Lord of the Dungeon


Review by Al Backiel

Probe 2000


Graphics: 5

Sound: 1

Gameplay: 4

Overall: 4

lotd.gif (11857 bytes)I didn't even hear of this game until it showed up as a prototype at CGE2K. I was lucky enough to get one from Sean Kelly, who got it in trade from somebody who used to work at NAP. At startup, a special commemorative screen was added. It states that it was released at CGE2K along with the date. According to the actual title screen, it was programmed by Rexford Ayers Battenberg (one or three people?) in 1983. The game looks to be pretty much complete and is playable. According to the DP Guide, it was also known as Tunnels & Trolls. There isn't any cartridge case because the game has a battery backup (mercury cell) on the circuit board that would prevent the case from closing. The first thing to do on the title screen is pull down the controller knob and choose the starting level.

Like with most prototypes, no instructions exist. Maybe I am slow, but for the longest time I could not even figure out how to get past the opening menus. Like with a lot of role playing games. You must enter your name or a pseudonym and pick a character. Next is your mission. Then you must buy what inventory you want to start out with from the store. You can buy weapons, potions or increase your strength before you head out. The fire buttons correspond to the two options at the bottom. The number keys are for paging through the menus. If I remember correctly, the controller was used to select and the symbol keys were used to lock in choices. Only when this setup is complete can you begin the quest. For what? I don't know. Let's just say survival for now.

The first screen is a hallway in which there are doorways to enter and enemy enemies or monsters to confront. Here it is reminiscent of Dragonstomper (2600) and some early computer games. You have to choose an item from your inventory and the computer decides who does what damage to whom by displaying a message. You can decide if you want to go another round or break off the battle. Discretion is the better part of valor. Especially, when you are not getting anywhere. Either your 'magic' is too weak or the enemy is too strong or both. Win the battle and you are rewarded with an additional item for your inventory. I don't know what it takes to complete the level or reach the end because I haven't gotten all that far yet.

Also see Aswald's self-produced instruction manual! Unavailable anywhere else!


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Last updated: Thursday, September 16, 2010 12:48 AM