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Default FTL Games - The Roots of CRPGs

January 10th, 2011, 23:14
Bitmob has the next entry in their Forgotten Ruins: The Roots of Computer Role-playing Games - FTL Games, who made Dungeon Master:
FTL Games doesn't have the kind of catalog that any of the other developers on this list do, but their first computer role-playing game would leave an undeniable mark. I didn't actually get to play this one until very recently (thanks only to the work of fans), but it's easy to see how it had predated efforts made by titles, such as Westwood's Eye of the Beholder, to bring a living, real-time dungeon to life. Interplay's Stonekeep -- years later -- may have had cutting-edge graphics and live video, but the basic gameplay can already be seen in something as early as FTL's Dungeon Master.
Dungeon Master was released in '87 and quickly took the CRPG community by surprise. Not only did it boast strong visuals for the time, it was also a real-time dungeon crawler (although, whether it was truly the first is debatable when compared to the more obscure Dungeons of Daggorath in '82 or Alternate Reality: The City from Datasoft in '85).
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January 10th, 2011, 23:14
Still my favourite game after all these years.
Been playing the excellent addons from the Dungeon Master forums. It's a shame this particular sub-genre has taken a backseat recently.
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January 10th, 2011, 23:29
Very cool to finally see an article that mentions Dungeons of Daggorath. That was the first crpg I ever played, and it was utterly fantastic for its time.

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January 11th, 2011, 00:27
Great game. No RPG has immersed or engaged me as well as did Dungeon Master. The puzzles, the slow but calculated combat, sounds, artwork, the UI, the magic, the fantastic level layout and the game world interactivity all combined to create an unmatched experience. There's a lot that the game pioneered and contributed to gaming. If there are modern equivalents, I'd say perhaps Bioshock or Fallout 3 are the best analogy, but not precisely.

The puzzles and stone world in Lara Croft GOL are somewhat reminiscent of DM.

Alternate Reality: The City is a great game for its day. Lots of depth. Too bad the 8bit version seemed incomplete and the platform just couldn't handle the ambitions of Phil Price & gang. The 16bit versions were poor conversions, except the Amiga version had great music.
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January 11th, 2011, 00:45
Also.. I have a dream to create a modern RPG much in the vein of DM. Instead of thousands of disposable enemies that rarely emotionally impact the player, the game would focus on hostiles that would take much longer to kill and many more animations. Of course it would focus on the dungeon environment.
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January 11th, 2011, 06:43
I bought an Amiga with 1MB RAM just to play Dungeon Master. That was most certainly my life savings. Awesome game.
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January 11th, 2011, 12:45
I spent hours in drawing the maps of the dungeons levels. It took me more than one day to finish the final boss. No internet at the time.
Dungeon Master it's on my top ten.
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January 11th, 2011, 14:49
Originally Posted by CutLunch View Post
I bought an Amiga with 1MB RAM just to play Dungeon Master. That was most certainly my life savings. Awesome game.
Same here. I had a cut-out DM advert from some magazine and for years it was mocking me & my ZX Spectrum. And when I finally got it, I never got to actually play it- EOB was shinier & easier (of sorts)…
I will though :)

If you can brave your animosity towards jRpgs, there`s Etrian Odyssey for Nintendo DS- pure dungeon crawler in the spirit of old DM. Best bit is that you draw your own map with stylus on the touch screen…
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January 11th, 2011, 14:55
I bought Dungeon Master II a few years ago - on a flea market, in a version that was sold as a kind of game magazine accompanied with a CD-ROM from the mid-90s … Unfortunately I never played it so far …
“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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January 11th, 2011, 15:41
Dungeon Master; a godfather of the 3D tile based dungeon crawling classics, is one of the older games that I've yet to complete and master, despite a couple of aborted attempts on PC and more recently, Amiga. It has a wonderful amtmosphere and intensity about it, from the exploratory gameplay (mapping feels compulsory) to the primitive menace of impending combat, aurally and visually. The game is still compelling after all these years and I still get the urge to hook it all up just reading about it!

However whilst I really adored Lands of Lore, Eye of the Beholder I+II (couldn't stomach the third game) and even Stonekeep,
I couldn't seem to get a firm handle on the slightly esoteric UI and spell-system of Dungeon Master.

This was before a friend gave me his Amiga 500 for a loan and with it - a nicely preserved original copy of Dungeon Master with a manual. I had a good time in the Easter of 2008 or so just testing Amiga games, but mostly I'd end up coming back and trying to get further in Dungeon Master and just having an all round good time with the game. I made notes and basic maps - activities which were fun yet just so alien from the casual convenient trappings of modern crpgs.

My crazy enthusiasms can be found in this ol' Ironworks thread, for those so inclined to read amateurish let's play themes replete with silly fan-fiction!


I confess to being distracted by something else though and never really made it passed the sixth or seventh level, alas. But maybe some day I'll give it another crack. *shakes fist vigilantly*.

Another Amiga RPG in the same vein as DM is Crystal Dragon, which a friend recommended to me. One day I'll allocate the time to get back into these golden oldies.

The thread is a killer nostalgia kick!
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January 11th, 2011, 15:49
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
The thread is a killer nostalgia kick!
You don`t say :) Your mention of my beloved Amiga made me wanna finally get through Captive -another excellent, innovative DM - spawn….
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January 11th, 2011, 17:59
Dungeon Master was really good. I remember killing the dragon by stopping time while he was under a pit, then running one level higher and jumping through that pit on him.

Now, Chaos Strikes Back, that one was pretty awesome. As nonlinear as it gets, multiple "quest"/puzzle solutions, randomized loot (vital items included) and Diabolical Demon Director which was a relatively small room hilariously full of puzzles and had to be visited a lot of time to be fully "solved" and of course no level scaling, which due to the dungeon´s layout meant player could meet some of the toughest enemies 20 minutes after start.

Anyway, nice to see FTL got an entry.
Last edited by DeepO; January 11th, 2011 at 18:15.
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