Now you might not be aware of my fondness for Dungeons and Dragons (you will be) – and likewise pen and paper RPGs in general – or my fascination with the word “doom”, but now that I mentioned both of these character traits you’ll understand how I could NOT pass up a game titled: Deep Dungeons of Doom. I’m also a big fan of alliterations as well, so I’m a triple mark for this title.
This 2013 8-bit, real time, sort-of dungeon crawler, proposes we take up arms and venture forth into said deep dungeons, slaying monsters, praying at dodgy altars and gathering coins for upgrades. All of this happening at the also sort-of break-neck speed of your twitch reflexes and attack cooldown.
So what we have here is a pretty clear-cut gameplay mechanic, you need to pay attention to your attack cooldown and use it as soon as possible, keeping in mind that if you press the button earlier it will slightly delay your attack. There’s also this sweet spot during the cooldown where if you push the button just right, you get to attack immediately. Similar to the reloading mechanic in Gears of War.
But things aren’t that simple because your enemies will be doing the same things you do, attacking and blocking with their own cooldown timings and specific abilities, where these apply.
As such, this means that you have to pay close attention to your attack cooldown indicator as well as to the visual hints that your enemy is prepping an attack, so that you can block within the appropriate time window. So the game relies as much on timing as well as your distributive attention skills and those dreaded twitch reflexes that we’ve been training ever since playing that first game of Super Mario Bros on the NES.
The game isn’t a simple 8-bit arcade fighter, though it might look like it at first sight and considering the upper mentioned reflex and timing based mechanics. Deep Dungeons of Doom also includes several classic RPG elements to make the overall experience that much more layered.
You can choose from three very classic RPG classes: Crusader, Witch and Mercenary, basically they’re the stand-ins for your basic Fighter, Mage and Rogue characters.
Each of them comes with their particular abilities and characteristic, as well as three skill trees that you can, and should, invest your hard won gold into, to unlock the various skills. Two of the three skill trees have to be themselves unlocked by questing through a couple of dungeons, so the game makes you really work for your permanent buffs.
You’ll also find items when dungeon crawling but you can only have one item and one consumable on you at any one time, so choosing what to wield and when to chug that health potion and when not to also become important choices throughout a dungeon’s runtime.
Also, there are boss fights that do not work within the usual gameplay rules, beating them will take a bit of experimenting with timings, and dying, there’s quite a bit of dying involved.
Graphics and soundtrack
I mentioned the graphics are very light-weight, 8-bit sprites which can have that exploded pixel look when played on a big ass desktop screen however, you can play the game in a window and that makes it considerably less explodey.
Despite the detail limitation imposed by the 8-bit graphics, I have to tell you that they did a great job at animating them to look very fluid, and when they pixels aren’t blown up, your brain will fill in the detail gaps. I kind of wished that they would’ve went with 16-bit graphics instead of 8-bit, but they obviously wanted to recreate a particular type of atmosphere and experience.
To stay in tune with the 8-bit graphics, the music is likewise 8-bit music, however, thanks to today’s considerable more space and processing capabilities – as opposed to the limitation of the NES, even 8-bit music can sound incredibly well. And this is no exception, Deep Dungeons of Doom sounds very atmospheric even though a bit repetitive here an there, it’s to be expected to feel a bit of soundtrack fatigue when you’re going through room after room slaying things right and…only right actually, the enemies are always on the right.
Also, the music before every boss fight is very reminiscent of the Doom soundtrack.
I thoroughly enjoyed this title and suggest you totally give it a try if my description of it got you interested.
I am curious what other Deep Dungeons of Doom players thought of the game, so do not hesitate to let me know in the comments, likewise drop me a line if you’re gonna check it out further.
See ya next time, again in the past.