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Dungeon crawling done right
This is the first in another of Apogee's successful trilogies and lays down the foundations for the later Realm of Thor and Thor's Revenge. They are all fairly similar in style and while they may be pretty basic on the surface, if you're into your rogue-likes and are a fan of Rogue and Hack, then all three games are well worth digging out. The player takes on the role of a random hero who finds himself stuck in Thor's realm. In order to escape the depths of despair, you must seek out three magic items and of course this involves exploring dungeons, slaying beasts and grabbing weapons and armour when you can. There's also food, coins and keys to look out for, making this somewhat akin to the classic arcade hit Gauntlet, so if you enjoyed that one, you should find plenty to entertain you here. The first thing most people will notice about the game is its crude graphics, with the main character represented merely by a smiley face, and with enemies represented by ASCII characters and if this is your first exposure to such a game, you might be put off. However, to do so would be a little bit of a mistake as this is actually a fine old-school adventure. Although it's lacking in the depth of more modern RPGs, the gameplay that is on offer here is highly compelling and there is a genuine sense of excitement as you explore the twisting tunnels of the murky underworld. It is a tricky game, and can be quite unforgiving at times but if you're prepared to die a lot for a while, there is a highly rewarding game to enjoy.