Thursday, January 17, 2013

Game 84: Dungeon Master: Chaos Strikes Back (1989)



Chaos Strikes Back is not Dungeon Master II; that game won't come out until 1993 and will be subtitled Skullkeep. It is instead billed as an expansion to the original game, using the same engine and continuing the same characters.

You'll recall that Dungeon Master (which I played in 2010) concerns a godlike wizard called the Grey Lord. One day, while messing around with something called the Power Gem, the Grey Lord managed to split himself into two halves: Lord Order and Lord Chaos, both evil. Chaos, in possession of the Grey Lord's Firestaff, started causing mischief in the depths of the titular dungeon. Lord Order, stuck outside, commissioned a series of adventurers to go get the Firestaff back. The consciousness of Theron, the Grey Lord's apprentice, guided the victorious group of adventurers through the dungeon's depths and recovered the staff--but instead of returning it to Order (which produced a "bad" ending) used it to fuse Order and Chaos together into the Grey Lord once again.

A short introduction, again penned by Nancy Holder, sets up the expansion. Thirteen months have passed since the end of Dungeon Master, and a mystery from the end of the first game is solved: the party's victory has not only joined the two halves of the Grey Lord but has also restored Theron to corporeal form. But now the Grey Lord is sick, being drawn apart by his two halves again, and has called the original adventurers to his castle.

It transpires that Lord Chaos foresaw his defeat and planned for it. He built a secret dungeon, and using the evil Forge of Fulya (or FUL YA, the runic symbols for "fire" and "structure"), mined four large chunks of Corbum ore. (The author is clearly confused about both mining and forges.) Corbum sucks magic from the world, and somehow it's drawing the essence of Lord Chaos out of the Grey Lord again, while simultaneously causing stuff like earthquakes and storms. If the ore finishes the job and Chaos lives again as a separate entity, he will "rule--or misrule--the world and all others." There's no mention about what Order will do in such a scenario.

But in an ironic twist, Chaos doesn't know that after the ore does its work, he needs to destroy it; otherwise, "it will shatter the universe like a fragile looking glass." My mission is to enter the secret dungeon, find the chunks of Corbum within something called the "Death Square," and destroy them. Each chunk is at the end of a long maze converging on the Square, so I'll have to explore four mazes. Each of the mazes is somehow aspected to one of the four classes: warrior, ninja, wizard, and priest.

I imported my party members from Dungeon Master, but like the previous game, there's an option to select adventurers from "life mirrors" on a special dungeon level. Oddly, many of these adventurers--unlike mine and the others in the first game--are bestial, with forms like insects, fairies, toads, birds, and centaurs. As interesting as it would be to play such creatures, I noticed that most of their levels are "adept" and "expert," with hit points and spell points averaging around 200, while my Dungeon Master characters were almost all at expert level in all four classes, with up to 400 hit points or spell points.

The game takes a slight retconning liberty by introducing a hawk PC.

My relatively high-level party doesn't mean the game starts out easy. For no reason that is explained in the introductory story, my party begins in darkened room with no weapons, armor, or other gear, surrounded by those worm-monsters from the first game. Fortunately, I haven't forgotten the handy spell sequence that lets me launch "Fireball" spells.

Fireballing worms in the dark.

Even with the worms defeated, though, all of my characters are poisoned, and we have no flasks with which to mix up "Cure Poison" spells. There are coins on the floor that, when inserted into slots on the walls, open force fields and allow access to some equipment. We grab some stuff, including some offensive potions (which the game won't let us drink), but no flasks. While I'm trying to figure things out, the worms suddenly respawn. Trying to escape them, we use a key in a lock and rush down a corridor. There are pressure plates and pits, and soon we're lost in a room, surrounded by hovering demons that surround and kill us.


So this game is kind of hard, huh?

I originally had some angst about whether to carry my Dungeon Master spell knowledge forward, but not any more; I need every advantage I can get. In a restart, I determine that the opening area has a lot more equipment than I originally found. There are three force fields that take one coin each and one that takes two. There are only three coins on the level, which means I can't open one or two of the fields. The one that takes two coins has a sword behind it.

The poison eventually wears off, and in any event, doesn't damage my party members faster than their natural regeneration restores the lost hit points, so finding flasks isn't quite the priority that I thought. I make it out of the first area with a dagger, some torches, a chest full of clothing items, a rope, some worm meat, some fire bombs, and a couple of magic boxes. No decent weapons, so I'll be relying on my ninja skills for now. I'm glad I took the time to train everyone.

Mapping proves difficult. I'm not sure which of the four mazes I'm in--or if I'm just in an introductory area--but every four or five steps, the game likes to throw a teleporter, a pressure plate, a force field, or a pit at me.

In short, this game is clearly (at least, so far) about navigation-based puzzles and surviving with limited resources. What I'm not sure about is whether the rhetoric from the Grey Lord about needing to hurry really means anything--that is, if there's a time limit.

Leyla's inventory after a short time playing.

Chaos Strikes Back was never released officially for the PC, only for the Amiga, the Atari ST, and various Japanese PCs. At the recommendation of trudodyr and others, I'm playing a I'm playing a Windows port created in 2001 by fans, based on the Atari ST version. The port lacks a utility that allowed players to edit their character portraits, and it lacks a long game intro that shows Chaos mining the Corbum and creating a coin to taunt the Grey Lord (you can watch it on YouTube), but otherwise it's reportedly faithful to the original.

It's interesting to be back in this interface again after two years. 


87 comments:

  1. I´ll bet that PetrusOctavianus will have a lot to comment on this game here :-)

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    1. I won't bet against you. :-)
      BTW, aren't you going to play it and blog about it yourself?

      This is definitely my all time favourite real time blobber, and I'm almost envious of Chet who gets to play without the Magic Map, which should make the mapping challange even harder.

      Some comments to Chet's post:

      I think you made the right decision in using imported characters. Choosing heroes from the menagerie of the Hall of Heroes would have eventually given you superior characters, especially if you reincarnate them, but imported characters means a more consistent challenge. There is a rather fun challenge in the Hall of Heroes to get one of the "secret" super heroes, though.

      Empty flasks are very rare is CBS, so hoard all you can find.

      Food can also be scarce, so be on the lookout for a place where edible monsters respawn.

      Check for illusionary walls _everywhere_. You could have found a nice beginner's set of armour adjacent to the room you started in.

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    2. Just out of curiosity, what makes those characters selected from the Hall of Heroes "eventually superior"? (Aside from the secret ones.)

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    3. Unless you import super characters from DM, Reincarnated characters from the Hall of Heroes will have superior stats.

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    4. From the Dungeon Master Encyclopaedia: Resurrecting a champion keeps all its skills and statistics. Reincarnating a champion slightly improves statistics and removes all skill levels.

      So, since skill levels will eventually be regained, you'll soon have characters at the same skill levels, but with improved stats. The problem is surviving long enough to get there.

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  2. I never knew there was an expansion to Dungeon Master

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  3. I never have understoood the concepts of law and chaos as ethical entities.

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    1. I think we have to thank M. Moorcock (and perhaps the neo-platoists?) for that. There must be an intermediate literary reference between a pulp fantasy writer and ancient philosophers, though. Perhaps another reader will illuminate this dim cave for us.

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    2. As I understand it Order and Chaos is not "good" and "evil" in themselves, but taken to the extreme both lead to "evil". Extreme order leads to stagnation and oppression, while chaos leads to anarchy and "might is right". So balance is "good", even if it means Erekose had to first genocide one race and then nearly another one after that in his Eternal quest for the Balance.

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    3. The Moorcock books that dealt with this in the most coherent manner are the Corum books I find.

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    4. I agree. The Corum books are IMO the his best work in the Eternal Champion series, and all six books are of good quality, and they have an internal coherence.
      Elric is very variable, while Hawkmoon is low quality pulp that took Moorcock less time to write than it took for me to read.

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    5. I always thought that Moorcock loaned the ideas from Taoism, but some time ago read from his forum that Zoroastrianism was more of a source and one influence for Elric being Kullervo from Kalevala mythos.

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    6. Petrus: Did you ever try Count Brass?

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    7. Yes, but I don't remember much of them. So I guess they were better than Hawkmoon, but not as good as Erekose, Elric and Corum.
      I think the last Count Brass book was also the end of The Eternal Champion series and all loose ends were tied up?

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    8. I'd put them as worse then Hawkmoon, as I think of myself as a reasonably intelligent guy and I couldn't make heads or tales of that ending. I seriously have no idea what happened after reading most of the series.

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    9. I have only read his original Elric novel.

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    10. Although it has been years since I read any of Moorcock's Eternal Champion books, I think I'd agree with the sentiments expressed above as to the quality of the different series.

      I also want to mention the "Saga of Recluce" series of fantasy novels as another example of Order/Chaos, particularly since the author (L.E. Modesitt) starts off with Order seeming to be the "good", but over the course of many novels it does become rigid. Grey wizards are introduced as well. I strongly recommend the first dozen or so books in the series to anyone who enjoys these Order/Chaos archetypes...the details are quite well done and each book is (mostly) standalone.

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    11. Oops - that author is L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

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    12. I think law and chaos makes a lot more sense as ethical entities than "good" and "evil." Few people in the real world deliberately set out to be evil. Ethical dilemmas revolve more around how to be good. The extent to which we follow direction and authority versus our own consciousnesses is a key part of those dilemmas.

      I've been taking notes for a longer posting on virtue and alignment, but I thought I'd wait until I get into games in which alignments feature more substantially.

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    13. One could also see Order and Chaos as Safety/Security and Freedom.
      Massive surveillance, oppression of free speech ("we can't risk offending anyone") and a society where you are more likely to be violated by the government than by some random stranger, is when Order is too extreme and becomes "evil" (IMO, at least).
      While too much Freedom to do as you please is not good either.
      Today's society is definitely moving towards Order. Too much, IMO.

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    14. PetrusOctavianus: Yeah, the comic Dominic Deegan went into the whole Order: Safety, security, restraint, subjection, and stagnation vs Chaos as creativity, inspiration, anarchy, violence, madness, etc.

      I would like you to keep in mind that your 'too much order' scares the PANTS off the rest of the world.

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  4. "So this game is kind of hard, huh?"

    I remember first time I played CSB and everytime I got close to a certain pit one or two of those annoying little imps would fly up. They are easily killed by a lvl 1 Fireball, so my party jumped into the pit, bent on genocide. They only managed to say "My God, it's full of..." before they were nibbled to death by wall to wall imps.
    Good timed! :-)

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  5. You were right, Chet... You did get here :D

    First comment ever

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    1. And rizla was my first commenter. I had completely forgotten about this. Thanks for the memory!

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  6. whew, has it been two years already?

    anyways, enjoy this... thoroughly malevolent game. (or so i perceived it back when i was 13 and didn't know Dark Souls.)

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    1. Man, I thought you were dead or something.

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  7. This game throws you in at the deep end hehehe
    epic start to your quest

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  8. Good luck.

    I never had the wit and patience to even find an exit for the first level.
    But I'm not a reference for dedication as I didnt get past level 8 or 9 in Dungeon Master (but with Master I or II character in almost every aspect: I kicked a lot of door).

    I feel the awful difficulty of this game will either cure your addiction or let you forever hungry for more.

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  9. Just a little factoid - Writer Nancy Holder who penned the intro is the wife of FTL Games founder Wayne Holder.

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  10. I'm currently playing through CSB as a Let's Play on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBAC24BA7E349E344

    I hope it's not considered a spoiler to offer a suggestion without saying why: When you get to a crossroads, take the "Ku" way. That is all.

    I actually don't feel that Lord Order is evil, or even Lord Chaos for that matter. They are simply either side taken to the extreme, in that they will do anything to further the goals of either order or chaos, respectively. They have no choice to do anything else, just as a wolf must take down a gazelle. I see them in this game as two universal forces in earthly forms. That said, both are very unhealthy for human life as we know it. If anything, the DM games illustrate that a sort of balance between chaos and order is needed.

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    1. Have you read much Moorcock, Amy?

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    2. Go to your library and take out the Corum books and it will alllll make sense.

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    3. Amy, I've watched the first three of parts of your LP. Seems we have rather different playing styles. I prefer using the keyboard for movement; it's painful to watch you use the mouse to click on the arrow keys...Also, you seem to rely almost exclusively on the Fireball spell; I prefer to vary a bit, and I also find those wands that cast Fireshield quite useful when fighting critters that have fire attacks.
      And using lvl 6 Fireballs against the Munchers (which I incorrectly called "Imps" earlier) is overkill. A lvl 1 Fireball is actually enough.

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    4. Sorry about the arrow-clicking, Petrus. I'm just used to doing that. I recorded part 11 today, and I used the keyboard a lot more. Yeah, I love the fireballs, heh. I know I could use lower-level fireballs in quite a lot of instances, but I usually have the spells pre-loaded, and I don't know what I'll run into next. Plus, again, force of habit.

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  11. I tried a Java port of this once, years back, and it was crazy-hard, and I didn't get very far.

    Each class apparently has a rune associated with it- that is used to differentiate the different paths(Amy's comment about the 'Ku' path).

    I did peek at some maps, and will warn you this- make sure you check everywhere for illusionary walls, and record what is on each side of each block. Every path loops over and across each other, up and down multiple dungeon levels. Have fun mapping!

    Most rooms are basically puzzles you have to figure out how to get across, and most get reused- the first time you may be going from north to south, then later on you have to go from west to east. And yet because of the geography you won't be able to exit to the wrong sides.

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    1. It didn't take long for me to confirm exactly what you said.

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  12. I wonder how one comes up with such a poor and contrived premise for a game as this one; not that it's the only dungeon crawler with a very shaky "story".

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    1. What's annoying is that the game itself doesn't have any story--no NPCs or world-building and such--so the framing story in the manual is the only chance the developers had to do something original with the setting. They came up with the dumbest premise, and then compounded it by offering no explanation for why my four champions would start the game naked.

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    2. Well, they were all relaxing at a nudist camp when they were summoned, and the summoner didn't think to check if they had their gear on them before hand.

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  13. I remember playing CSB on Amiga way back, unfortunately it was so frustrating I didn't give it more then a couple of hours before I quit. Got me thinking about "crawler" games tho, and I realized that since you have expanded gaming platforms, I highly recommend "Black Crypt". It was an Amiga only title, but apparently the developers later released a couple of levels for the PC, but not the full game. Very much like DM and CSB, but with far superior GFX and sound. Instead of the standard lame dos port, the developer took full advantage of the Amiga's unique chipset. To me it's has remained one of the best crawlers of all time, aside from maybe EOB or the new LOG, In fact I think someone is currently working on a Black Crypt mod for LOG.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Crypt

    -Cheers

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    1. Totally agree with this. Black Crypt ruled my world for a couple of weeks when I broke my wrist as a teenager. Yes, I still played for hours a day, despite my arm and most of my hand being in plaster. Makes breaking a bone a fondly remembered experience!

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    2. Yeah, Black Crypt was great. Funny thing was that I didn't like it much first time I played it (but then I had just played CSB), but when I replayed it last year I really enjoyed it. It's the best DM clone after DM itself and CSB, IMO.
      But I still think the hyped up spell effect graphics look silly. Unlike the Fireball, Poison and Lightning Bolt spells in DM and CSB, the spells are not physical entities that can move in the game world (and in the case of Fireball even destroy wooden doors); they are just some pretty 2D screen effects.

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    3. I am playing Black Crypt right now, and I am loving it so far. It makes me recall how jealous I was of the few friends that had an Amiga in the late eighties, early nineties.

      Amiga = awesome graphics and sound.
      My PC back then = CGA graphics, internal beeper.

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    4. Early 1992:
      Black Crypt on the Amiga. Ultima Underworld on the PC.
      Ultima Underworld beat the last remains of Amiga fanboyism out of me and showed me the future.

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  14. I loved the original Dungeonmaster - It was one of my "genre-defining games". So I was excited when CSB came out.

    Then I tried to play it. I found a secret area with superior characters to hire. That was pretty interesting.

    Other than that, I died over and over by not jumping fast enough, etc. After a few hours of that, I gave up and never finished the game. I might have completed one area of the first level.

    I felt that FTL made CSB "hard for hard's sake", and lost the great game balance and progressive challenge that characterized DM. Alas.

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    1. I was worried that it would be too hard when I replayed it about a year ago, but to my delight I thought the difficulty was just right (I thought Dungoen Master was a bit too easy). But then I _love_ the mapping challenge of CSB. What makes it unique to me is the extremely intricately designed dungoen, where all is interconnected, and you never know where you end up next. It's like it was designed by a Diabolical Demon Director...

      Other real time blobbers lack the intricate dungeon design and each level is mostly self contained. I'm currently playing Lands of Lore, and while it's fun enough, it lacks the mapping challenge and puzzles of CBS and DM, and is mostly hack&slash and take item A to place B puzzles.

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    2. "I felt that FTL made CSB "hard for hard's sake", and lost the great game balance and progressive challenge that characterized DM."

      It's not hard for the sake of hard, but hard for the sake of challenging players (and characters) who have already beaten DM. The challenge level in CSB thus starts where it ended in DM.

      It resembles Wizardry 4 in that way a lot in my mind, in that both games marked the point where the creators stopped pulling their punches and just did everything they could to murder you. CSB isn't quite as outrageous in its cruelty as W4, but it's much more difficult than normal games of the genre and purposefully so.

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    3. In my first few hours, I agreed enough with Corey that I stole his characterization for my next title.

      This just isn't my kind of game. I like stories and NPCs more than featureless corridors and mapping puzzles.

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  15. i am so tempted to tell you something about the makeup of this game that will help you immensely in your mapping of it. but i dont want to spoil it for you. i know a friend and i spent HOURS trying to figure out the layout of this game. printing out level maps, and trying to figure out where you are at any one time consumed a LOT of our playtime. so....do you guys think it would hurt or help if chet knew where he starts this game at? would that be considered a spoiler??i mean this game is hard as hell making your way thru it and its the most confusing game ever made as far as trying to find the pathway that you want. this game isnt like the first, a linear romp thru a dungeon and it could take him a LONG time to finish this one if he's gonnna map every level. maybe im out of line even talking about this, but i remember when i first played i would have loved to have known at the start what i knew when i finished. comments? thoughts?

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    1. Knowing the coordinates of where you start will help somewhat, espacially if you map by hand. But it will still take a long time to "connect all the dots", especially without the Magic Map.

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    2. well i was kinda meaning more inyay ethay iddlemay ofyay ethay ungoenday insteadyay ofyay atyay evellyay oneyay. you know what i eanmay ;)lol, sorry, i cant be serious about anything

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    3. i dont know how to do rot13 or id GLADLY use it!!! im sorry!

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    4. Kenneth: You get some paper and write down the alphabet, then write out the alphabet again, starting with the 13th letter after A, then translate between the two. Here, I'll do the hard part for you.

      ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVXYZ
      NOPQRSTUVWXYZABCDEFGHIKLM

      Ok, joking; http://rot13.com/ or use the 1337key extension for Firefox.

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  16. CSB is viciously hard, but I don't think it is really unbalanced. With careful mapping you will eventually join the dots and have some control over where you are going.

    I remember playing this with my Dungeon Master party. I hadn't actually taught my front two fighters (warrior priests) any ninja skills, so I shot up loads of ninja levels in the worm room. Still quite do-able, though.

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    1. I wish I'd taken the time to do a little grinding in the worm room. I didn't realize the enemies I'd be soon facing were much, much harder.

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    2. Nah, you're kind of overleveled for the early game actually, believe it or not. Everyone in your party is stronger than the hidden "super" characters in the prison.

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  17. CSB was one of my favorite games.. I played it on the Atari ST. Both Dungeonmaster games were incredible for the time.. especially on the Atari.. the PC port looks a little uglier from what I remember.. but that was common back then.

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  18. Looks like fan community has been busy creating loads of custom dungeons also for DM/CSB.

    http://www.dungeon-master.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=23916

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    1. Wow, didn't realize there was _that_ many of them.
      I'm looking forward to try them eventually.

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  19. Something I came across while doing a bit of research on this one...

    From Paul R. Stevens:
    "This program is a very exact translation of the original Atari ST program, "Chaos Strikes Back". This game, and its predecessor, "Dungeon Master" were remarkable games. They fit on a single floppy disk (before 'high density' was invented) and could be played very nicely on a machine with only 512K bytes of memory. The monsters, setting, and puzzles made it one of the best games of its type. Ever. Games like "Eye of the Beholder" attempted to duplicate the effort but came up short, in my opinion.

    I played CSB on the Atari 520ST until it died. Then I was out of luck. I wanted to know how the game worked internally. I wanted to play the game to its conclusion. But I had no computer on which I could do these things.

    Finally, after many years, I got my hands on the binary executable for the game. I wrote a disassembler to turn it into human-readable op-codes and proceeded to translate it to C++ using the Microsoft Version 6.0 C++ compiler. Eight hours a day for six months. About 120,000 lines of pseudo-assembly language. Crazy thing to do. But it works.

    The game and the source code are free to do with as you please."


    That is amazing to me. What a labor of love.

    Also it's amazing that it was SO SMALL! A single floppy?
    That's some great coding.

    I have only HEARD about how difficult this game is. I've never been into pure dungeon crawlers. I have to have cities and plenty of NPC's etc. I'm guessing this is pretty stunning as well: Apparently the guy who coded this has had a standing contest with that community to see who could beat the game in the least amount of time. They started with times of 12 hours or so and ended up in the single digit minutes.

    It must have quite a bit going for it with this kind of enthusiasm. ...Perhaps I'll try my 1st DCrawler tonight.

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    1. Obviously there are some people who love Chaos Strikes Back more than I do. ;-)

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    2. I probably don't give enough attention in my reviews to programming economy and elegance. Unfortunately, I don't really speak the language.

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    3. CRPG Addict: That is really hard to tell from the outside most of the time. You can have a program that works perfectly that is terribly written under the hood. Also you will very, very soon reach games where the media (pictures, cutscenes, audio) take up more space then the game itself.

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    4. I still wonder how Elite II - Frontier fit on a single disk. One has to know that the game world of that game consisted of the whole Milky Way.

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    5. Alexander: Elite I fit on a disk by using a non-random seed that then grabbed text strings and formed them into names.

      See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elite_%28video_game%29#Technical_innovations

      This means that while each planet is unique and will be the same each time, you don't have to store any of them, just the algorithm used to create them and the non-random seed. I suspect a similar system was used in Elite II.

      I'd love to see the code written for that, and while it is assembly, it is in assembly, and thus I'd have to know that specific flavour of assembly, and spend hours tracking each operation to have any idea what is going on. Someone has done this, but damn, that would be hard.

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    6. Which is why Reverse-Engineers earn millions.

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    7. I know it's years late for this discussion, but Canageek, there is a source code available for that portion of Elite.
      One of the creators, Ian Bell, has ported the trading part of Elite to C, including the world generation algorithm.

      Check out www.elitehomepage.org and look under 'Text Elite'.

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  20. This is off topic, but I'm not sure where to post it.

    Now that Chet is playing some non-PC games, I'd welcome an article on the various emulators for playing old non-PC games on a Windows 7 (or so) machine. I've been put off by the tasks of selecting one.

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    1. banshee, are you referring to platforms such as Commodore, Amiga or Macintosh; or to consoles such as the NES, Genesis/Megadrive, and Super NES?
      I have a lot of experience with emulators for various console games, but almost none with emulators for non-PC computers.

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  21. Hey everyone!

    I wasn't following regularly this last month or two, as I was sucked into Legend of Grimrock modding. (I'm Diarmuid over the forums there, in case anyone else is also on that track...)

    I'm hovewer SOOOOOOOO excited at reading your CSB coverage, can't wait.

    I agree with everything PetrusOctavianus said about unique intricate level design, ie not self-contained levels. And on mapping, I replayed this two years ago, and, while I knew the general principles of the dungeon layout for having played it a few times before, I completely mapped it out from scratch and "connected the dots" between all little sections, one at a time, so it's definitely doable, but hard. (Then again, I'm a mapping addict...)

    Good luck!

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    1. Everything you two write about this game makes me want to avoid it. Sounds like an exercise in frustration.

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    2. I loved every minute of Chaos Strikes Back, both times I played it. But then I love mapping complex dungeons.
      I can see how some can find CSB frustrating, though. Personally I find the endlessly respawning enemies in a game like Lands of Lore more frustrating.

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    3. LoL really only got bad in the last couple areas, when Westwood clearly ran out of ideas and/or time and just threw in overly large maps filled with unnecessarily durable enemies. Other than that, the meanest thing in that game is that it is possible to save yourself into a "dead man walking" situation during the final battle, potentially having to restart the entire game only a few seconds from the end.

      I only tried CSB briefly and my reaction was "holy god where the hell am I". The dungeon sprawling freely in multiple directions and being filled with teleporters, some of them with randomly chosen destinations, was a major cold shower after DM and its mostly linear "level 6 follows level 5 which follows level 4" structure.

      I seem to remember hearing that the Amiga version of CSB had some kind of an automap function. Can anyone confirm/deny?

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    4. I'm playing through the Amiga CSB now, and no, there is no automap.

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    5. Anon is probably thinking of the Magic Map. It's not an automap, but shows the immediate area around the party. It's only in the Amiga version, and therefore makes the Amiga version somewhat easier. You still need to map the game by hand, but the Magic Map makes it easier.

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    6. I hate multiple teleporters with a passion. They show an inability to create true puzzles, and instead are mere obfuscation.

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    7. Banshee, I agree. The Dark Heart of Uukrul is a good example of a game that had real puzzles amidst its corridors and not just a bunch of navigation obstacles.

      On the other hand, I do have a weakness for mapping gridded areas, and it is a little fun, as Georges says, to connect the dots. I'm just nowhere near being able to connect them in this game.

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  22. I always wanted to play that back in the day, but judging from the videos and your posts, I wouldnt be able to deal for 5 minutes with an interface like that.

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    Replies
    1. That's weird. I've always thought the Dungeon Master interface, with point-and-click everything and paperdoll inventories, is the best possible one for a game of this sort. Even the latter games like EoB, LoL and Grimrock only made minor tweaks to it (using items with a right click).

      Do you have some specific gripes in your mind?

      Delete
  23. "The port lacks a utility that allowed players to edit their character portraits, and it lacks a long game intro that shows Chaos mining the Corbum and creating a coin to taunt the Grey Lord (you can watch it on YouTube), but otherwise it's reportedly faithful to the original."

    Does it have the hint function? The original had a thing where you could allow the "oracle" to analyze your save and give you hints if you were stuck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there appears to be a "hint" function. I'll talk about that the next time I post.

      Delete
  24. I remember playing this at a friend's house ages ago. I remember how immensly cool I thought being able to modify the portraits were. Then my lovingly pixelated characters procedeed to die. Swiftly and brutally. Never went back to CSB. Still love Dungeon Master, though and I re-installed Legend of Grimrock yesterday. I really have to see what mods are offered, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I get a "Return of Werdna" vibe from this one.

    ReplyDelete

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