Dungeon master represents a coming of age to yours truely as it was the first game i played and decided to ‘power play’ By that imean i wanted to master it entirely and not only finish the game but dominate it.
Dungeon Master for those that don’t know, is a classic step by step first person adventure where you basically enter a dungeon at the ground level as some sort of disembodied spirit with only a hand. You then have to reserect Heros who are all trapped in Mirrors like its some sort of man shoppers hell where they wait for their girlfriends for so long outside the changing rooms and glance once too often at the mirror that it somehow steals their soul.
So once you have reserected 4 heros (i did 3 because thats how pro i thought i was) you then decend into the dungeon facing progressicely harder and harder enemies. Admittedly this game was made when 3d and animation were just the glint in ID’s eye however animation is tricked in this game by having the sprites (lol) dance around which makes you think the gang of mummies that you just happened upon were actually doing some wierd line dance with the music in their heads.
Needless to say that as an ARRR PEEE GEEE you basically are there to start as newbs, bumbling into the dark with as much chance of survival as a small 3 legged puppy, however soon you start to level up and find better weapons other than harsh language (i kid you not, shouting at the enemies is very effective, one can onlu assume that the heros have terrible bad breath and the mere utterance of a shout sends clouds of steaming vapour ahead scaring off the enemies)
You level up, you get better spells and find armour etc etc. As games go its got all the survival mechanics that we see so often nowadays in the very populr game slike minecraft, skyrim etc so its highly likely that this game inspired many games developers of today with its hunger system, xp system, inventory, magic items and so on.
Overall the game seems like a huge rolling epic crusade through the bowls of hell but the reality is that its about 10 levels of a dungeon, some of which are static and sprawling levels but once you get to about level 6 you are then into a game where the levels merge. You will likely find yourself going up and down stairs as if you are some pizza delivery boy in san Francisco but the effect is that you enter into the spirit of this being a huge game.
Often as i got lost i would drop items to try and remember where i had come from, often i would come across these items having forgotton i dropped them and for a long time would say to my brother that there was some sort of imp dropping stuff ahead of me (sadly im not even kidding there)
Once you have got the firestaff and decended into Lord Chaos’s lair, you then had a wierd shuffling around the map trying to erect a cage around the pointy headed dick bag, once done – you simply evoke some option and low and behold lord chaos was actually lord justice or what ever his name was. Sadly this was a massive anti climax for me so what i ended up doing was figuring out that if i throw the firestaff across the chambers threshold, i can keep unlocked all the upper levels, this was awesome for me and pretty much started my power gaming life as i then went around the entire dungeon from level 1 to 10 nuking everything with the fire staff. I would giggle like and girl and even do the hand movements of the staff to the screen as i sent a massive fireball towards a purple worm and watch it explode in a single hit.
I held pure power in my hands that day, pure unadulterated power. I was hooked on power gaming and working out the mechanics, the tricks, the methods that games are made by. I would start any new game not taking in the story or the introductions, i would look for how the game is setup. Searching for how power ups happen, working out how levels are designed and so on. Dungeon master really was my introduction to proper non casual gaming and i cherish its memory like never before.