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The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos Preview

2018-09-10

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is an existing IP that is very popular in France. The story of The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is freely available in several seasons as audio books, where they also venture outside of the dungeon, but you need to have a sufficient high skill level in French as that is the only language they are available in. There is also a comic book series and several novels as well. There was a crowdfunding campaign to make a TV show out of it, which should be available by now, but I can find only references to a trailer. The popularity of the IP outside of French speaking countries will certainly be limited, given that almost everything is only available in French.

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is a parody on the likes of Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings and others. It features a band of travelers that are very inexperienced and have no names. They are only known by their class or race. Wikipedia has this to say about the original characters in the series (modified somewhat to make it fit the conteents of the article):

  • The Ranger: a not-so-heroic adventurer who acts as the team leader, despite heavy resistance from the other team members. He tries to keep some cohesion amongst the group, but he finds it difficult, especially with the Elf and the Dwarf constantly nagging each other and the Barbarian always trying to run ahead.
  • the Dwarf: grumpy and greedy, the dwarf enjoys annoying the other members of the group, especially the Elf. He is also proficient in drinking beer and fighting monsters. He constantly argues with the Elf. The two are always mocking each other, although the dwarf usually instigates the fights. He fights with an axe, and can speak the goblin language (despite his people's declared hatred of goblins).
  • the Elf: an archer, though she is actually more likely to hurt her own allies rather than her enemies. Naive and comically girly, she likes nature, animals and she takes great care of her appearance (actually nearly everything the Dwarf dislikes). She constantly argues with the Dwarf. In addition to her bow, she can see in the dark and has some surgery skills.
  • the Thief: a cowardly thief armed with a dagger, though he never uses it as he would rather hide behind his comrades than fight. He can deactivate traps and open doors but there are doubts about his abilities.
  • the Ogre: a large glutenous ogre who enjoys music and poetry. Unlike the others, he speaks in his own language. The Enchantress is the only one to understands him, forcing her to act as a translator between him and the rest of the team.
  • the Enchantress: a female wizard who serves as the translator between the Ogre and the rest of the team. A living library, she literally keeps shelves of books with her (that is, in the Ogre's backpack). She reads profusely, sometimes in the most inopportune of moments, such as when under attack. She is widely knowledgeable, but her knowledge is rarely useful. She is incredibly unskilled with magic, but slowly starts getting better powers
  • the Barbarian: a rude, rather stupid barbarian who is only interested in fighting, usually yelling "Battle"  each time an enemy appears. He also mentions what appears to be his deity, Crom, whenever he is awed. Though quite a good fighter, he usually attacks without thinking ahead, even against more powerful enemies than him. Comically, he seems to have a sixth sense for solving riddles.
  • the Minstrel: a minstrel who often sings, but his music is appreciated only by the Elf and the Ogre.
  • the Paladin: a paladin who is quite lazy. He also says that he prays to Dlul when he sleeps, but the other characters are less than charitable to his religious views, merely believing that he is lazy.

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is a new story in this series and is made in cooperation with the owner of the license. It is an RPG with turn-based combat and is fully voiced, which is good as there is a lot of banter between the party members, where they are bickering and disagreeing with each other most of the time. All the dialogues have the intention to be humorous, although I do think that some things were funnier than others. I didn't roll on the floor of laughter, but I did smile occasionally.

There can be a maximum of eight characters in your party and a minimum of seven (which is what you start with). This means you can add one additional character In Chapter 2, you will encounter three more characters of which you can choose one to join you at the start of the third chapter. Once you made a choice for that extra character (or choose no extra character and stick with your seven) it cannot be changed anymore. Seven plus three characters sums up to ten and in the list above there are only nine, the missing character in that list is the Priestess, who is focused on healing.

As the title indicates the game takes place in a dungeon and consists of ten chapters. One chapter per level of the dungeon. You unlock a new chapter and thus a level, at the end of the current one. The total estimated gameplay is 40 hours, including the side quests. In the dungeons you meet a range of, sometimes weird, characters you can interact with, receive quests from, trade with or just talk to. The game starts on the second level of the dungeon which has a bar and you meeting the paladin for the first time. A quest was shown where we were asked to retrieve the recipe of the famous 'bear in beer stew' of the bar's cook. The cook can be found in the kitchen and you can start a conversation with him. In the conversation there are several approaches that could all lead to the same result. In this case there was actually not an option where a path through the dialog would fail. They were all just different approaches to the same situation. The option to threaten him was chosen and it did not take long for the cook to tell where the recipe could be found.

The map in the game shows where in the dungeon you are at the moment. The map is empty at the start and when you discover new areas, these areas become visible on the map as well. The map will not only show the levels you have been to and where you are at this moment, but will also show your main quest objective and the currently active side quest objective. The quest log will show all the quests you have, which is where you can select what side quest you want to have active. Quests can sometimes be resolved on the same level of the dungeon, but sometimes you also need to travel to another level to resolve a quest.

To make the dungeon levels more interesting the developers have included various traps and puzzles on each of the dungeon levels. Next to that there are plenty of items you can find as well that might be interesting to your party or that you can sell. What you choose to do while exploring the dungeon and the items you find will have an effect on the relationships between your characters, but this will not influence the story.

As mentioned, the combat is turn-based. The initiative in combat will be based on the courage of each of the characters. AT the start of a fight your characters need to be placed in a deployment zone, so you can try to place them more strategically. In this stage you can swap the equipment of the characters with what is available in your inventory, to make sure they have the right gear for the fight. As each character is a stereotype of its class or race, each character will have a unique set of abilities that no other character will have and also a unique skill tree, where the skill points gained when leveling up can be spent. The amount of skills that will be available for each characters is not fixed yet, but the skill tree as shown to me, had about 20 skills. The amount of experience points that you will get throughout the game, should be enough to level each character up to about level 10, but how many skill points you will receive per level was not fixed yet. At the end of a fight each character will get a number of experience points depending on that character's participation in the fight. There is however a minimum that every character will get, regardless of what they did in the fight.

As in many turn-based games, positioning yourself is important as hitting someone from the side or from the back does more damage, compared to a frontal attack. In the combat that was shown to me there were six enemies, but there can be up to sixteen enemies in a single fight. Like in exploration, in combat the characters in your party will comment on the actions of the other and these actions can also influence the relationship between the characters.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is a humoristic series. The developers of the game wanted to keep that humor in every part of the game, even in combat, where every skill you use will behave in a humorous or absurd way.

All crates and barrels in the game can be destroyed in combat. Destroying a crate or barrel might create an opening that will give your party an advantage. You should be aware though that the game has special barrels as well, like explosive, venomous and even beer barrels that will have an effect on anyone in the neighborhood when they are destroyed.
Characters can't die in a fight. When they reach zero hitpoints, they fall down unconscious. You have three turns to try and heal that, but if you fail to do that, the character cannot be used in the current fight anymore, but will stand up again after the fight with an injury that influences the characters stats negatively and will stay on the character until the end of the next fight. Characters don't regenerate health. If they are not healed after a fight, they will start a next fight with the same amount of health points as they had at the end of the previous fight.
Friendly fire is enabled during combat, so the effect of your actions on your party needs to be taken into account. Also if you have an area of effect skill that offers healing, any enemies in the area of that spell will also receive that healing.

An important part of the equipment in the game are belts. There are different types of belts, which modify some of the stats of the character wearing them and have item slots. There are belts with a high influence on the character stats, but they will have less item slots and some have a lower influence on the stats of the character wearing the belt, but have more item slots. The items you store in the belt, like scrolls, hand grenades and potions, can be used in a fight.

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos is estimated to be released in 2019, for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The UI of the game will be the same for all platforms.
There is no video available showing some gameplay, these two videos showing the characters and enemies are the only ones that are available.

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Box Art

Information about

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos

Developer: Artefacts Studios

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Combat: Real-time
Play-time: Unknown
Voice-acting: Full

Regions & platforms
World
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· To be announced
· Publisher: Playdius

More information