Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Game 33: Dungeon Master (1987)

I don't like games with names this generic. It makes it hard to Google for "Dungeon Master manual."
Dungeon Master
United States
FTL Games (developer and publisher)
Released in 1987 for Atari ST; 1988 for Amiga; 1989 for Apple IIGS and FM Towns; 1990 for PC-98; 1992 for DOS; 1993 for SNES
Date Started: 10 March 2020
Well. What an unexpected pleasure. Only a few postings ago, I was lamenting that none of the recent games were really feeding my CRPG addiction. You know--taking my attention from work, making me ignore my wife and friends, keeping me up until the break of dawn. I missed that. I'm not saying Dungeon Master is that game--not yet--but it is a multi-character game set in a multi-level dungeon with strong graphics and sound, so it certainly has the potential. Oddly, I'd never heard of this game until a few weeks ago, when I noticed it was coming up in my queue. As I am occasionally reminded (Starflight, Phantasie) there are hidden treasures from this era awaiting discovery.

The back story to Dungeon Master is told in a well-written 18-page prologue to the game manual. The dungeon in question was the abode of the Grey Lord, an extremely powerful wizard who many people regarded as a god. One fateful day, the Grey Lord discovered beneath his mountain the Power Gem--the source of the creation of men, dwarves, halflings, elves and "High Lords"--and thought he would use it to usher in a new era of world peace. But something went wrong in the casting of the spell needed to extract it, and it ended up tearing the Grey Lord's essence into two halves: the benevolent "good" wizard, and Lord Chaos, bent on using the gem for the destruction of the world.

The Grey Lord's apprentice, Theron, was affected by the event because...I don't know...I guess he was psychically linked to the Grey Lord at the time, even though he was visiting his girlfriend in the next village. His spirit was cast into limbo, but there he received a message from the Grey Lord (now going, for some reason, by the name "Librasius"). In the years that had passed since the catastrophe, the Grey Lord had sent hundreds of champions into the dungeon with the quest to recover the Grey Lord's Firestaff, which would give the Grey Lord the power to assume corporeal form again and defeat Lord Chaos. Unfortunately, all the adventurers died. Now, the Grey Lord has tasked Theron with the task to resurrect four of those adventurers and guide them through the dungeon.

Sorry, but it takes a long time to summarize 18 pages.

Thus, although you control four heroes in the game, the player literally takes the role of the noncorporeal Theron, who guides their actions. If you've ever played a multi-player CRPG and wondered who "you" are supposed to be, since you can't be all of the party members at once, this game answers it for you. It's very meta.

The setup means that Dungeon Master has a unique party creation process, though. You don't really "create" your party--instead, your incorporeal essence wanders the Hall of Champions on the first level of the dungeon, reviewing the characteristics and equipment of each of the 24 heroes enshrined there, and choosing which you want for your adventure. You actually have two options: to "resurrect" the hero, with his attributes and skills intact, or to "reincarnate" the hero, which wipes his memory (and skills) and allows you to give him a different name. In the prologue, Theron expresses horror at this idea for its obvious ethical implications.

This is the first clue that perhaps the "good" half of the Grey Lord may not be all that good. I feel like the game is setting me up for a very obvious twist ending.

There are four character types: fighter, ninja, wizard, and priest. But characters can be multi-classed; at least one is all four classes. I really didn't have much of a basis for choosing except a desire to have some representation from all four.

The character screen. Note the food in the inventory slots.

The game starts you off with a few disadvantages. First, you're limited to the equipment that your resurrected characters had upon death, which in my case wasn't much. Second, you have no idea which way you're facing in the dungeon. I'm not sure how you ever find this out. I just guessed for the purposes of the map. Third, you have no clue what the different spells are. Spells in this game are cast by stringing together glyphs. The game manual tells you the glyphs...

...but not in what order you must string them to achieve certain outcomes. Fortunately, you find scrolls along the way that give you hints. I've already determined that LO FUL gives a low-level light spell.

A couple of other random notes:

  • This is one of several games in the era to require food. This is a good element in CRPGs for the realism value. Realism as in, "Hey, Leyla! Here's an ear of corn I found in a dank crevice on the sixth level of a dungeon! Tuck in!"
  • Although the dungeons are made up of gridded tiles, the game occurs in real time, meaning if you just stand there, monsters will advance on you and kill you, your characters will get hungry, your spells and torches run out, and so on. As far as I can tell, there's no "pause" option--not even when you go to inventory. This makes mapping--and blogging--fairly difficult. [Later edit: Reader Menetekel clued me in that the ESC key pauses the game. Thanks!]
  • Although you can move with the keypad, the mouse is most of the interface for the game. You have to click on various buttons on the screen to attack, manipulate objects, and access inventory.

Note the four attack icons--hand, club, arrow, and sling--on the right side. When I open this gate, I have to click these quickly in sequence to fight the mummy behind it.
Dungeon Master was originally published for the Atari ST in 1987; its DOS port came in 1989. The technical improvements over games like Might & Magic and Wizardry are obvious. It supports VGA graphics and sound cards like AdLib and SoundBlaster. (It is the first CRPG in my blog that uses a mouse, though it only gets this award because I'm playing in order of original release date, not DOS release date.) Finally, it takes advantage of (then-) modern CPU power and offers real-time, not turn-based, gameplay. It's quite startling, after the latest sequence of games, to start the application and be greeted with animated graphics, decent-quality audio, background music, and an unresponsive keyboard!

The publisher, FTL Games, never published anything but the Dungeon Master series and a 1984 adventure game called SunDog: Frozen Legacy. None of its games appear to have sold nearly as well as Dungeon Master, and the company disbanded in the early 1990s. I'll save discussions of Dungeon Master's legacy for my final posting on the game, except to note that if the Eye of the Beholder series didn't license Dungeon Master's interface, it sure ripped it off.

Tonight, I got Level 1 mapped (not hard because most of it was the Hall of Adventurers) and started to map Level 2, where after a fight with a mummy I was rewarded with some decent treasure. As I say, it definitely has promise. I'm going to make a return to Beyond Zork tomorrow and then see how addicted I can get to this new game.
Your first sword in any CRPG is always a bit of a thrill.


  1. Looks fantastic, compared to the others in this series. As an old fart who actually played the original Zork and many of the games on your list, I get happy memories revisiting these gems.

    Keep up the great work: I look forward to each and every one of your posts.

  2. You never heard of this until now? You're in for a treat. :)
    Two notes:
    - You will later get a device that helps with orientation in the dungeon.
    - IIRC, there was a pause function (back on the ST, that is). I think it might have been the ESC key. If this doesn't help, doesn't game time stop during the save menu?

    Anyway, I'd be suprised if you didn't get hooked on this one, I sure wish I could play it again for the first time.

  3. I never got into Dungeon Master but I got a computer capable of handling it after Eye of the Beholder came out. Making my own PCs and it being OMG D&D sort of overrode DM doing it all first.

    I have the Sega CD DM game and the Turbo Duo one which makes Theron a red haired lad who quests in the various dungeons, but haven't really spent a lot of time with them.

    Looking forward to seeing what you find out in this game.

    (Oh yeah, and thanks to you I was inspired enough to start up a blog where I play through the Castlevania series. Thanks a lot sir. As if I don't have enough projects!)

  4. One of my all-time favorite games.

    When I bought this game, I actually thought I was buying an RPG construction set (because of the name and the screenshots that showed the mouse interface). Once I got over the disappointment that it was not a tool for making my own dungeon crawler, I promptly fell in love with the game (Amiga version, by the way).

    The first Eye of the Beholder game definitely ripped off Dungeon Master. But EOB2 expanded the idea much more ambitiously than FTL did in Chaos Strikes Back, which was basically an expansion pack.

    Enjoy your dungeon crawl, Addict!

  5. Enjoy the 18-page story prologue as it is, well, the biggest chunk of plot you'll get from the game (if I remember correctly, played the Amiga version back at the time).

    /nitpick: FTL did develop at least one other game: "Oids", a lunar lander variation that still ranks favorably with Atari ST fans. No PC- or Amiga-conversion, though.

    The real pity is that FTL never realized other projects with the engine, though. I remember interviews from the time where they imagined spy- and/or detective scenarios with it. Could've been very interesting but it was perhaps the small size of the company and/or low revenues from DM as it probably was one of the most pirated games at the time.

    Instead, we got dozens of games from other companies (or shareware) ripping of the interface while often never reaching the technical excellency of DM (especially for ST and Amiga platforms). Most of these ripoffs were either fantasy or sci-fi scenarios so not much variety either.

    I'm sure you will the love this game but will you think the same about DM2, especially considered that it took them six years to make it?

  6. one tip: You may use dungeon doors to help You kill enemies! Simply lure Your foe into a doorway and close it. The door will continuously try to close, bashing Your opponent. Everything You must do is to stand in the monster's way so it can't continue forward through the doorway...

  7. gratz to being able to play this for the first time. of course, i was just a kid when i played this, but boy i was totally totally crazy about it.
    i remember my first play-through actually meant that i was sitting next to my friend, who knew how to use his dad's atari st :)) and we played kind of together, each imagining to be two of the four heroes.

    ps - the doorway trick is cool. also, you can train ninjas against stairways; you'll see what i mean ;).

  8. I have played this, and I have played EoB. I really like both games, but would prefer it if they were turn based.

  9. I'm normally all for turn-based play, but in this case, the realtime mechanics did considerably add to the immersion. I didn't like the EOB-series as much, because the D&D rules were never really my cup of tea (notable exception: Planescape Torment).

  10. Just read through your whole blog. Your efforts are very appreciated. I will chime in if I have anything useful to add in the future. It's a pity you won't be doing FTL's other amazing game 'Sundog', seeing how you enjoyed Starflight, though.

    Atari ST emulation is extremely simple nowadays, but I realize you have a huge backlog of DOS stuff to go through anyway. I just enjoy the systemati and thorough way you provide your impressions and would like to see other hidden gems recieve a similar treatment.

  11. nice nice.. DM is very cool but very puzzle oriented and no real story beyond the intro that you read. still fun game, some of the puzzles are nasty hard imo.

    have fun with your first 'modern' game on the list! (way ahead of everything else and even lots of games that come after it are really crap in gfx/sound department compared to this)

  12. Wow. Lots of comments.

    Breakdance: great name. Comment any time.

    Menetekel: a million thanks. ESC does pause the game. This wasn't anywhere within the documentation I found, and I must have tried every other key. This helps a LOT!

    Rufus, I just took a look at your blog. Much more artfully composed than mine. I'm very jealous. I probably should work on improving my tech: get an actual domain name, better images, more videos, etc.

    Thanks for the tip, tekeli-li. I'll give it a try. Rizla, I remain a little confused about how skill development works, so I do look forward to seeing what you mean. I'm sure I'll figure it out.

    Lame, I was wishing the same thing, but I might feel differently now that I know how to pause. Still, it does seem a bit odd to have a real-time tile-based game. You would expect tile-based games to be turn-based, and real-time games to be continuously scrolling. Or pehaps that's just my own prejudice. I don't even know if "tile-based" is the right term, but you know what I mean.

    Helm, to be honest, if I had to start over again last February, I'd probably bite the bullet and learn the other emulators. Now that I'm in the era where it doesn't matter as much, though, I'm going to continue as is.

    Stu, thanks for the warning. "Puzzles" in dungeon crawlers usually involve a lot of backtracking to find obscure secret doors and such. I hope that's not what you mean.

  13. @CRPG Addict: Dungeon Master is (IMHO) the best RPG game on 16-bit computers. If you liked this game, check out our DM fan base site in the internet. DM fanatics are creating their own custom games basing on the original Dungeon Master/Chaos Striek Back engine! The best one is probably a custom game named Conflux3. Generally it`s based on heavily modified Dungeon Master engine with a lot of improvements (new labirynths, monsters, spells, items, secrets, etc). A very addictive one. Although Conflux is a "fans creation", it`s very well made (more purely RPG elements: a good story, four guilds to choose, different endings). You might be interested in checking that out, since you liked DM.

    PS. What about Chaos Strikes Back - can we count on a review? ;)

  14. Anon, I appreciate it, but the likelihood is that I'll never even get through commercial games, let alone fan-made games.

    I've been told that there was no DOS port for CSB, but I did agree to try a non-commercial port when I get to that year.

  15. Hey, wow, I've actually played this one or a very similar sequel. Back in elementary school we had a ton of outdated Macs lying around, and I played this (or a sequel, might have been a 2 in the name) on them. As I recall I did much of the first dungeon, but as I wasn't mapping or anything I didn't get very far and spent most of my time trying to figure out where I was.

  16. Without mapping, this game would have killed me.

    I'm guessing you played the sequel, since the original wasn't released for the Mac.

  17. "When I open this gate, I have to click these quickly in sequence to fight the mummy behind it."
    I assume you found out eventually that you can actually fire missile weapons throught the bars of the door? Which is more than you can do in modern games like Oblivion...

  18. Bollocks. No, I never did discover this. I kept opening the doors long enough to get in a few attacks, then slamming them shut again. I feel like a bit of an idiot now.

  19. Heh, I remember vividly trying this trick the very first time I played Dungeon Master and being very impressed that it was actually possible. Too bad I wasn't around in November 2010 to tell you. Oh well, you did learn the most important door trick, though.
    I'm currently replaying this game myself, using a no-practice-and-no-using-spells-that-I-have-not-found-yet-rule, and before I get some real firepower the door slamming on the living rocks and purple worms has been an effective tactic so far.

    In some ways it's more tactical than for example Pool of Radiance, since you can use the environment against the monsters, like doors, pits and traps, but the weakest aspect is that the party is one entity and the party members don't really complement each other since they must occupy the same square, and there is not really much difference in their abilities. So the game could actually just as well have been single player.

  20. "The game could actually just as well have been single player." I often feel that way about first-person-view multi-character games, like the entire MM series. But you are correct that the feeling is especially acute in DM since you essentially try to get every party member to excel in every skill. The only advantage to a multi-party system in this game is that one character death != full party death.

  21. This was an awesome game, and I fondly remember beating it. You note you'd never heard of it.. as someone who played it at release, I can say that when this game came out, it felt revolutionary. Inventory management, real time action... it really was something - and gave a glimpse into the future.

  22. Dungeon Master was the first game that I really fell in love with. Completed it couple of times back then and one time about a year ago.
    I have never mapped any of the games I play. One of my friends asked once how do you remember all those corridors and turns? It was and is to this day because of this game. Too lazy to map and you need to remember.

    Did'n know about the missile weapons through the bars... That would have helped.

  23. I am realizing that the strong directional and navigation skills which serve me well in driving and hiking were honed in the dungeon environment many years ago. What an unexpected benefit!

  24. I was just at a zoo with my wife, and she couldn't understand why I insisted that we just keep following the leftmost path. "Because we won't see all the animals otherwise!" I kept barking.

  25. Actually keeping your hand to the wall doesn't garentee you will see everything, just that you will reach the exit. It is possible to hide islands the the center of the maze deliberately designed to be hidden from this method.

  26. Bollocks. That must be where the giraffes were.

  27. Dungeon Master: Zoo Tycoon edition

  28. Very good game. I'm started playing it about a week ago. The only cheat I use is the maps. I just don't have the patience to remap everything. But for the rest no walkthrough and boy is it fun not to have to worry about missing something. Hell that's how I use to play whe I was a kid and I had tons of fun too.

    Thank you again for your blog... it's way cool

  29. I'd been reading through your blog in chronological order over the past week, in fits and starts as I had time here and there, but in the end I got impatient and had to jump ahead to Larn and Dungeon Master, just to get your impressions.

    The real-time nature of the combat has some nice results: for example, since all of the monsters have a "facing," you can run around them and attack them from behind, then dodge away again as they turn to retaliate. You can keep doing this as long as your stamina holds out; stamina is a great mechanic to limit how fast you'd otherwise move through the levels using the keyboard movement. This tactic, more than using doors to slam them, is what really helps a party early in the game, and it makes for some interesting tactics, as you have to constantly consider where there are places to use this attack method, and figure out how to lure the monsters there. Woe betide the party who got stuck in a dead-end on level 2 (level 3 if you count the hall of champions as level 1) with a rock lobster attacking them! Before anyone else objects, the obvious reasons that this tactic is better than just slamming the monsters with doors are that a) the party has to stand in front of the monster and withstand its attacks while it is getting slammed by the door, and b) the party gets no experience from letting the door defeat the monsters (aside from a little fighter XP from taking damage).

    A note on reincarnation: by the end of the game, it becomes clear that what is most desirable in the characters are high ability scores, not class levels. Any character, even ones who start with no mana, can be raised to be MON Masters in every class, but the attributes have a profound influence on the character's performance in the game, and they are much more difficult to raise (1 - 3 stats may improve slightly with each level increase) than class levels or health/stamina/mana. So reincarnation is the way to go, because when you reincarnate a character, all of their attributes are increased in exchange for their losing their names and class XP.

    Finally, the game is a lot of fun to play with only one character, which most people end up trying on their second or third replay of the game. That is to say, you are not required to resurrect/reincarnate a full party of four characters. Playing with one character, that character quickly becomes super-powered in all four classes, but there's an increased tactical element to the game, because you have such limited inventory space. What items do you carry? Do you go for volume (carrying multiple chests, filled with potions and food) and get bogged down to slow movement, or do you travel light for speed and agility?

    1. I've only played the Amiga version, but I did see one of my fighters gain a fighter level from a door smashing on a foe. It was the funniest thing!

    2. You can get fighter level by being hit. That what would have happen i think.

  30. Dungeon Master was one of my favorite games of all time. I played the original Atari ST version with my wife and a friend looking over my shoulder and calling out suggestions. We would all panic when a monster appeared around a corner. :-)

    Prior to getting into games, FTL made the best spelling checker for the Atari ST. It included unusual features such as a crossword puzzle helper, anagrams, etc. Techniques they learned from that product helped them when it came time to squeeze Dungeon Master onto a single floppy disk. That was an amazing accomplishment!

  31. To me the "two step dance" felt too much like cheating, so when I replayed Dungeon Master and Chaos Strikes Back last year I mainly used it when fighting dragons. Come to think of it I could probably have used Magic Boxes on dragons and avoided "dancing" altogether.
    I relied on doors when fighting Giant Scorpions. Against the Rock Lobster Poison Cloud is extremely useful. Doors+magic boxes+poison cloud is especially effective against most monsters. :-)

    Reincarnation may make your characters stronger in the long run, but the manual hints that it is the "evil" choice between reincarnation and resurrection.

    Dungeon Master is not a very hard game so resurrected characters will do just fine, even without any skill practing.

    I found Chaos Strikes Back to be easier the second time I played it (20+ years after the first time), when I imported my resurrected characters from Dungeon Masters. First time I played CSB I used reincarnated characters from CSB's Hall of Heroes. I still remember them: Deth, Skelar, Algor Marsh Hunter and Kazai Shadow Warrior.

    1. That's what I used against the dragon: Magic boxes. I don't think I had used a single one up until that point. ;)

    2. I wasted them all on dumb things. The dragon ended up being a huge pain for me. I died like 12 times.

    3. Well, that was your first ever playthrough of the game. If you had to do it a second time...?

    4. I'd save them for the dragon and for Chaos himself (if they work on him). It would have been great to have something to hold him in place while I cast flux cages around him.

  32. Sadly, Lord Chaos is immune to the magic boxes. I backed him into a niche (which took some doing in itself), and then cast one flux cage spell over the niche. It got a bit hairy in my Let's Play though, since I was casting one square too far, effectively casting a cage wall right on top of Chaos. Oopsie.

  33. regarding the ability to identify what attributes swords and armors have in this game. on page 13 of the manual it tells you that if you hold an item up to a characters eye while in the inventory, the amount of information displayed on the item is dependant on the characters skill level. now i dont know if this works for what you are wanting it to (not having the game installed) maybe someone out there could build up a character and see if it reveals any damage info on swords when you have a high level character. i hope all that made sense. i know that doesnt help a low level char. but...

    1. personally ive always been of the opinion that all weapons and armors all have the same attributes. weapons do their damages based on your skill levels or strength. armors, i think theyre all the same too, they just give them a different look regardless of the type of armor, maybe the armor class is dependant on your dexterity. im scouring the internet right now for answers. if i find anything ill post it here. but so far, no luck

    2. Try the Dungeon Master Encyclopedia, specifically:


      You'll see that weapons have different damage ratings, distance, etc. :)

    3. I wonder how someone determined these values. I guess it must be buried in the source code.

      While this list is in valuable, it would have gone against my rules to consult it while I was playing.

    4. Yeah, there are actually people who are so fanatical about the game, they disassemble the code to find out how it works, often in order to try and make their own DM clone. Freakos, I mean, really.

      I would do it too, but I'm not good with programming.

  34. well to answer my own post, and it seems i was woefully wrong. i found some info on the snes version of dungeon Master that lists armors and weapons and their stats. hopefully this helps and is wanted. if not feel free to delete.
    3a. Weapons

    Item |Damage|Distance|Shoot
    Eye of Time |2 |0 |0
    Stormring |2 |0 |0
    Torch |8 |2 |0
    Flamitt |10 |80 |30
    Staff of Claws |16 |7 |0
    Bolt Blade |49 |110 |66
    Fury |55 |20 |0
    The Firestaff |25 |1 |255
    Dagger |10 |19 |0
    Falchion |30 |8 |0
    Sword |34 |10 |0
    Rapier |38 |10 |0
    Sabre |42 |11 |0
    Samurai Sword |46 |12 |0
    Delta |50 |14 |0
    Diamond Edge |62 |14 |0
    Vorpal Blade |48 |13 |0
    The Inquisitor |58 |15 |0
    Axe |49 |33 |0
    Hardcleave |70 |44 |0
    Mace |32 |10 |0
    Mace of Order |42 |13 |0
    Morningstar |60 |15 |0
    Club |19 |10 |0
    Stone Club |44 |22 |0
    Bow |1 |50 |50
    Crossbow |1 |180 |120
    Arrow |2 |10 |0
    Slayer |2 |28 |0
    Sling |5 |20 |50
    Rock |6 |18 |0
    Poison Dart |7 |23 |0
    Throwing Star |3 |19 |0
    Stick |4 |4 |0
    Staff |12 |4 |0
    Wand |0 |0 |0
    Teowand |1 |20 |0
    Yew Staff |18 |6 |0
    Staff of Manar |0 |4 |0
    Snake Staff |0 |3 |0
    The Conduit |0 |7 |0
    Dragon Spit |3 |1 |0
    Sceptre of Lyf |9 |4 |0
    Horn of Fear |1 |1 |0
    Speedbow |1 |220 |125
    The Firestaff (Complete)|100 |50 |255
    Stick |4 |4 |0
    The Conduit |0 |7 |0


    1. ----------
      3b. Armor

      Item |AS/SR|Effect(s)
      Cape |5/1 |None
      Cloak of Night |10/1 |+8 Dexterity
      Barbarian Hide |4/1 |None
      Sandals |5/2 |None
      Leather Boots |25/4 |None
      Robe (Body) |5/0 |None
      Robe (Legs) |5/0 |None
      Fine Robe (Body)|7/1 |None
      Fine Robe (Legs)|7/1 |None
      Kirtle |6/1 |None
      Silk Shirt |4/0 |None
      Tabard |5/1 |None
      Gunna |7/1 |None
      Elven Doublet |11/2 |None
      Elven Huke |13/2 |None
      Elven Boots |13/2 |+1-14 Load
      Leather Jerkin |17/3 |None
      Leather Pants |20/3 |None
      Suede Boots |20/3 |None
      Blue Pants |12/2 |None
      Tunic |9/1 |None
      Ghi |8/1 |None
      Ghi Trousers |9/1 |None
      Calista |1/4 |None
      Crown of Nerra |5/4 |+10 Wisdom
      Bezerker Helm |12/5 |None
      Helmet |17/5 |None
      Basinet |20/5 |None
      Buckler |22/5 |None
      Hide Shield |16/2 |None
      Wooden Shield |20/3 |None
      Small Shield |35/4 |None
      Mail Aketon |35/5 |None
      Leg Mail |35/5 |None
      Mithral Aketon |70/7 |None
      Mithral Mail |55/7 |None
      Casque'n Coif |25/6 |None
      Hosen |30/6 |None
      Armet |40/7 |None
      Torso Plate |65/4 |None
      Leg Plate |56/4 |None
      Foot Plate |37/5 |None
      Large Shield |56/4 |None
      Helm of Lyte |62/5 |None
      Plate of Lyte |125/4|None
      Poleyn of Lyte |90/4 |None
      Greave of Lyte |50/5 |None
      Shield of Lyte |85/4 |None
      Helm of Darc |76/4 |None
      Plate of Darc |160/4|None
      Poleyn of Darc |101/4|None
      Greave of Darc |60/4 |None
      Shield of Darc |54/6 |None
      Dexhelm |54/6 |+10 Dexterity
      Flamebain |60/7 |+12 Anti-Fire
      Powertowers |88/4 |+10 Strength
      Boots of Speed |16/2 |Speeds up moves
      Halter |3/3 |None
      Cape |5/1 |None
      Dexhelm |54/6 |+10 Dexterity
      Powertowers |88/4 |+10 Strength

  35. Considering I bought a boxed copy of what claimed to be a PC copy of Chaos Strikes Back at the Gen-Con Auction a few years back, and the Wikipedia article says it came out for PC, I am tempted to believe you have received misinformation as to its non-existence on this platform. But my copy is across the country at my parents' house right now, so I cannot triple-check (but I only buy MS-DOS classic games, so it would have been quite a mistake for me to overlook the system the game was for).

    1. With all due respect, I'm not sure what you have at your parents' house, but if you look at the discussion section of the Chaos Strikes Back Wikipedia article, you'll see them discussing how there is no PC version. Also, look here:


      That site is the be all, end all Dungeon Master (and sequels) site. Also, read this thread:




      You can check MobyGames too, among others.

      Sorry, but if CSB was ever officially released for PC, it's somehow been top secret all these years. :)

    2. I believe Amy is right. The Wikipedia article does say that there is a PC version, but that contradicts everything I've read about the game. Moreover, the CSBWin conversion would have been completely unnecessary if a DOS version already existed.

    3. Well, that's settled. Quarex, your path is obvious, you need to visit your parent's house and post back your findings. :)

    4. That would be a real surprise, Chaos Strikes Back for PC finally turning up somewhere.

    5. There is no PC version? Really? A long time ago I bought a sealed copy of the game in the bargain bit at some toy store. I'm pretty sure it was a PC version. But I never opened it and it's sitting in my parent's house thousands of miles away. And no, I'm not a dummy account of Quarex even though we basically have the same story. I could've sworn it was for DOS. Mobygames has screenshots and and box art from the DOS version, though it doesn't specifically say on the box what platform.

    6. Lolz at all these parents with mythological copies of Chaos Strikes Back. Do a search for Chaos Strikes Back PC and you'll see it's unanimous. There was no way to play it on PC until emulators and fan-made ports. I just checked Mobygames, and the only screenshots there are of the Atari ST version, and the only cover art was from Amiga, Atari ST, and Sharp X68000. By the way, PC-98 is listed, but that is a computer that was released only in Japan. :)

    7. I simply can't understand collectors. "I have a copy but it is sealed". Why buy something you will not use? That defeats the purpose of the thing, and sometimes even steals the right of someone who wants to use the thing to use it.

  36. Heh, these graphics come as a relief after all these text games, ugly heads and giant clocks... I must have tried this game on the Amiga... I have very faint memories of that name.

    1. Of all your points about the game have to credit you for pointing out, food next to a sewage pipe isn't very appetising!

  37. Some corrections, Theron actually didn't make it to beautiful Veyla (Haven't read the manual since early 2000s at best!) he was meant to but before he left the Greylord gleefully shouted out he's unlocked the Firestaff etc but Theron warned him and BOOM! That misshap made both of them leave the material plane and separated Chaos from Greylord, who decided to rename himself Lirasulus (NOT Librasius as you keep writing), I never thought about it till days ago but Libra for balance naturally lol.... I didn't notice any hints Greylord wasn't as erm... benevolent in the story, he seemed desperate as you would be to save the world from your evil self....

    Yes as someone commented re Reincarnating the party, Theron thought that was blasphemy, I completed DM and CSB twice. First party was a custom with Daroou, Hissssa, Sonya and Iaido. They were resurrected, second were the manual's party Nabi, Syra, Halk and Alex. These were reincarnated but kept the names. Both parties were imported to beat CSB. While it's true it works out better long term to reincarnate them, I was invested in the manual's prologue so didn't like the idea of erasing their past (Come to think of it if it were Nabi's party I reincarnated, I did just that lol what a SNAFU) (Or maybe I'm remembering wrong what my 2nd party was or I completed DM 3times not 2)

    The Greylord is infact a god for your reference. It says in the story it's common knowledge the High Lords are gods and the most powerful of them is the Greylord (Who benevolently uses his power and knowledge for research in a dungeon lab below the mountain Anaias... Which DOESN'T explain why he'd nuke you for doing your job eh? Well absolute order is just as evil as evil itself when to the most extreme level, just as forcing acceptance is not any better than fascism but blah....)
    He also said all but a few hundred perished, means he sent a lot more than just a few hundred heroes (Okay perhaps a hint he's not so kind after all, sending countless heroes to their doom for his crusade but oh well that's so normal of world leaders past and present)

    Good blog anycase, is a remarkable game especially for something that fits on one disk, the talent of game making really has dived since post 1990s for me when their budgets are far more geared to marketing and cosmetics, is sad. I also far prefer this level system, where you actually train needed skills to advance rather than a general score needed to magically improve your stats and learn new skills. Does add to the immersion and realism though taking damage from walking into walls is annoying!

    There's infact 7 levels, not 5 after Expert. All 6 grades of mana for master levels then Archmaster, the Highlord level.


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