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SummaryI Still Play This Today
The GoodI didn't purchase this game until 1988 but I have played it ever since! This game has almost unlimited replay value in that each new game is just that...a new game. Your quest is the same -- find the Amulet of Yendor. But because the dungeon is created randomly, the levels are always new and what you find or creatures you fight are different. The game is very difficult to beat as you are not able to "keep" saved game files (when you load a saved game, it is removed and when you save a game, the game terminates).
Forget about sound and graphics. The graphics are ASCII graphics (in color though) with the monsters represented by letters (R=rattlesnake, O=Orc, T=Troll, etc.). The sounds (what few there are) come through the internal PC speaker and not through a sound card. However, this just adds to the charm of the game which was originally designed for mainframe computers.
The AI on this game is very simple but effective! For example, Orcs will always look for gold to defend before attacking you. Nymphs stay "asleep" unless bothered. So monsters almost have a personality even though they are nothing but letters!
The BadThe game is almost to hard. By "cheating" (meaning keeping a copy of my save files and playing a saved level over and over until I beat it before proceeding), I was able to beat the game once. But to go through until the end without keeping old save files, I have not been able to win and I've been playing until 1988. While your character (a smiley face) advances in levels as he gets more experience from defeating monsters, the monsters you face become more powerful than you.
This starts at level 4 with the rattlesnake. Not only does the rattlesnake take hitpoints, it also can take away strength. The weaker you are, the weaker your attack. At level 8, the Aquator appears. This monster doesn't take hit points but only attacks armor. So unless you have leather armor, the "A" will make your armor almost worthless. This goes on and on.
Normally one might "hang around" to build up experience points and to go up in levels, right? Well Rogue defeats this strategy by requiring you to eat or die. Since the only way to get food is to find it, you are forced to new dungeon levels in order to find more food (and whether or not food will be found is based on the random generator). So the game forces you deeper and deeper whether you are ready or not!