Dungeon Keeper 2
|Dungeon Keeper 2|
Cover art for Dungeon Keeper 2
|Publisher(s)||Electronic Arts, Sold-Out Software|
|Release date(s)||NA June 30, 1999|
|Genre(s)||Real-time strategy, god game, first-person, Dungeon management game|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer (2-4 players)|
Dungeon Keeper 2 is a strategy game developed by Bullfrog Productions and published by Electronic Arts in 1999 for Microsoft Windows. It was released in Europe and North America in June 1999. It was the sequel to Dungeon Keeper and predecessor to the canceled Dungeon Keeper 3. Unlike the original, Molyneux did not have an active role in the creation of Dungeon Keeper 2, though many of his ideas lived on from the previous game. Like its predecessor, players take the role of a 'dungeon keeper', building and defending an underground dungeon from the would-be heroes that invade it, as well as from other keepers. In the game's campaign mode, the player is charged with recovering the portal gems from each area in order to open a portal to the surface. This was charged as a setup for the sequel, where the gems would be used to invade the surface world and defeat the faction of goodly heroes.
The most immediate change from Dungeon Keeper is in its graphics; the world is now fully 3D. Where monsters were previously sprites, they are now 3D models. Several rooms, spells, and monsters were changed, added or removed, as were many game mechanics. For example, if a creature is dropped into the middle of a melee, it is stunned and vulnerable for a few seconds before getting up to fight. One major feature of the game is its "My Pet Dungeon" mode, which features sandbox-style play where players have a nearly unlimited amount of time to construct a dungeon uninterrupted, and wherein heroes only invade the dungeon if the player chooses to trigger it.
Major changes from Dungeon Keeper
- The dungeon heart now stores a limited amount of gold; in Dungeon Keeper (particularly the Deeper Dungeons expansion), if the player ran out of gold before building a treasury, no additional gold could be mined and stored.
- Spells are now cast using mana, which is automatically replenished over turns, based on the amount of land or mana vaults a player owns. Previously, they were cast using gold.
- Dropping creatures onto the ground stuns them for a while, unlike in Dungeon Keeper, where they could immediately begin to move again. Different creatures remain stunned for varying amounts of time, Bile Demons for example take several seconds to haul themselves off the floor whereas Goblins will push themselves back up almost immediately, and imps are not stunned by dropping at all. Creatures are not stunned if dropped in a Combat Pit.
- Imps no longer require training to gain levels; they gain experience from performing their duties in the dungeon.
- Creatures train up to only level 4 in the training room, up to level 8 in the combat pit, and up to level 10 through combating enemies.
- The scavenger room was removed, and two rooms were added:
- a casino that can be used to improve morale or funding
- a combat pit, for training creatures up to level 8.
- The horned reaper is no longer a typical creature: it may instead be summoned for a very large amount of mana. "Horny" will then go on a rampage, destroying anything in his path for a short time.
- Many creatures were removed, and many were added. Notably absent are the dragons and demon spawn, replaced by a relatively weaker fire salamander. The game has a greater reliance on humanoid creatures. In the first game, the only evil creatures to possibly be humans were undead, mistresses and warlocks (none of which were obviously human). But in DK2, not only have the warlocks and mistresses become obviously human, but rogues and black knights have been added. With the removal of creatures like the aforementioned dragons, the spiders and beetles etc., this results in the dungeons changing shape from the beast-inhabited dens of the first game, to more civilized-appearing settlements in the second.
- Many of the spells were redone, and can be upgraded after all basic spells have been researched.
As in the original, the player takes on the enigmatic form of a large floating green hand which moves around the map picking things up, dropping them, casting spells and interacting with specific items. The game interface is blended between a large panel at the bottom of the screen and interactive items in the world. For example, the buttons to select which room, door or trap to build or spell to cast are in tabs on the panel and are then dropped into position in the world. Locking and unlocking doors or activating items is done by clicking on the item in the world. Disabling imprisonment of enemy creatures is done by clicking a metal bar next to the prison door, barricading it closed.
The game plays quite similarly to its predecessor, however gameplay is more streamlined with less micromanaging and elimination of unnecessary information. Examples include the removal of the "kill enemies"/"beat them unconscious" switch (creatures are always knocked unconscious - the behavior can't be changed) and the creature statistics panel, which provided generally irrelevant information like blood type and luck. The creature combat experience was also moved to display as a circular "progress bar" in the creature's "health flower" over their heads, removing the need to find the information in the panels. The colors, music and sound in Dungeon Keeper 2 also tend to be brighter and more vibrant; the original Dungeon Keeper was generally darker and "grimier" with more serious overtones. Dungeon Keeper 2 tends to be much more tongue-in-cheek with various fourth wall-breaking jokes. An example of the change in mood is when a creature hits jackpot in the casino. This releases a flurry of stardust springing from the room, while the game blasts "Disco Inferno" and the creatures in the casino dance around. The fact that this casino (together with the fighting pit) replaced the eerie Scavenger's Room from Dungeon Keeper solidifies the altered mood.
Like the original, Dungeon Keeper 2 places the player in the role of a malignant overlord bent on world domination. The player must conquer all the underground lands in the kingdom to recover the portal gems, which can be used to open a portal to the surface world so that it can be invaded by evil. The kingdom itself takes the form of a large table containing a 3-dimensional map where the player clicks where to attack next from the highlighted regions - this is quite similar to Dungeon Keeper's world map with mainly graphical improvements. There are 20 main levels in the campaign. Some levels have multiple methods of attack allowing the player to choose which method and sub-region they prefer.
At any stage, as in the first Dungeon Keeper, the player may choose to "Possess" one of his creatures. The player then sees through the creature's eyes and controls its actions, in a style similar to a first-person shooter.
Gameplay is overseen by "The Mentor", an anonymous evil sounding male, voiced by Richard Ridings, just as in the original Dungeon Keeper, who tutors the player in the early levels and provides hints and advice throughout the game as well as general notices such as "It is payday" or "Your dungeon heart is under attack!" He also provides occasional humorous messages such as "One of your imps does a great impression of you. He can even do the ears." The Mentor also provides a sometimes humorous monologue at both the objectives and debriefing screens for each level about the level goals and the characters involved. He also points out the movements of rival keepers and the king on the world map.
After completing a campaign level, the player receives a short movie before the debriefing screen which contains a joke based on the game.
Other than the campaign, the game also includes multiplayer and skirmish modes, as well as the sandbox mode, "My Pet Dungeon". My Pet Dungeon levels assign the player a goal such as "gain 10,000 points" where points are gained by building, casting, claiming, slapping and just generally managing the dungeon. Once the player completes the objective they are then allowed to choose to keep playing on for as long as they like. The sandbox mode includes a "Hero toolbox" where the player can grab Hero characters and drop them in their dungeon for their minions to kill. The toolbox also includes a slot machine-like device for changing the skill level of the characters in the toolbox. In place of the button for summoning the Horned Reaper, the interface panel also gains a "trigger an invasion" button that causes a team of heroes to emerge from a Hero gate and attack the player's dungeon.
The skirmish mode enables the player to fight against computer bots. However, the difficulty of the bots is not particularly high, as the AI tends to have limited decision making and contingency planning abilities, but the bots are still generally challenging under favorable conditions, specifically, a sufficiently large quantity of land to build perfectly square rooms and a large quantity of nearby gold or gems
Though not as highly rated as its landmark original, Dungeon Keeper 2 successfully transformed the series into true 3D. Reviews varied highly, with some criticism about the lack of new features compared to its predecessor, Dungeon Keeper. IGN was among the highest raters of the game, awarding a score of 8.9 and the editor's choice award. Many reviews cited the lack of a fully supported multiplayer mode. While the CD-ROM release of the game contained only four multiplayer maps, this problem was later rectified in with online patch, which increased the number of maps to a dozen. One of the most praised aspects of the game were the variety of game types included, the My Pet Dungeon freeform sandbox mode, the linear campaign mode, and the somewhat limited skirmish mode along with the previously mentioned multiplayer mode.
- Dungeon Keeper 3 - Development of Dungeon Keeper 3 began in June 1999 but was cancelled in March 2000.
- War for the Overworld - Spiritual successors to Dungeon Keeper.
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