At first it sounded like the perfect marriage – dungeon crawling and classic point and click adventuring. That alone was enough to entice me into trying Dungeon of the Damned, never mind the cool “old but new” graphics and nostalgic interface. Unfortunately execution isn’t always as good as concept, and sadly what Dungeon Of The Damned has turned out to be for me so far is a boring traipse through a lifeless dungeon with no adventure game elements, little combat and frustrating puzzles. The lack of a map doesn’t help anything either.
The dungeon’s infamous nature precedes it, but you don’t have a clue why you in particular have been cast into its depths. That’s what you are attempting to find out as you try and escape from your eerie prison. The journey won’t be easy, however, as your path is filled with confusing corridors, tricky traps and creepy critters. Well, at least two out of three isn’t bad, right? So far in my wanderings I’ve only run across three creatures, all of the undead type. I’m not necessarily expecting the catacombs to be littered with encounters, but this journey seems to be tilting way too heavily in the other direction.
On the other hand, puzzles abound. The first puzzle was figuring out there was a puzzle, and I failed – I had to seek out the developer on that one. The next real puzzle had me scratching my head, even when I sought the solution on the DotD web site. I even had trouble executing the steps the first time around and had to do it again. I’m all for a challenge and I’m not completely clueless, but there’s no way I would have gotten that second puzzle. From there the puzzles have been mixed. There are a couple I haven’t solved yet (but I don’t want to cheat any more), and some were too easy or too random, I’m not sure which. Then there’s the whole problem that half the time when you flip a switch or push a button the action it triggers is somewhere else so you don’t really know what you’ve done.
Speaking of being lost, the lack of a map is downright frustrating at times. As might be expected from a dungeon everything tends to look pretty much the same, and it’s easy to get turned around. I suppose I could drag out the graph paper and pencils, but that’s just a bit too 80s for me. Since the system is capable of doing it, let the system do it. Because of this lack of navigation you either have to take notes or be prepared to spend some time traipsing back and forth on certain puzzles, since the answers might be three to four loads away from the puzzle itself. And since I’ve mentioned it, even though the individual load times aren’t that long, be prepared for one just about any time you step through a doorway.
On the bright side, the visuals are the perfect blend of old school feel and modern imagery. Sure the graphics don’t look like they were generated with the Unreal engine, but they are pretty good. In the same respect, the interface and basic texturing to the walls and such in the dungeon bring back fond memories of dungeon crawling in my younger days. Action related sound effects are decent enough, but where the audio really shines is in the ambient sounds. The background music is nice and eerie as well.
Is Dungeon Of The Damned a bad game? Not necessarily, but you’re definitely going to need some patience. Personally, though, I would prefer a better balance of puzzle solving and combat. I’m also still waiting for those “point and click adventure game” elements promised in the iTunes description. It certainly has the look and feel of the old games like Dungeon Master that I used to enjoy, but the game play both isn’t quite what I expected and is just a bit slow for me.
|Title:||Dungeon of the Damned||Developer:||Digi-chain Games|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||3.0|