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Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup has a rich history. It is a variant of a very old game called Rogue which came out in the 80′s. The goal seems simple: get to the bottom of the dungeon, and grab an orb. Once you finish that, you simply return to the surface an win. In application, nothing is as simple as it seems. The dungeon itself is completely random. By that, I truly mean you never know what to expect. If this is your first time playing, you might make it hundreds or thousands of turns, but there is also a good chance that your first playthrough will last mere moments.
When I say that character and class selection is extremely complex, there is no way to stress this fact enough. You have a myriad of races and class combinations to choose from, and each one will make your game even more unique. Even the very best of players, with a practiced and tried combination of selections, have a good chance of being obliterated early on. Perhaps this is what I like most about this game – I know it’s not likely I’ll ever actually beat it, but I have tried hundreds of times.
If you have never played a game like this, I’m not surprised. Many people, despite it’s popularity, haven’t even seen this type of challenge before. Though this game is constantly being added to and being made more complex, it’s worth your time if you call yourself a true gamer. The challenge alone is worth the pursuit, and as you play you learn the facts that help the next playthrough. Below, I’m going to add the links you will need. My best suggestion if you are just beginning is to attempt a playthrough with something like a Troll Berzerker – it makes things a lot simpler than a ranged class or a caster.
- Download the most recent version of the game on any major operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux variants. Pick the topmost version. Also, it’s free to play.)
- The Wiki (You’ll need it eventually.)
Does this game have any system requirements? No, not if you play the console-type version. If the graphical tiles version does, it likely won’t even require a video card. This game is simple, and maybe that’s why I’ve had it installed on every system I’ve ever owned. It’s a terrific way to burn up a few minutes or even hours. Each time you beat your last score, you will celebrate with beer and women. (Unless you’re a wine person, in which case you may just offer yourself a toast or something.)
Still waiting to see the epic graphics? Well, here you go.
This excursion did not end well. I chose a Human Enchanter for the screenshot, and here’s how far I got.
Still, every experience is 100% unique, which is something more modern games just cannot provide. Major titles that focus on replayability still have not captured the essence of this adventure.
Most of us have played Diablo, so I will make it more clear using unidentified items as an example. First, only the items you start with are “identified”. Everything you pick up, weapon or armor-wise, is only given a vague description like “sword”. Once you equip it, you will learn immediately if the item is cursed, which is a risk you take each time. (cursed items are stuck to you until you can remove the curse – usually through a scroll.)
Even scrolls and potions, as powerful as they may be, are found unidentified. Part of the fun is the gamble. I’m about to die – do I drink this? Should I equip this mystery armor? You might drink the potion and become completely healed, or it might paralyze you and get you killed. The scroll might detect all of your items or identify things, or it may teleport you randomly – possibly into an even worse situation. Te game has no sense of remorse, and I relish in that fact.
This game is extremely hard, and the learning curve is up there with games like Dwarf Fortress. However, once you become familiar with the controls you will find yourself able to delve deeper and deeper into trouble. Again, I’ve kept it as a gaming staple for many years, on every operating system I’ve ever used.
For what it is, I give the game a 9/10. It would be hard for me to come up with ay improvements to add, except that the help system isn’t as intuitive as it could be for some basic controls. Still, part of the fun is the failure aspect of everything. Play this game and fail. Then, do it a hundred times more. Each time, it will grow on you even more.
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