As a multiple character role-playing fantasy simulation, DUNGEONMASTER is
unparalleled. On one single sided disk there is (according to the
newsletter supplied with the game and I'm sure they're not kidding) more
than a full megabyte of graphics and sound, plus the program itself.
Talking about data compression, here it is. Dungeon Master is a game where
four heroes set out from the Hall of Champions and start their long way
through the (3-dimensional scroll) dungeon where they must locate the
Firestaff, solve its secret and finally defeat Chaos. DM is full of
animated monsters (real time; don't think too long or you've had it) that
actually follow you or seek you out; digitized sounds, interesting and
potentially powerful items and intriguing puzzles. What else can I say,
Dungeon Master is a world in itself. Thank you, FTL.
A GUIDE TO DUNGEONMASTER
Our little rescue force consisted of four. First there was Axident
Brownmold, race undescript (we name them Horoou but they aren't up to the
point where they have a name for themselves) but strong and tough and when
he went berzerk all you saw was a brown haze next to you; dangerous as
death itself but I'm not complaining 'cause he never really hit me.
In our second rank we had Snoutzy Foxtrot, a small cute female Bika with
much more mana than strength. She was our best priest and although everyone
agreed with me that we should all get as much experience as possible in
each of the major fields (even Axident realised the logic) she always
stayed one step ahead of us with potions and the like. An invaluable asset
to the party, she was.
And then we had Barbanq the Bald, a male Human - of all races - and he was
a good man, strong, a perfect aim with missile weapons and soon an
outstanding wizard. Such was our company. As you see, a strange
combination of creatures; a Horoou, a Bika and a Human. I was the only
decent Lizar in town. And by the way, I'm Slither Smith.
Passing through the Hall of Champions, gathered there for the purpose of
restoring balance in the world, we held a long meeting. I was choosen as
chairman or something (meaning I was immediately put in the most vulnerable
position) and decided on a policy. Seeing how we were bound to have a long
and hard trip, we should train to a maximum - the Hall was filled with
those who had taken their plight to lightly.
From the very first minute on, I ruled that mana should -never reach its
maximum. Completely filled mana just sits there; I was our duty to use it
as much as possible. So every time someone could make a potion (Snoutzy had
a flask) or do a spell such as Lo Ful, whether this particular spell was
needed or not, it would be cast. The only way to gain experience is to
train, and we started training before we were out of the Hall.
Beyond the Hall, we soon found a staircase, but passed it. There was more;
we read some scrolls with simple advice, and then we opened a door. At this
point, I thought it necessary to give everyone's backpack a destination:
Snoutzy wasn't too strong so she could keep all things magical - flasks,
wands and other gear. Barbanq would stow away all the food, and Axident
would take spare weapons and the like. Me, I took the torches and scrolls.
And down we went.
The first level was relatively easy; perhaps it was my earlier incarnation
playing tricks on me but there seemed little difficulty fighting Mummies
and Screamers once we had some experience. As far as keys were concerned,
it was just a matter of locating them. There were two things that weren't
immediately clear to us: a door that said "none shall pass"; Axe solved
that problem with his falchion. And then we found a lever that seemed to
have no direct purpose, but after a thorough search we found an extra room
with a pleasant surprise.
Things started getting interesting on level two. Apart from some gadgets
and the secret rooms that held a compass (in the beginning) and a sword
(near the end) there were six major "caves", all branching off the main
hall where it said "choose a door, choose your fate."
The thing was, we cleared out the creature cavern (where Snoutzy surprised
us all with her first successful fireball) and found a gold key. Seeing how
at least four doors obstructed progress between our present location and
level three, we figured there would probably be a key in each of the six
caverns. And we figured right - finding hidden knobs, opening a door from a
distance with a Lo Zo spell, reflecting an Eye in the wall and retrieving a
gem were some of the things that kept us busy for many hours. Also at this
point, we found out that lots of puzzles could be solved by throwing or
putting something in the right place.
Like I said, we only needed four keys to get to level three; the fifth we
used for a little extra at the end of level two. And the last we used on
level three for a shortcut.
Monsters were getting more ingenious - on level two they were nasty with
poison and clubs, but they could all be killed if you took the right tactic
(mostly hit & run, we took a lot of steps backwards). On level three there
were some surprises; it was only the use of the proper spell (as found in a
scroll) that killed a Wraith. The wasp was easy, but it seemed there would
never come an end to the multitude of worms. These worms were good for
one thing, though: we killed so many of them that their dried remains could
no longer be carried. So I figured that we might as well excercise a
little, and by the time we came at the end of level three we had all gained
three ninja levels by throwing the stuff ahead of us all the time. And by
the way, throwing stuff in front of our faces revealed three hidden rooms,
unseen behind illusionary walls. And each room held an interesting surprise
in the form of potions or magical boxes and the like.
Onto level four and here at last we found some worthy opponents, though my
scales still creep when I think of Axident, so fascinated by the
magnificent twists of a flying Couatl that he just stood there and gawked -
while the rest of us swallowed fireballs and tried to save our skins.
Puzzles were getting harder to solve. Some of them needed Barbanq's logical
deductions, others required Snoutzy's hunches or Axe's straightforward
disbelief. Many solutions were done in more than one step; it was the level
where the first complex combinations occured. And things could often be
brought down to a process of trial, error and elimination. For instance,
getting to know just what our location was in the Blue Hall was simply a
matter of leaving large items on several floor spaces. Not hard, just a lot
Level four yielded its prizes reluctantly, but some things we found were
Beholders and skeletons lived on level five, where the access was gained
through "The Riddle Room". Four items were needed, three to open the door
and one more to gain the first of five iron keys. The other keys were
gained by pushing buttons, giving gold to a long-dead King and putting (not
throwing) an item in a blue screen (by the way, here's where we discovered
that a -lot of interesting things could be found by jumping or climbing
The keys opened the most magnificent gold doors, and I remember vividly how
Axident remarked, "Well, these doors look like the bad guy is right behind
them. I think we're almost there." It was not until level seven (where we
found stairs to level 12) that Axe swallowed that remark.
Behind the doors, a junction. We took the right side, and had some trouble
guiding a couple of skeletons to the place where they would trigger a
secret door. And when we found some torso plate, I knew that we had only
just begun our explorations.
We also found two vorpal blades on this level, as well as some slayers and
a crossbow. Nice equipment for the right foes.
We got down the stairs to level six and found that this was the Tomb of the
Firestaff. Our use of the first Ra key opened a magic door and beyond it we
found an ominous message on a scroll. Finding no further entrance, we
descended onto level seven and were attacked with swords, undead screams
(here our vorpal blades proved very efficient), zig-zagging fireballs and,
finally, thieving Imps. After we had lost our shields and arrows for the
second time (and retrieved them after chasing the little rascals all across
the enormous cavern) we made it a rule to have a fireball and a magical box
ready. Just in case; it was no good running across a room where a dozen or
more direction-change devices transported fireballs from one corner to the
But the fireball machinery could be stopped, and after we got some rest we
found a Mace of Order, a Delta (that was a tricky corridor; we had to walk
slow and turn back at the right point) and several less exclusive items,
such as a key carelessly left on the floor.
Onto level eight where we puzzled a long time solving "when is a rock not a
rock" until Axe once more tried the easy way - disbelief - and got us to
the next piece of trouble. A direction changer almost had us fooled but
Snoutzy noticed something weird in the length of a hallway and soon we were
deep into the corridors. Giant rats formed little trouble because they
hated fireballs - we built up a good supply of drumsticks from these
animals, which we could use well as we'd all but run out of food. Then
there were crazy creeps that looked too much like rust monsters to let them
get anywhere near us so we never really did find out what tricks they had
up their tails, and finally the Gnome magicians yielded a good many cheeses
and corn ears which, with the help of our ever voracious Snoutzy, soon
turned into cobs.
The only interesting puzzles on the level were a gate that needed either a
gem or a jump to open, a fireball mechanism that could be tricked with
small items and a gate that was opened by putting something on it that
weighed nothing - found elsewhere. And then there was the skeleton key,
and we came back to our seven-level staircase.
Level nine started with a warning "Beware my twisted humor - the Deceiver,
the Snake" but the route that had to be followed was hidden in the warning
so we had little trouble, except for the fact that a couple of skeletons
and spell-casting beholders needed a stern lesson in manners.
A Key of B opened one of two doors, behind the door could be found another
Key which opened the one not initially selected, and then (after killing
the first vicious, poisonous, far-too-quick and well-armored giant
scorpion) a third key brought us to "Zoooooom". It took us a long time
before we got the idea to make a right turn and then step forward. We
entered a room filled with all kinds of nasties and by the time we were
finished Axe and I had both gained some fighting experience. We found a
speedbow and a helmet, and further down in the bowels of the twisted stone
passages we found mail, a Shield of Lyte and a Hardcleave - not to
mention all the less spectacular items hidden in secret rooms.
Down the stairs and here we got to a point where Axe, had an exit been
present, would have given up and gone back. But then we all got a little
irritated, it didn't matter because with some logic and some testing we
soon found out how to "turn back" "clockwise", it all depended on how you
interpreted the words; you could do a lot of turning without moving. Of
course, you did need to do it all on the right places, but then I honestly
admit I never did quite find out whether our solution was pure logic or
just plain luck.
Anyway, old acquaintances had made some new friends on level ten and armed
with a Fury and a Diamond Edge (don't ever move) we cleared out one of the
Cross Caverns. Never seen so much blue in my life. Later on we finally used
that magnifier and still later a second Cross Key; we cleared out another
cavern and were once more very grateful for the existence of our vorpal
blades; elementals are a nuisance.
Level eleven and here's where we trained our leg muscles; we did a whole
lot of running from one side of the dungeon to the other just to push
buttons and find keys and open doors. Our efforts were rewarded with both
armored opponents (Knights wearing cursed armor, as we soon found out) and
immaterial whatchamacallums, they were either dispelled or disrupted but
anyway very noxious and fiery.
We did find a lot of goodies and while Axe wore Lyte's armor I donned
Darc's. Heavy protection any way you looked at it; after a lot of running
to and fro and discovery of the third Ra key we came near the end of the
level where "cowards will be hunted down and killed"; remember Kesey: Never
Give an Inch.
The approach for the giant spiders was locked off by pushing a button and
without too much trouble (there was something tricky with a moving traphole
but a quick step was all it needed) we opened the skeleton door onto the
staircase and then went to the Tomb of the Firestaff.
The Firestaff Tomb held guarding stone golems only; beyond that it was
deserted. Useful and, indeed, essential items could be found in abundance
once the correct door was opened with the Ruby Key. After that it was
merely checking walls to see what secret passages (one entire multi-level
stairway came in handy) could be found and what lay behind them. We found
the winged key and some very interesting scrolls; also the last Ra key and
then we went to the Firestaff itself.
Once we held the - incomplete - Firestaff, we studied how it should be used
and went to level twelve.
Level twelve seemed much like the elemental plane of fire; we killed some
devils or demons or whatever they were but soon we heard a sound like a
massive electric discharge and then we stood eye to eye with Chaos
incarnated. We managed to walk around him for a short while but this guy
was -fast ; the only way to survive was jumping down a hole in the
ground - no time to use rope.
From the frying pan into the fire: we plunged right into the dragon's lair
and it was chase and be chased, we drank lots of Vi potions and just when
we were all healthy again I heard a great belch and we managed to escape
his breath weapon by inches.
The thing that saved us in the start was a single pillar in the hall; it
was relatively easy to hide behind. Seeing how we didn't feel up to
fighting a monster of such gargantuan proportions, we took the easy way
out - a staircase, and we once more found ourselves in the "Fire Hall". To
the left was the original entrance and we made it before fireballs hit us
again. For several hours, we didn't do anything but rest.
Finally we got up, opened the last Skeleton passage, went downstairs and
used our winged key. This time we knew the danger we would face, and we
After we slayed the dragon we found the Power Gem, firmly fixed in the
mountain's flesh. Barbanq remembered the right spell and Snoutzy set if
free; when she held the Firestaff on the radiating Power Gem they both
seemed to melt. In the end, we held the real, complete, flaming Firestaff
in our hands. Although every way up was now blocked, we feared not: armed
with the Firestaff and the knowledge how to use it, we did not hesitate to
confront Chaos and end its reign of terror.
And I say, we do look kinda pretty in the History Gallery.
That's it!!...... let's hear it for the Dungeon Master!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!