Reaping the Dungeon

RPG 1993 Dos Dosbox Frontline Software Top down Dungeons and Dragons

Retro dungeon crawling fun

When it comes to old-school dungeon-crawling thrills, the likes of Rogue and Hack are tough to beat but Reaping the Dungeon does a pretty good job of imitating their retro charms. The basic premise behind the game is similar to any other rogue-like, with the player exploring a series of dungeons, battling monsters, collecting treasure and weapons, and levelling up in RPG-fashion. The first of Reaping the Dungeon's twists is that it is a sci-fi rather than fantasy game, so instead of exploring fantasy dungeons, you instead explore ones in space. To be honest, it doesn't change things much, mostly because the game's graphics are so basic it's hard to tell the difference. Still, it makes a nice change to the plot, which details how a machine beneath the surface of Jupiter has gone out of control and let loose hordes of psychotic machines, which at least explains the orange tint to the game's visuals. Most of the game is familiar stuff, with treasure replaced by precious metals and which act as currency, while collected crystals can be used to upgrade your character's abilities. However, a few neat elements help make Reaping the Dungeon stand out, notably the oxygen system, with your supply being depleted with every step, thus encouraging careful movement, and which must be replenished by harvesting it from the plants which make their home in the dungeons. Visuals and sound are of course extremely basic, with graphics formed of ASCII characters and effects restricted to crude noises. Despite this lack of sophistication however, Reaping the Dungeon is a good example of the genre, so as long as you are not expecting a flashy experience, there is some nice old-fashioned adventuring to be had here.

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