RPG Spotlight #8: Dungeon Hack

Take the rules, perspective, controls, puzzles, and many of the graphical assets from the Eye of the Beholder series and mix them with the randomness, unpredictability, and challenge of a roguelike, and what do you get? SSI and DreamForge's Dungeon Hack.

Anyone familiar with the Eye of the Beholder series will immediately feel at home in Dungeon Hack - it's yet another AD&D 2E-based, Forgotten Realms-set dungeon crawler that looks and plays exactly like the aforementioned trilogy. Where it changes things up is in its single-character restriction and "four billion possible dungeons", a claim that's only possible due to its inclusion of a randomized dungeon generator.

Character creation involves the rolling of your attributes, a choice of gender, a choice of race, a choice of alignment, a choice of face, and the selection of one of seven character classes (Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Mage, Paladin, Ranger, or Thief) or a viable multi-class setup. Every time you build a new character, they'll be entering an entirely new dungeon with a completely different landmark, puzzle, monster, and item drop configuration. If you'd rather not leave the dungeon setup completely to chance, though, you can choose "custom" difficulty in order to assume control over the twenty variables the generator takes into consideration, such as overall depth, monster frequency, treasure availability, food consumption rate, number of illusionary walls, forced permadeath, and so on. And should you find a dungeon that you like, you can even keep track of its random seed in order to replay the dungeon again or share it with a friend to see how they fare when dealing with the same challenges.

Still, despite all of the options at your fingertips, the dungeons can get quite repetitive, particularly on the upper levels as they feature many of the same landmarks and monsters. And since they aren't hand-crafted, a lot of the dungeons you create will likely have elements that feel out-of-place and downright silly, such as the overabundance of keys strewn about the floor and long, winding hallways that simply lead to a deadend. Still, if you can overlook such faults, there's an enormous amount of replayability to be had in Dungeon Hack.

Interested in more RPG spotlights? Check out our previous entry for DND, or our next entry for Superhero League of Hoboken.