Dark and twisted take on the fantasy strategy genre
Dungeon Keeper is Peter Molyneux's take on the fantasy strategy genre and mixes together elements of his previous games like Populous and Syndicate, along with Civilization and Fantasy General, to create a fine strategy game that was revolutionary for its time. It's a little like a fantasy version of The Settlers, where players are charged with creating and managing their own personal dungeon, marshalling their resources, building up their defences and launching devastating raids on their rivals. While all this sounds familiar, it is the depth, complexity and twisted sense of humour that makes Dungeon Keeper stand out and everything about the game has been so clearly thought out. For example, the world possesses a believable ecology where the relationships between creatures is well defined and which feels genuinely real as a result, while the descriptions of your guide through this world, The Mentor, are delightfully dark. Dungeon Keeper also offers plenty of opportunities for strategy and tactics, with combat that is enjoyably challenging and with resource management testing your decision making and planning skills. Visually, the game remains quite striking, with bold creature and level design that creates a strong atmosphere of dread and grim adventure but which maintains the humorous touch, and with sound to match. There isn't much in the way of a story and instead the game offers a more open-ended experience, so if you're looking for strong narrative with a sense of purpose and progression, you're likely to be disappointed. However, if you want something a little unusual to flex your strategy muscles but which also appeals to your dark side, then this is well worth investigating, as is the sequel Dungeon Keeper 2.