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Long ago a secret war raged between Heaven and Hell, each using humanity as its pawns. While the Prime Evils of Hell were engaged in war their lesser lieutenants conspired to overthrow them. They mutinied suddenly with the combined forces of Hell, overwhelming the three Primes. Stripped of their power, they were banished to the mortal realm. Human agents of Heaven, upon discovering this, found the three Primes and sealed them within gemstone prisons, each of them sent to a different corner of the earth and kept under guard to prevent them from escaping.

As years turns to centuries, however, the power of Heaven's agents waned, until eventually not even the people of the town of Tristram knew that buried deep under their chapel was the soul of the Lord of Terror, Diablo. As the strength of his prison waned Diablo reached out into the world, corrupting the dreams of the land's good king, driving him to attack his neighbors. The nation of Khanduras fought wars with no intention of winning, desiring only slaughter and suffering. Now the lands lay scorched, home only to monsters and the dead. Rumors spread of a way to stop the demons, as well as rumors of great wealth, and both draw adventurers from far to the small town of Tristram.

Players start by choosing their avatar's class: either Warrior, Rogue, or Sorcerer. Warriors have the highest maximum strength and can repair weapons and armor inside the dungeon, but this will lower the item's maximum durability. The Rogue has the highest maximum dexterity and can both see and disarm traps on treasure chests. The Sorcerer has the highest maximum magic attribute and can recharge the charges on a spellcasting staff at the cost of his own mana.

Characters can equip armor, weapons, and accessories found in the chapel's shifting dungeons, but strong equipment will have minimum attribute requirements to be worn. Most equipment will have randomized stats, but some strong monsters will drop Unique weapons with set stats. Magic can be learned by finding magic tomes, and leveled up by finding multiples of the same spell tome, but advanced spell levels can not be learned if the character's magic stat is too low. Upon destroying enough monsters to level up the player is rewarded with additional attribute points to distribute to whichever attributes they wish. Occasionally the few people left in town will inform the player of a job they would like done, either an exceptionally strong monster that must be slain or a unique item found deep in the dungeon, and will reward the player in kind upon completion of the quest.

Diablo can be played cooperatively with 1 to 3 other players over LAN or BattleNet with the PC versions, or with 1 player locally on the PlayStation. Players can team up to survive the depths of the dungeons, or turn on each other to steal one another's items from their corpse. The quest unique zones are removed from the online version of a dungeon, and instead quest monsters will be found wandering the level that would normally lead to their unique area.


Diablo Macintosh Game launch menu
Diablo Windows A rather simple way to become rich, I guess...
Diablo Windows First class bunch of crazed mages using lightning bolts on you.
Diablo Windows Several actions to perform with this NPC.

Alternate Titles

  • "Diablo (Game of the Year)" -- Windows/Macintosh re-release title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

A graphical NetHack for the 90's Windows Ray Soderlund (3497)
Fantastic action-based roleplaying game surely ahead if its time Windows Darrabban (33)
...A veritable Clickfest Windows Paolo Cumin (14)
Pure Hack and Slash Windows ZombieDepot (45)
From the Darkness of my Heart Windows コナン (89700)
The most interesting and addicting game I have ever played! PlayStation Troy Leisten (5)
Truly another classic from Blizzard Windows Cyric (50)
Hack n' Slash Heaven Windows Yeah Right (57)
Simple but addicting. Windows Meg C (7)
Click, click, click, clickity-click, click - BORRRING! Windows Maury Markowitz (226)

The Press Says

High Score Windows Mar, 1997 5 out of 5 100
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) Windows Oct 16, 2002 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Future Media Windows Apr, 1997 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100 Windows Jun 13, 2012 19 out of 20 95 Macintosh Jun 13, 2012 19 out of 20 95
Gamezilla PlayStation 1998 89 out of 100 89
Game Players PlayStation Jun, 1998 8.8 out of 10 88
RPGFan Windows Jun 11, 2000 86 out of 100 86
Game Revolution PlayStation Jun 04, 2004 B+ 83
Absolute Playstation PlayStation May, 1998 79 out of 100 79


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1001 Video Games

Diablo appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The game treats the Dark Lord (Diablo), the final boss, as a regular enemy rather than a boss monster. He has no catchphrase (e.g. the Butcher's 'Fresh Meat'), his name appears in white instead of gold, and if the player kills him enough times (by starting a new game with the same character) the game will even show the player his stats.


At one time, cheat programs for Diablo were sold in stores that allowed the player to obtain special objects, increase levels, and such.


  • Blizzard was originally going to make Diablo a turn-based game;
  • There were persistent rumors about a special quest that had to do with the cows (the player had to click on it X time in a special way at certain time of the day after doing so and so and things like that). It's false of course, but it didn't stop the newbies from asking. Blizzard was so amused, that Cow Quest was officially added to Diablo II.


In most (if not all) Blizzard games, the player can get a quick laugh from repeatedly clicking on certain objects. In Diablo, try the cow outside the city.


The Diablo art team were fans of Natalie Portman. Embedded in the menu image are messages that are only visible if you capture the image and reduce the image to 16 colors.


Numerous published novels have been inspired by the Diablo campaign setting, among them:
  • Moon of the Spider (2005) by Richard A. Knaak.
  • Kingdom of Shadow, The (2002), by Richard A. Knaak.
  • Black Road, The (2001), by Mel Odom.
  • Legacy of Blood (2001), by Richard A. Knaak.
  • Demonsbane (2000), a Robert B. Marks' e-book.

Online Multiplayer

The game was still being played in 1999 via against other Diablo players online.

In future news, Diablo is still being played by people on in 2003. This is based on the fact that hundreds of people are still devoted players playing on in 2002. Though much has changed since 1999, the game remains the same, complete with hordes of cheaters, Koreans, and the infamous cow level.

Randomly Created Environments

The dungeon itself is randomly generated, so nothing is ever the same if the player restarts the game.


Cain's real name is Deckard Cain the Elder. It may be a reference to Rick Deckard played by Harrison Ford in the movie Blade Runner.

Shareware Version

There was also a shareware version available on CD which featured a fair amount of gameplay including all three classes and even multiplayer. The player could buy it for a small amount of money in many stores around the time of the release of the full game.

System Compatibility

This is one of the few games that will run natively on Windows NT. Diablo requires DirectX 3, but the installation CD comes with DirectX 5.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) – Game of the Year.
    • October 2001 - #7 in the "Top 50 Games of All Time" list.
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) – Role-Playing Game of the Year (Readers' Choice).
    • December 1999 (Issue #185) - Introduced into the Hall of Fame.
    • March 2001 (Issue #200) - #8 Best Game of All Time (Readers' Vote).
    • April 2005 - #6 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list.
    • Hall of Fame member.

  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #6 Top Game of All Time.

  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #11 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking.

  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #3 in the "All-Time Top 50 Games" poll.

  • PC Player (Germany)
    • Issue 01/1998 - Best RPG in 1997.

  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1998 – Best Game in 1997.
Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Alan Chan, Isak, Entorphane, Kalirion, Kasey Chang, kbmb, Patrick Bregger, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Scott Monster, and Sicarius.

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Contributed to by Kartanym (10766), robotriot (8637) and Xoleras (66135)