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Best grid-based dungeon crawlers?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Stabwound, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Stabwound Arcane

    Stabwound
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    What are your favorite grid-based dungeon crawlers? I'm talking about games like Wizardry 1-7, Might and Magic 1-5, Eye of the Beholder series, etc. Something about filling out a grid-based map while killing monsters and getting phat l00t is a lot of fun to me.

    I prefer games with included automap, as drawing maps on grid paper was a bit before my time and, although I like oldschool games and am used to writing down clues and whatnot, drawing maps is a bit too much. The Etrian Odyssey series emulates this pretty well in an electronic way, though. I'm playing EO3 right now and it's a ton of fun.

    I'm also playing the PSX remake of Wizardry 1 (it also includes 2-3) off and on, which is fun, too. It has improved graphics and automapping which really helps the playability (in my opinion) but someone here said that it's not as difficult as the original versions, although they didn't elaborate on how/why.

    So, what are your favorite games of this type?
     
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  2. chzr Scholar

    chzr
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    both ravenlofts (well they have grid movement option) and eye of the beholder series. also anvil of dawn and lands of lore, even though i prefer rpgs where i can create my own character/party myself.
     
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  3. someone else Arcane Patron

    someone else
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    Have you tried roguelikes?
     
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  4. Drogg Novice

    Drogg
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    Well with Wiz 1-4, automapping IS 'easymode'. The main challenge with those games is getting past the 'map-tricks' (puzzles, spinning rooms, elevators etc) - the combats are basically a logistical challenge that punish you for staying too long in an out of depth area, or for getting lost.

    It's a cliche these days, but if you're going to play the old blob-crawler classics, you really must try Wiz4: Return of Werdna at some stage. It's reknowned as easily the hardest crawler in existence, and a serious contender for hardest game ever made. You play as the end boss from Wiz 1, regaining your lost levels and building your 'party' (the other party-member slots are filled by the monsters you summon, starting off with some craptacular goons and making your way up to some of the tougher monsters from Wiz 1), as you make your way towards the surface to pillage the do-gooders that sent the adventurers after him in Wiz1.

    Fun premise (one of the first, possibly THE first, 'play the villain' rpgs), slightly different variation on the blob-party system but still definitely a Wizardry game, and mindcrushingly, spirit-churningly, anus-plasteringly difficult.
     
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  5. coldcrow Prophet Patron

    coldcrow
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    This one is pretty easy to answer:

    pure crawling/optimizing : Wizardry 7

    setting/realism: RoA 1-3
     
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  6. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Aha, another dungeoncrawling thread.
    Okay, my personal favourites.

    Recent ones:
    Etrian Odyssey 3 FTW
    Dark Spire
    SMT: Strange Journey
    These three are pure win. Why the fuck do dungeon crawlers apparently sell well on NDS while being a totally dead genre on PC!? Talk about console kiddies.

    Classic ones:
    Wiz7
    M&M 4-5 + maybe MM3, at least I remember liking the Cathedral of Carnage; good stuff
    Realms of Arkania 2 + maybe Shadows over Riva, although it's certainly worse than 2
    SMT 1-2

    P.S. Those I've heard great things about but haven't played yet:
    Dark Heart of Uukrul; I heard its dungeon design is one of the best and most unforgiving, traps- and puzzles-wise.
     
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  7. mondblut Arcane

    mondblut
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    This. Except there is nothing special about RoA setting, pretty generic D&Dish stuff with vikings up north and arabs down south.
     
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  8. Malakal Arcane

    Malakal
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  9. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    Dungeon Master
    Chaso Strikes Back
    Gold Box games
     
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  10. someone else Arcane Patron

    someone else
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    I forgot this, it has a food system. I didn't get far as I hate the combat system and I read the official hint book. The puzzles are scary.
    [​IMG]

    Stonekeep is a grid based rpg but it feels like an advanture game.
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. coldcrow Prophet Patron

    coldcrow
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    @Mondblut

    Setting was a too broad term in that case. I meant the "low"-fantasy aspect, where finding a magic item takes a major endeavour usually.
    Otherwise I agree with you about the german D&D clone.
     
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  12. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    I wonder if it's more unforgiving than Chaos Strikes Back?
     
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  13. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    My favourite has always been the Eye Of the Beholder series, though even I'd admit that it's not the best ones around and very unforgiving to the beginner, mostly due to the lack of the automap.

    If I was to recommend a dungeon-crawler to a beginner, then Lands of Lore: The Throne of Chaos would be the obvious choice.
     
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  14. Satori (original) Arbiter

    Satori (original)
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    Can't beat a bit of Nethack; and of course you cannot leave out Betrayal at Krondor.
     
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  15. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

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    :rant incoming:
    Well, CSB is realtime rather than turn-based, which made it even more difficult for me personally. And it was much tougher than DM, the enemies felt stronger and smarter, the supplies were limited so that you felt less relaxed, the dungeon design was more, uhm, expansive -- less linear and easier to get lost in -- and the randomness involved made it even more hardcore. I had to run away a lot! And I confess I didn't finish it. I would've tried harder if it was turn-based though. (On a not really related note, it was fun gaining experience by simply throwing daggers at a random door. As was the very first fight; don't forget to not keep standing on the plate! :roll:) As for Uukrul, like I said I haven't played it yet, but I'm generally more comfortable with turn-based combat, so I plan on giving it a go sometime.

    Also, speaking of unforgiving games: Deathlord. Now that was brutal.
    (I wonder if Black Cat has played it. It had a nice japanese setting iirc.)
     
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  16. made Arcane

    made
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    In terms of action rpgs, it doesn't get better than Black Crypt.

    If you've played the major titles to death and are desperate for more pure dungeon crawling you could try Dungeons of Avalon 1+2. Pretty average, low budget Bard's Tale-likes for the Amiga, but decent fun from what I remember.
     
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  17. Eyeball Arcane

    Eyeball
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    Anvil of Dawn. Crappy combat mechanics, crappy RPG elements, run-of-the-mill storyline.

    Why am I talking about Anvil of Dawn? Atmosphere, music and art direction are all unparalled and the level of unpretentious GRIMDARK in the gameworld is excellent and doesn't feel forced. Even with shit graphics, exploring an underwater sunken pirate ship, fighting off hordes of moaning zombie pirates and searching for an enslaved demon is a chilling experience due to the quality of the music, sound and art diretion.

    I replay this every once in a while and am amazed every time at the execution, even though the actual gameplay mechanics ARE pretty clunky.

    Download it from Abandonia: http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/304/A ... +Dawn.html
     
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  18. spectre Arcane

    spectre
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    Do yourself a favor:
    and try AdoM. Nao!

    Also, Dungeon Master (and its sequels) are the old time darlings from the time I got my first PC. There's a java based remake, so go get it.
    DM1 the easiest of the bunch, unfortunately, no automapping.
     
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  19. Orgasm Barely Literate

    Orgasm
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  20. Ebonsword Arcane

    Ebonsword
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    I'm playing through Wizardry: Tales of the Forsaken Land on the PS2 right now and it's pretty good.

    Well, except for the absolutely ridiculous amount of random battles (which is par for the course in an old-skool dungeon crawler, I guess).
     
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  21. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    octavius
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    To me it was an anticlimax after having played Dungeon Master and Chaos Strikes Back. I don't remember what excactly was wrong about it, though.
     
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  22. Luzur Prestigious Gentleman Good Sir

    Luzur
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    hmmm...Yendorian Tales I-III (good Might and Magic clones, good luck finding the first one, but i can provide you with a zip of II and III), Abandoned Places, Akalabeth, Alternate Reality: the dungeon, Ambermoon and Amberstar, Amulets and Armor (not sure i should recommend it, since i didnt really like it...), Legacy of the Ancients, Bard's Tale I-III, Betrayal in Krondor, Black Crypt, Bloodwych, Dungoen Hack, Elvira I-II, Ishar I-III, Megatraveller I-II, Obitus,
     
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  23. Zomg Arbiter

    Zomg
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    You could try RoA: Star Trail, it has gridblobber towns and dungeons with a Darklandsish overworld and an isometric squad tactics combat system. I disrecommend RoA I and III though.
     
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  24. Crooked Bee (no longer) a wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Do you mean this game, Luzur?

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I have it, but haven't played it yet. (Can't say I particularly liked Chapter 2.)
    Just tried running it in Dosbox and it seems to work. I'm not sure if I have the full version, though.
    I've uploaded a zip for those interested: http://www.mediafire.com/?m5v71xa8b8ya2yc. (Is this allowed by our dear moderators btw? :roll:)
     
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  25. Black Cat Prestigious Gentleman Magister

    Black Cat
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    The Legacy it's very good and quite unique in that it is more of a Horror game than a Fantasy or Sci Fi one, while still being a pure Dungeon Crawler. It has exploration, puzzles, tons of monsters, lots of diferent character builds to try, and it is pretty hardcore. It has an automap, too, given you mentioned that. In any case, try it. I love Dungeon Crawlers and this one's one of my favorites. Just don't hope to clear it on your first character as the game can get pretty brutal if you don't exploit metagaming knowledge.

    Of the newer ones Strange Journey is simply the best. Massive dungeons that throw every single trick in the book to you, an incredible variety of monsters that aren't just there to try to kill you but also for your character to recruit them, train them, and fuse them into new forms, a very weird setting that can be said to be a mixture of sci fi, fantasy, and horror. Also, awesome boss fights and the clunkiest suits of power armor ever.

    Others I like and that you haven't mentioned but may also like are Anvil of Dawn, Lands of Lore, the Ravenloft games, that Dungeon Master sequel I never remember the name of, Class of Heroes, the old Shin Megami Tensei games (SMT, SMT2, SMT If, Devil Summoner, Soul Hackers, the original Persona). What else? Yes, Dark Spire and Etrian Odyssey. The later even has you drawing your own maps on the DS' touchpad. The Elvira games are kind of dungeon crawlers mixed up with lots and lots of adventure elements, and they focus mostly on the exploration, the puzzle solving, the unfairness of it all, and the delightfully grotesque ways of killing your character off.

    Also, Dungeon Hack with a Wizard on the hardest and most unfair Dungeon the sliders will let you spawn is a pretty unique experience. Short and painful, but unique.

    That game is brutal. And confusing. Really confusing. And it doesn't stop at never holding you hand at all, but if you reach out for help it will cut it and then force you to eat it. Scary game.

    And I haven't played Deathlord, though I heard of it. It seems much more, uhm, epic in scope, I start feeling anxious when my role playing games leave the dungeon and start sprawling entire continents, to be honest.

    :love:
     
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