big noxious fart, similar to the poison gas trap.
  • Orc
    Orcs genuinely like being given guardpost duties. They learn from training very quickly and can be the backbone of a successful attack.
  • Ghost
    Ghosts can be created when a creature dies while being tortured. They are very good at researching in the library. They can travel through doors and see invisible creatures.
  • Dark Mistress
    An excellent fighter if trained, the dark mistress enjoys pain and loves to watch a good bit of torture. Obviously, slapping her makes her happier.
  • Hellhound
    Double headed dogs who have the ability to travel freely over lava. Attracted by scavenger rooms and a very good fighter.
  • Vampire
    An undead creature which can be raised in your graveyard. It is a natural reseacher, but hates warlocks - the two are very prone to in-fighting. If a vampire is above level 3 it becomes immortal and will be resurrected in its lair, minus one experience level, if killed.
  • Dragon
    Probably the best all round creatures, dragons are great at research, but will also train if there is nothing left to learn. They can either be attracted through your portal or come from level 10 demon spawn. They breath fire that can burn heroes and enemy creatures.
  • Horned Reaper
    Affectionately known as Horny, these guys are awesome. Unfortunately, they are also incredibly temperamental and become pissed off easily. They cannot be enticed through portals and are complete loners, but can cut their way through whole waves of enemy creatures singlehanded.


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