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Caverns of Kroz (DOS)

Caverns of Kroz DOS Level 2

MISSING COVER

Genre
Perspective
Pacing
Gameplay
...
Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
User Score
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (40858)
Written on  :  Jun 20, 2019
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
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Summary

Nice early action game from Softdisk

The Good

After making two text adventures and a few minor titles, Apogee founder Scott Miller made an ASCII-based action game called Kingdom of Kroz, which he submitted in a competition. Its success warranted further Kroz games over the years. The first three games were dubbed “The Kroz Trilogy”, and Caverns of Kroz is the second game in the trilogy. An updated version of the game was released later, while the original was made freeware on the 3D Realms web site.

Caverns has the protagonist navigate 40 levels searching for a valuable item. Progress is hampered by three types of monsters that need to be destroyed with your whip. What I like about it is it has the ability to cover all eight directions in just one shot, not only killing monsters surrounding you, but also destroy any terrain that is blocking your progress. You start the game with 10 gems, although more can be collected as you proceed through the game, along with other items such as keys, whips, and teleports. As gems represent your health, running out of them causes the game to end.

The keys not only let you unlock doors that are blocking the way to the exit, but they also lead to treasure chests and other useful items. The teleports, meanwhile, are useful for a quick getaway. Not only can they be used to get you from point A to B quicker (providing that you don’t end up in the wrong place), but their use is essential in some chambers.

When you touch an item for the first time, the game will tell you what it does. This also applies when you reload your saved game. You can also pause the game, allowing you to find the safest way to leave the chamber without running into too many monsters or obstacles. This becomes particularly crucial in the occasional chamber, where you’re up against about a lot of monsters surrounding you. In these types of chambers, you also need to figure out how many times you can use the whip to kill monsters.

The graphics for the game are based on the IBM PC character set. The player is represented by a smiley face, the whips represented as canes, and teleports represented as up arrows. The monsters have different appearances and colors, which indicate their severity. The red monsters are less aggressive then the blue ones. Water and lava are represented as blue and red stylized blocks, respectively, and glow like little neon signs. All of the characters stand out if you are running the game with color graphics.

You can control the protagonist simply by using the standard four arrows. You can also utilize the numeric keypad, meaning if you are surrounded by hazards such as pits and lava, you can move diagonally to any empty space adjacent to your location.

The sound effects are only heard from the PC speaker, as sound cards weren’t available at the time. You hear a beep every time you move your protagonist. In my opinion, the most satisfying effect is heard when you run into a “Magic Bomb”, which destroys anything within a five-block radius.

The Bad

If you use a teleport somewhere in the levels where you are surrounded by a lot of enemies, it is hard to see where you end up.

The Bottom Line

Scott Miller and Apogee seem to be a bit slow when it comes to graphic. When Caverns came out in 1990, EGA or VGA graphics were starting to become the norm. But that’s fine with me, but if they still used ASCII graphics in 1993, I would have been worried. Anyway, the game has the same objective as the first game: navigate a series of levels, defeating monsters and searching for a priceless item. Think of it as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom but with the IBM PC character set.