Video Game: The Dungeon Of Doom
"The 40th level is Death"
A graphical Roguelike
for the Mac
, created by John Raymonds and distributed as unencumbered Shareware
from 1985-1987. Fondly remembered for its colorful bestiary and its quirky sense of humor ("The Floor
The game deliberately cultivates an air of mystery around itself; rather than provide a Monster Compendium
, it offers 26 esoteric "Rumors" such as "Beauty can tame a beast," "A Sethron is 63" tall," and "Roni is life." (Except there's no mention of any "Roni" in the entire actual game.
Our best guess is that the programmer loved Rice-A-Roni
In 1987, an overhauled version
was published by Woodrose Editions as The Dungeon Revealed
—so named for a mail-in offer of the game's source code. While not introducing any color graphics, this revision did bring compatibility with the new color Macs (and remarkably, remained playable through the next 20 years of hardware and software upheaval). Other additions included digitized sounds, secret rooms, and a boss fight
every five levels. However, few copies were sold, and today the Dungeon remains best known under its original name
Not to be confused with the other Dungeon of Doom
This game contains examples of:
- An Adventurer Is You
- Blob Monster — Black Puddings
- Carry a Big Stick — Cavemen
- Character Level
- Cosmic Keystone — The Orb of Carnos, whose theft plunges The Kingdom into "blight, disease, confusion and senseless infighting."
- Cowardly Boss — The Dark Wizard will teleport away to catch his breath.
- Creepy Cool Crosses — Wielded upside-down by Evil Clerics.
- Critical Encumbrance Failure — "You collapse under your load."
- Dem Bones — Skeleton Warriors
- Doomy Dooms of Doom
- Dungeon Crawling
- Everything's Better with Penguins — Electric Penguins
- Evil Sorcerer — Evil Cleric, Evil Necromancer, Dark Wizard
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin — The "worthless potion"
- Experience Points
- Fakin' MacGuffin — There are two Orbs you can find, and one of them is a decoy plastic ball.
- Fantasy Character Classes — Knight, Fighter, Sage, Wizard, Alchemist, Jeweller, Jones
- Final Boss / Boss-Only Level — The Dark Wizard is alone on the lowermost floor... but if you don't finish him there, he's willing to stalk you all the way back to the surface.
- Fire, Ice, Lightning
- Full-Frontal Assault — Succubi
- Game Over Man — The illusion of a skull formed by tree branches in front of a cave.
- Giant Spider
- The Grim Reaper — Reapers
- Guide Dang It — I returned from Level 40 with the Orb... so why won't the door to the surface let me out?! (Remember the rumor "There are two 'Orbs'"? Try an Identify scroll on yours. And depending on your saved game habits, prepare to retrace a lot of steps.)
- Healing Factor — Provided by regeneration rings.
- Healing Potion
- Hit Points
- Improvised Weapon / Console Cameo — A throwable Macintosh computer, whose model changed to match the state of the art as the game was updated. It actually does tremendous damage...and smashes on contact, of course.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
- Joke Item — The "Joke scroll" only triggers the response "That was funny", but just like any other scroll can fail to take effect if you lack sufficient Intelligence.
- Level Grinding — Wearing a monster ring causes endless waves of monsters to attack you. Retreat to an earlier level and it causes endless waves of fodder to attack you.
- Literal Genie — Wishing scrolls will grant you nearly any object in the game... so long as you can spell it. (It's actually quite forgiving: "extra healing potion" and "an Extra-Healing Potion, please" are equally understood, while "Death Blade +9999" will net you a Death Blade +4, the maximum, rather than punishment for your greed.)
- Magic Wand
- Master of None — Each class can identify a corresponding item (Knights: armor, Jewellers: rings and gems, etc), except for the Jones, who has no special knowledge. He does, however, have the highest starting Charisma.
- There are two theories about the significance of the name:
- Based on the Rumor "Jones lives across the street," that he's a hapless Everyman and therefore cannot identify any class of item.
- Based on what looks like a fedora being worn, that he's an Adventurer Archaeologist named Indiana.
- Mix-and-Match Critters — The Alligog (alligator/frog) and Lizzog (lizard/frog)
- Our Banshees Are Louder
- Plot Coupon — The Orb of Carnos
- Poison Mushroom — Amnesia scroll, confusion potion, blindness potion, poison potion
- Reflecting Laser — Your wand shots can miss the monster, bounce off a wall, miss the monster again, and hit you.
- Roaming Enemy — The Wandering Eye is the only monster that can turn up at any point of the game (with the probable exception of Level 40). Others are confined to a specific range of levels.
- The Six Stats
- Skippable Boss — You can flee the Dungeon without slaying the Dark Wizard, but you'll miss out on quite a treasure drop.
- Strategy Guide — A booklet called The Carnos Chronicles could be ordered for $3.25 plus shipping. There is currently no way to read it online.
- Stuck Items — The equipment you find can be cursed.
- Temporary Blindness — Induced by the blindness potion.
- Themed Cursor — It's a broadsword 'til you quit.
- Transformation Ray — Polymorph wands
- Unicorns — They're black.
- Vampiric Draining — Vampires will drain your Life Energy, causing Maximum HP Reduction. Only life potions can reverse the effect.
- Wicked Witch
- Wizard Needs Food Badly — But don't eat too much, or your stomach will explode.