Deadly Rooms of Death
|Deadly Rooms of Death (Webfoot)|
DROD Cover art
Deadly Rooms of Death (DROD) is a computer puzzle game. It was created by Erik Hermansen in 1997 and has been regularly extended since then. The original version of the game published by Webfoot Technologies is no longer available, but the newer Caravel DROD can be downloaded from the company's website.
The original release is by Webfoot Technologies in 1997 as version 1.03 of the game, followed shortly after with versions 1.04 and 1.11 to fix some bugs with unsolvable rooms and levels. This early version is commonly known as Webfoot DROD.
In 2000, the original author of the game, Erik Hermansen, got permission from Webfoot to release the game as open source. With the help of several volunteers, he recreated the game from scratch, rewriting the entire game engine and creating improved graphics and new music for it. The main game screen, however, remained mostly the same as the original Webfoot version. This version, version 1.5, is commonly known as Caravel DROD, and was first released in late October 2002.
Version 1.6, also called DROD: Architects' Edition, included improvements to some of the graphics, but most importantly a level editor, and was released in 2003. Community-designed rooms and levels are grouped together in packages called "holds", and extend the gameplay beyond the community-imposed challenges of previous versions.
The sequel to 1.6, DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold, was released in April 2005 for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Also called DROD 2.0, the game includes many new additions and improvements, such as an expanded plot complete with in-game dialogue, higher resolution graphics; better user interfaces in both the editor and in game; new monsters and puzzle elements; additional customizability for holds, scripting system and connectivity to an online DROD database.
A commercial remake of the original DROD game was also released under this engine, named DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon. Several commercial add-on holds have also been released for this engine as 'Smitemaster's Selections', such as "The Choice" (2005), "Perfection" (2005), "Halph Stories" (2005), "Beethro's Teacher" (2006), "Journeys End" (2006), "Devilishly Dangerous Dungeons of Doom" (2008), "Smitemaster for Hire" (2009), "Truthlock Method" (2011), and "Flood Warning" (2012).
The third game in the series, DROD: The City Beneath, or DROD 3.0, was released in April 2007. It includes all the features of Journey to Rooted Hold, plus a complete new official hold with in-game dialog, three new design styles, and further enhanced customizability and networking. Cut scene support, a ray-traced lighting system and variables that allow non-linear plot progression are the most prominent new features of DROD:TCB.
As an extra game, DROD RPG was released on September 12, 2008. Created by Mike Rimer, DROD RPG is a DROD game coupled with several RPG elements including hitpoints, equipment, and the ability to change weapons. The game takes the DROD franchise in a new direction and features a new character, Tendry, a member of the stalwart army, who tries to find his way to the surface world. Some of the older puzzle elements were changed to reflect the RPG style, including keys to open doors that used to open under other conditions.
A fifth game named DROD 4: Gunthro and the Epic Blunder was released April 1, 2012 - it included a couple of new game elements, and three new graphical and music styles, as well as the inclusion of some more scripting capabilities. DROD 4 is a prequel to the original story, and, although it was released after the others, is set before the Journey to Rooted Hold.
A sixth game, titled DROD 5: The Second Sky, was released on June 21, 2014.
The game is entirely tile-based and takes place on a 38x32 rectangular grid. Most monsters and objects take up a single tile, though some monsters (such as serpents) take up multiple connected tiles. Each room is a separate puzzle, and to solve it you must defeat all the monsters in the room and exit it. The player controls the movement of Beethro Budkin, a dungeon exterminator equipped with a Really Big Sword™. In the fictional world where the game takes place (the Eighth), his job as a Smitemaster is to clear dungeons of invading monsters. Most gameplay stems from, or elaborates on, this concept.
Since the game is also turn-based, monsters or objects will only move once per turn. Each type of monster has a different algorithm for its movement, depending on its location relative to the player. As a result, Deadly Rooms of Death requires logical problem-solving rather than reflexes. Each turn, the player can wait, move Beethro into any of the eight bordering squares to his current one (if not already occupied), or rotate his sword 45 degrees. Some rooms simply require finding a sequence of moves that allows Beethro to defeat all monsters without being killed; other rooms require solving more complex puzzles, thanks to game elements such as orbs that open and close doors, trapdoors that fall after being stepped on, and so forth.
In King Dugan's Dungeon, King Dugan has a problem. He let his guards eat their meals down in the dungeon, and they spread crumbs all over the place, so suddenly his lovely dungeons are swarming with cockroaches, not to mention goblins, serpents, evil eyes, and other nasty things. It's really gotten out of hand. Beethro Budkin, dungeon exterminator extraordinaire and the main protagonist, is called to the castle and, after a short briefing by Dugan, thrown into the dungeon with the doors locked securely after him. With only a Really Big Sword™ at his disposal, it's up to our hero to clear the place, so that the prisoners can receive their torture in a clean and safe environment.
Journey to Rooted Hold takes up the story some time later. Beethro has been accused of "seeding" (leaving some monsters alive so as to create a job for himself later), and returns to King Dugan's dungeon with a portable orb, to open one door he could not get past before. This leads him to an encounter with a Negotiator of the Rooted Empire, a vast underground civilization. Beethro descends to Rooted Hold, the hub of the Empire, in search of answers to his questions; his adventures in Rooted Hold are continued in The City Beneath and The Second Sky.
Gunthro and the Epic Blunder is a prequel relating the adventures of Gunthro Budkin, Beethro's grandfather, who was also a smitemaster.
DROD has the highest rating amongst puzzle games listed at Home of the Underdogs, and was recommended by Ed Pegg Jr. of the Mathematical Association of America and Tony Delgado of GameSetWatch
- Tony Delgado (January 1, 2007). "COLUMN: 'Beyond Tetris' - Deadly Rooms of Death". GameSetWatch. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
- "Smitemasters Selections". Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "Flash DROD". June 16, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
- Ed Pegg Jr. (June 16, 2005). "Math Games: Deadly Rooms of Death". Retrieved 2010-07-30.