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Game info
PC

Dungeon Master

Dungeon Master
GenreRPG
Developer / PublisherFTL Games / Mirrorsoft
Released1987
Media1 x disk
Rating
Graphics:8.0
Sound:7.5
Gameplay:9.5
Overall:8.0
Reviewed byndial
Set in the depths of mysterious underground, Dungeon Master puts you inside a very detailed dungeon. Dungeon Master is a masterpiece and an evolution to its genre. Its incredible atmosphere and gameplay made it one of the best RPG computer games ever released! It was developed and published by FTL Games for the Atari ST in 1987 and later ported for the Amiga, Apple IIGS, PC (MS-DOS), SNES, NEC TurboGrafx-CD, Sharp X68000, PC-9801, and FM Towns.
 
Review
Dungeon MasterIn his desire to gain the Power Crystal, the Grey Lord unleashed the power of Chaos in his dungeon. Only by recovering the Firestaff from the dungeon's depths can anyone hope to fight the freed evil force. Many champions accepted the challenge, perished, and were sealed in mirror tombs (!) within the dungeon. You are now given the opportunity to enter the dungeon and resurrect four of the champions to form a fighting force in one last attempt! The dungeon itself has 15 levels, each one fraught with dangers.
The game screen is divided into three main areas. Information about your champions is shown at the top. Menus for controlling the game are shown on the right, and the large areas at left center shows either a view into the dungeon or the inventory for a particular champion.
First thing is to select a leader for your team. The leader is your direct link to the dungeon. He can pick up things your party finds (such as pouches for carrying extra objects, quivers for your arrows, torches, backpacks, dressing, armor etc) open and close doors or do other direct actions (such as moving objects, moving levers to activate gates etc) in the dungeon. It is important to pay attention to how members are positioned. Teammates using swords or other weapons (say crossbows), must be adjacent to threats they are attacking or their attacks will no reach! Your members should have their weapons out and ready before they surprised by hostiles (varying from mummies, skeletons, giant rats etc), and this can be achieved only if a weapons is placed in the action hand (icon) of the character. Be noted, every member of your party can die also from thirst or starvation or even poisoned, so be careful to pick up bottles, food but first checking them before usage! Each teammate has its own abilities whilst there is a three-type bar chart which shows health, stamina and Mana at any time. When empty handed and no weapon is at disposal, there is an action menu for each of your members, offering the following actions: Punch, Kick or War Cry! More on that, every member of the dungeon party can learn to cast magical spells, which are limited to the quantity of available Mana. To cast a spell, you must first select which member will cast it. Then there is a menu, which indicates some symbols that represent the basic magic syllables of a spell. Each symbol recited drains the Mana level of the spellcaster too! Once a spell is formed, pressing the button will cast it forth.
It is very handy to compile an accurate map of your surroundings and maps can help you locate areas of the dungeon you haven't yet explored or avoiding visiting areas you've already been.
Dungeon Master was very addictive back then and the game itself has well over 200 hours of playing time. The game was tagged as the greatest computer role playing game ever and truth is, it didn't disappointed nobody back then.

The MS-DOS port is technically identical to the original Atari ST version, and runs in 16 color screens although it supports VGA graphics! The majority of the 3D corridors are identically (but beautifully) drawn whilst the various traps, doors and monsters found in the dungeon are displayed in beautiful animated detail within the main window. When running is EGA graphics, the details are a bit pixelated and the max number of colors being used is 7-10 (refer to the last three screenshots). Note that MS-DOS version (and Amiga) is identical in colors and details, but runs way faster when compared to the IIGS and (the original) Atari ST versions!
Sound it great too, supporting AdLib and Soundblaster sound hardware, offering some creepy SFX (some sampled), but cannot compare to the Amiga port which offers plenty of stereo sampled SFX at all times.
 
Screenshots
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Comparable platforms
Atari ST
Apple IIGS
PC MS-DOS
 
Hardware information

PC (ms-dos based)

PC (ms-dos based)CPU: Various processors from Intel,AMD, Cyrix, varying from 4.77Mhz (Intel 8088) to 200Mhz (Pentium MMX) and up to 1995 (available on this site)
MEMORY: 640Kb to 32MB RAM (typical up to 1996)
GRAPHICS: VGA standard palette has 256 colors and supports: 640x480 (16 colors or monochrome), 640x350 in 16 colors (EGA compatability mode), 320x200 (16 or 256 colors). Later models (SVGA) featured 18bit color palette (262,144-color) or 24bit (16Milion colors), various graphics chips supporting hardware acceleration mainly for 3D-based graphics routines.
SOUND: 8 to 16 bit sound cards: Ad-Lib featuring Yamaha YMF262 supporting FM synthesis and (OPL3) and 12-bit digital PCM stereo, Sound Blaster and compatibles supporting Dynamic Wavetable Synthesis, 16-bit CD-quality digital audio sampling, internal memory up to 4MB audio channels varying from 8 to 64! etc. Other notable sound hardware is the release of Gravis Ultrasound with outstanding features!
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The PC (ms-dos based) (default) color palette
CGA: 16-color palette (4 on-screen)
EGA: 64-color palette (16 on-screen)
VGA: 256-color palette (256 on-screen)
 
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