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Video Game / Dungeon Keeper

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"Evil Is Good."

A pair of groundbreaking management games developed by Bullfrog Productions and published by Electronic Arts which put the player in the role of a fantasy Evil Overlord responsible for constructing a dungeon, recruiting an army of monsters and seeing off RPG-style hero invasions.

Dungeon Keeper (1997) put RTS in a surprisingly small-scale setting — the player runs a dungeon full of monsters, treasure and other goodies, and must defend it from incoming heroic adventurers. It was also one of the first games to include a "first person" mode, in which the Keeper could "possess" one of his creatures.

A sequel, Dungeon Keeper 2 was released in 1999 and a third installment, Dungeon Keeper 3: War for the Overworld, was briefly in the works before being cancelled in 2000. The series has quite a few Spiritual Successors in Evil Genius, Overlord, Startopia, Dungeons, and (arguably) Dwarf Fortress and Badman. There is also a board game called Dungeon Lords that is a non-video game Spiritual Successor. A Spiritual Successor by the name of War for the Overworld appeared on Steam Early Access after a successful funding through Kickstarter, and is looking like the closest thing to a third DK installment that will ever see the light of day. Cyanide Studio (famous for the Blood Bowl video games) and Paradox Interactive have released another spiritual successor titled Impire and set in Ardania, the setting of the Majesty series and its spinoffs.


There is also an MMORPG being produced, to be released exclusively in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Western fans of the original games have responded to the news with a quick cycle through elation, confusion, anger, despair, and finally apathy. At this point very little is known about Dungeon Keeper Online, with the only thing being seen of it is some concept art and a video showing what's apparently some gameplay.

In 2014, a reboot of the series, developed by Mythic Entertainment and also published by EA, was released for iOS and Android. It almost immediately became the subject of online rage due to its requirement for extremely frequent in-game purchases to actually do anything.

Both games in the series have been made available for purchase at

A Fan Expansion of the first game, titled KeeperFX, is available here. It features better compatibility with modern systems, and additional fanmade campaigns.


This game provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Grenade and Missile spells in the first game fired living projectiles that exploded in a shower of blood. The sequel added a 'Dwarf-chucking' mechanic which allows a bile demon or giant to pick up an imp or dwarf and hurl it at foes.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: Imps. Their innocent wide eyes, their happy smiles, the pitter-patter of little feet speeding up behind you with a fun-sized pick-axe...
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The Prima guides contain a lot of the establishing fiction and monster characterization.
    • In the first game, hovering the cursor over just about anything brings up a small, scrolling tooltip - which usually gives you a quick button-guide before ending with the manual reference number so you can look it up yourself to find out what it does.
  • Allegedly Free Game: The mobile/tablet reboot game is held up as one of the very worst examples of Allegedly Free on the market — so bad the the UK's Advertising Standards Agency ruled that EA could not legally call it a free game. Minions take up to 24 real-time hours to excavate a single map tile unless spend in-game gems to speed the process; your starting gems are enough for maybe two tiles, and past that, they cost around 1 UK pound per tile's worth.
  • All Trolls Are Different: These ones are mediocre combatants, but fantastic at Item Crafting in the workshop, especially at high levels.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Gems are sources of money that never expire, the only downside is imps gather wealth from them more slowly. In most places they are well-hidden, but later levels with especially strong opponents have gems that are easy to find, allowing you to focus on building and strengthening your forces without worrying about money management.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: In the second game, the Mentor has special dialogue for players who spend hours at the game or are up in the middle of the night.
    "Your nocturnal perseverance has unlocked a hidden gaming tip: GO TO BED!"
  • Artificial Insolence: In both games, on top of the short-term combat Morale Mechanic, minions can become unhappy or angry if they dislike their living conditions. Unhappy creatures will sulk and refuse to work, while angry ones try to leave or rebel outright.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The first game has quite a bit of this:
    • Unpatched, the AI as a whole has issues, including every assistant AI (with the potential exception of the "Move-Only" AI, which does a good job of keeping creatures where they are most productive).
    • The first non-tutorial level, Snuggledell, is the peak of this, as a GameFAQs walkthrough and a playthrough video both note that the AI has a particular tendency to not build any sort of army. Indeed, by the time you reach the enemy keeper, they'll most likely only have an imp and a fly. That's right, the enemy keeper expects to win with a level 1 fly and a level 1 imp.
    • The first game's method of trap and door production is horrendous and unpredictable. It basically boils down to throwing your crafting minions into the Workshop and hoping like hell they actually make what you need, since they just make stuff with no rhyme or reason. The sequel massively remedies this by letting you order minions to make things you want, along with other complaints.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • The Lord of the Land is always the strongest hero in each level; the Avatar, the boss of the final land, is the toughest enemy in the game.
    • In the sequel, the Princes and King Reginald are even more dangerous Lightning Bruisers than the Avatar.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Horned Reapers (In DK1). Incredibly fast, monstrously powerful, and capable of reducing all but the mightiest of heroes to shreds, but he's so damn touchy that he's every bit as likely to turn on you, kill your other minions and start trashing your dungeon if you do anything, anything to annoy him because his anger constantly increases when he's idle unless he's kept busy in the temple or guard posts. Since you can easily win without him, it's just not worth it, except maybe on the final level.
    • Dark Angels in DK 2. Again, they're fast and powerful, with an arsenal of deadly and destructive spells at their disposal, but they only appear when you build a 5 by 5 temple, which is incredibly expensive, and what's more it only summons two of 'em. You need to build more incredibly expensive temples to get any more. Also, the temple's large water pool has a tendency to trap imps and other creatures which regularly traffic through the area. It seems they are pushed in when there are too many people around.
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Wizards and Warlocks are ineffectual and squishy at Level 1. They are amazingly powerful ranged support units once they reach the later levels and get their full complement of spells.
    • Vampires. Very good researchers, excellent combat units due to spells and good melee, easy to create (you just need corpses and a Graveyard) and will resuscitate one level lower when killed ... except when they meet Monks. There's a reason the Graveyard building is so expensive. You just need to train them properly.
  • Bad Boss: You can be this thanks to Video Game Cruelty Potential, but it's unwise — a slap here and there improves workplace productivity, but minions will revolt if they're abused too much, not paid, or forced to live in bad conditions. Imps, however, are magical slaves who can never rebel, so they're fair game.
  • Bag of Spilling: You lose all of your spells, room plans and your entire army between levels - except if you get a special bonus item which allows you to carry over a single creature (in the first game only). If you didn't lose everything though, things would probably be a bit too easy.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • The method of torturing enemy wizards involves the torturer stealing the wizard's staff and rapidly turning them into a frog and back over and over.
    • The game's ending cutscene features the Avatar shackled to a wall for a Horned Reaper to toss knives at while trolls party it up and loot the castle. One of them finds a magic staff and tests it out on the captured foe, turning the Avatar into a comely female troll wearing nothing but lipstick and a pearl necklace. While the former god of all that's good tries to cover her new bust, the trolls laugh and make gestures to indicate that she's in for a rough night. "Baleful" indeed...
    • The Chicken spell, an excellent counter in some versions against enemies with overcrowded lairs, because the chickens can be fatally eaten by their own creatures.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Keep people in the torture chamber long enough and they will work for you. This includes The Avatar in the first game. A great way to build up your army if creature supplies are otherwise limited, or you've exceeded the maximum number of creatures you can bring out of your portals. Plus you get the satisfaction of seeing the heroes get hacked down by the last party they sent down...
  • Benevolent Boss: You're required to be this for all your minions except for the Imps — the best way to maintain a strong fighting force in the long term is with a good living environment.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Horned Reaper in the second game hates chickens... Well, slightly more than he hates everything else, at any rate.
    • Every minion type has a Good or Evil Counterpart that it will not deal with. Beat a Wizard half to death, torture it into joining you, and send it to rain unholy fire on its former friends? Fine. Ask it to bunk in the same room as a Warlock? Expect trouble.
  • The Berserker:
    • Horned Reapers in the first game will go into a violent rage if their Hair-Trigger Temper is tripped and can never again be placated.
    • Mistresses in both games. High-level Mistresses are very intelligent about it, instead of engaging in melee combat, they love to "kite" the enemy, attacking from a safe distance with their lightning attack and retreating just a bit when the enemy comes too close, but still facing the foes and dishing out ranged attacks.
  • Bewitched Amphibians: Wizards and similar creatures get turned into a frog and back while being tortured.
  • Big Bad: As a Villain Protagonist plotting to lay waste to the land, this is you.
  • Big Good: The Avatar in the first game and King Reginald in the second are the leaders and the most powerful of the heroic forces arrayed against you.
  • Black Comedy: Tons and tons of it, especially in the second game.
  • Black Knight: A simple but powerful troop whose assets consist of solid armor, a big sword, and unrelenting eagerness to put them to use. But he's more of a...
  • Blood Knight: Because they love nothing more than beating the everloving shit out of anything that gets in their way.
  • Bonus Stage:
    • Both the first game and the sequel have about five each, give or take. They usually have non-standard challenge themes, such as only using a horde of Level 10 imps to beat the level, or having to carefully guide boulders to a target using slaps to keep them from rolling into lava.
    • If you beat the Lord of the Lands in DK1 and imprisoned him, keep him around (that is, alive and unconverted to the good cause). When you finish the level, you'll get another kind of bonus stage entirely, Keeper...
  • Booby Trap: Poison Gas, Spikes, Electricity, Giant Rolling Boulders of Doom, and more. You run up against them in your enemies' fortifications and gain the ability to construct more and more elaborate ones yourself throughout the game.
  • Bread and Circuses: You will have to do this in order to successfully keep your (non-skeleton) army. Yes, you may be EEEVIL, but it's not a reason to treat your Mooks like dirt. You will have to provide at least decent payment, enough food and lodging, as well at having at least the most basic care about their happiness, else they will leave you forever and you will lose the money invested in their salary and training. Hopefully, most creatures are not too difficult. It's all Pragmatic Villainy though : after all, treat your soldiers as you treat your most beloved sons, and they will follow you into the deepest valley.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The Keeper and all the minions are very up-front about being proud evildoers who want to despoil the land.
  • Cast from Money: Before Mana was introduced in the second game, summoning Imps and all of your spells (barring Possession) used some of your gold to cast. This can become perilous on levels with limited gold supplies.
  • Catchphrase: The Mentor's "Beware, keeper".
  • Clucking Funny: You hatch these to keep your monsters fed, and can transform enemies into chickens with a spell. It serves as a contrast to the evilness, and as a form of entertainment when you slap them.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Leaving the game paused or idle for too long will lead to the Mentor chiming in with:
    "The very rock yawns in anticipation of your next fascinating move."
  • Convection Schmonvection:
    • Zig-zagged in the second game. Wooden bridges will burn down when placed over lava, but stone bridges are just fine, and creatures can walk over them without difficulty as long as they don't touch the lava itself.
    • Any level in the first game (e.g. Nevergrim) that has lava on a snow/ice level.
  • The Corruptor: The Scavenger Room in the first game. Placing a minion in it will allow them to psychically attack enemy forces of the same species to tempt them into your cause.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Your job is to turn the disgustingly peaceful and idyllic world into this.
  • Cross Attack: In the first game, monks beat people to death with their rosaries. This somehow deals a decent amount of damage, though not enough to keep up with a dedicated melee unit. In the sequel, this is changed to All Monks Know Kung-Fu.
  • Defog of War: Torturing an enemy has a chance of revealing part of the map. Both games also have a spell that temporarily reveals part of the map.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are fearless Cannon Fodder produced by starving creatures to death in your prisons. Some units, like Dark Angels, can also learn to Summon a temporary skeleton squad.
  • Disc-One Nuke: A Steal Hero Special can be like this in certain circumstances.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Be a Bad Boss to your evil army? Then they'll refuse to work for you and will leave your dungeon or even attack your forces.
  • Dominatrix: The Dark Mistresses are an entire species of this, lured to your dungeons for the chance to enjoy the amenities of your torture chamber from both sides of the rack.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Doesn't work, even if you capture a lone enemy, convert him to your side, and possess him; somehow his former teammates always know and attack on sight.
  • Dug Too Deep: In many balanced scenarios, digging too much too early is a recipe for disaster, as this usually uncovers zones patrolled or inhabited by powerful and numerous creatures that easily outmatch your puny and untrained forces.
  • A Dungeon Is You: Keepers can instantly furnish rooms within their territory, direct their minions (and can exert some direct control over them), and can use magic, but their only physical presence is the Dungeon Heart that sustains their existence.
  • Dungeon Maintenance: Building, furnishing, stocking, and populating your underground lairs are core mechanics of both games.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: Your end goal is to escape the Underworld and establish a reign of terror and misery over the land.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Deconstructed, as the game finally answers the age-old question "Who builds these dungeons?" You do — with plenty of effort, expense, and logistical challenges.
  • Electric Torture: A large lightning generator is one way to torture captured heroes in the second game.
  • Endless Game: My Pet Dungeon mode in the second game, which essentially gives you a patch of land to build your dungeon on, a couple of imps, a hero dispenser where you can dole out enemy attacks as you please, and then leaves you to your own devices. Each area has a preset goal which, when met, unlocks a new area to build another dungeon on, but the player can still stay and take care of his old dungeon at his leisure.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Mentor, when briefing you about the land above in the first game, seems both revolted and amazed at the peaceful, happy, non-violent lives the peasants are able to lead.
  • Evil Counterpart: In both games, but especially in the second many of your minions are this to the heroes, e.g. Wizards and Warlocks, Knights and Black Knights, Elves and Dark Elves, Thieves and Rogues, etc. These can be forcibly recruited, but units hate having to bunk near their evil/good counterparts.
  • Evil Feels Good: Right there in the tagline: "It's good to be bad".
  • Evil Is Cool: A core concept invoked by its designer; the point of the game is having fun while doing all those exciting wicked things that have to be prevented in most traditional games.
  • Evil Mentor: The Narrator, which has a deep bass voice, supplied by Richard Ridings.
  • Evil Minions: Many and varied, from lowly goblins to mighty Dark Angels. You attract them by furnishing your dungeon with amenities they like, and keep them by providing them with food, money, and entertainment.
  • Evil Overlord: Each Keeper is a Card-Carrying Villain who lords over an army of Evil Minions.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Now and then you'll also have to take on other Keepers in their own dungeons.
  • Expansion Pack: "Deeper Dungeons" for the original, featuring additional levels and an improved AI.
  • Expy: The final boss of the first game is The Avatar from Ultima.
  • Face–Heel Turn: You can torture heroes into joining your cause.
  • Fartillery: The gastrically talented Bile Demons can produce both Area of Effect and projectile farts to great effect.
  • Fastball Special: Giants and Bile Demons have a 'dwarf-chucking' ability in the second game.
  • Fixing the Game: In the second game, the keeper can rig the casino or make it fair, though the former quickly makes minions very unhappy. A jackpot is a sight to behold.
    Burn baby burn, Disco Inferno!
  • Fog of War: The map shows the overall layout of the scenario, the portals and the resources, but the rest has to be discovered. A spell can remove the fog for a while and an area becomes perpetually visible after it gets physically uncovered by a creature. Keepers can also hear what transpires under undiscovered zones.
  • Gladiator Games: The "Combat Pit" in the second game forces people within it to fight to KO, and minions love to watch the show. This can be used as Training from Hell, a means of disposing of captured enemies, or both. It also attracts Black Knights, the strongest melee units of the game.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Wizards and Warlocks both have potent long-range attacks but very little durability.
    • Mistresses in the sequel have fairly low hit points, which can make their eager Combat Sadomasochism a problem. However, they're fairly smart about "kiting" enemies with long-range attacks before they move in with their Wolverine Claws.
  • Guide Dang It!: In the sequel, certain room arrangements attract an elite version of a monster, but the prerequisites for the elite Vampire and Dark Angel are so counter-intuitive that someone actually had to e-mail the developers to finally reveal the answer to the world.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: How can you piss off the Horned Reaper? Let's count the ways... not paying him on time, forcing him to mix with converted heroes, forcing him to mix with any other minions (especially other Reapers), slapping him, picking him up, dropping him, making him go hungry, making him look for food, making him research, making him train, making him work in the workshop, or leaving him with nothing to do. On the other hand, give him an enemy to fight and he'll leap to maximum mood.
  • Heart of the Matter: The Dungeon Heart, which is essential to keeping your dungeon running and the target of enemy raids.
  • Holiday Mode: Actually a full moon mode.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: When the Dungeon Keeper has had his way with the territory, the names tell you straight out that they're places for any decent person to avoid. Not that there will be very many decent people left alive after all's said and done...
  • Immune to Fire: Salamanders and their Good Counterparts the Giants are both immune to fire, enabling them to wade through lava unharmed and shrug off the Inferno spell. The Salamander's immunity and personal fire magic are a mythological nod to salamanders as Alchemic Elementals, but no explanation is given for the Giants.
  • Indy Escape: Thanks to the giant boulder traps. A few dungeon layouts include these behind locked doors down long corridors, in very obvious Schmuck Bait.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Killing a Keeper means killing off their dungeon heart; it doesn't matter how awesome his dungeon or how numerous or deadly his creatures is as long as it falls.
  • The Juggernaut: The Horned Reaper, in the second game. He does massive damage and can't be damaged by anything in return.
  • Keystone Army: Facing an enemy Keeper is like this: the moment its dungeon heart is destroyed, its forces go neutral and file out of the nearest portal en masse, leaving its dungeon to be claimed. Possibly it's because they're not getting paid anymore.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The enemy Knights fight in literal shining armour, which emphasizes the contrast with the Black Knight all the more.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Skeletons in the second game are completely without fear. This means that a level one skeleton won't retreat when faced with say, a gang of level ten Knights.
    • Everything in the first game (except imps, who still will if the first thing they fight is an imp and other creatures join the fight without it noticing) will happily fight against odds where they could not possibly win. At least they retreat when the option (represented by a chicken) is checked.
    • Warlocks and Vampires tend to cast their "wind" spell without any sense when your minions are engaged in tight melee combat, making your concentrated army wind up anywhere, often in a bad tactical spot. Heroic casters have the same problem.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Horned Reapers and high-level Orcs in the first game move very fast and hit very hard.
  • Made of Magic: Imps are generated by the Dungeon Heart, sustained by Mana, and can be cashed in for a quick hit of magic power in a pinch.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Traps are a key part of any good dungeon.
  • Meaningful Name: Lord Avaricious in the sequel, who must be tempted out of his fortress by accumulating a suitably large stockpile of Filthy Lucre.
  • Mighty Glacier: Bile Demons move very slowly, have a ton of hit points, and hit hard. The Hero side has the Giant taking up this role.
  • Money for Nothing: Gem blocks provide a truly infinite source of wealth, the flow of which is limited only by the number of imps available to mine them for riches. Eventually you may find yourself with more gold than you know what to do with during longer games.
  • Mooks:
    • Deconstructed with most of your minions. They might be mercenary armies of darkness, but each unit has its own strengths, weaknesses, and desires, and managing your hordes is a careful balance between getting the most utility out of them and protecting your investment in them.
    • Imps are pretty expendable, especially in the sequel, since they only cost mana and level up simply from performing their usual tasks like digging, rather than having to take up training room space and money.
  • No Fourth Wall: The Mentor in the second game:
    • "Keeper, there is something nasty under your fingernail."
    • (After playing through until Stupid O'Clock in the morning) "Your nocturnal perseverance has unlocked a hidden gaming tip... GO TO BED!"
    • "Your minions demand cable."
    • "Your dungeon floor is lumpy. Order your minions to jump up and down!"
    • "Your lair has been recarpeted."
    • "Your dungeon is on an incline, angry creatures cannot play marbles!"
    • "Micro Piglets stalk your Dungeon. Beware..."
    • "Your dungeon is damp. Install central heating."
  • Obvious Rule Patch: The temple in 2 was patched to generate mana based on the intelligence of the creature rather than a fixed amount for all of them. This was most likely because you could slap a few dozen skeletons, creatures that need no nourishment, money, or attention whatsoever, and have all the mana you'd ever need. It was bad enough to keep Horny around Indefinitely!!
  • One-Hit Kill: Keepers should beware boulder traps, they are usually around a dark corner or behind a locked door and in a second, any surprised minions will be reduced to a pulp, even elite ones.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Dark Angels are utterly evil, powerful Magic Knights who serve the Dark Gods. They're implied to be Enigmatic Minions who fight at your side for their own reasons.
  • Our Demons Are Different:
    • Bile Demons are grotesque legless blobs who fight with their horns and their Fartillery. They're also quite good at Item Crafting in the Workshop.
    • In the second game, the Horned Reaper is an invulnerable unit who can be briefly summoned at tremendous cost to wreak havoc with his Sinister Scythe.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: In the first game, they're created by leveling up a Demon Spawn all the way, and are Mighty Glaciers with powerful offensive magic and tons of health.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Short, angry, bearded tunnelers with precious little else to characterize them.
  • Our Elves Are Different: The Archer Archetype Sylvan Elves like to think so, and relish joining the fight against your forces of darkness. Their Dark Elf cousins like cutting them down to size just as much.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: A recurring hero unit. A fae critter with wings as you might expect, and potent spellcasters. Notable for being human-sized rather than tiny little things.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Only present in the first game, created by creatures killed in the Torture Chamber. Ghostly floating skulls that can see invisible creatures, but are extremely fragile.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Smaller compared to classical giants, but still anywhere from 7-10ft tall or so, armed with big clubs and able to wade through lava.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Only present in 2. Small, weak, numerous, and utterly expendable. They're liable to form the bulk of any attacking force early on, and can potentially overwhelm the enemy through sheer numbers if nothing else. They won't perform any kind of industrial or intellectual work.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Because they work for you. That, and they all tend to have their own fairly unique and distinctive designs even if they have 'classical' names.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Only present in the first game. Squat, purple, militaristic, and industrious humanoids. Most of all, utterly forgettable compared to the more 'iconic' monsters. Phased out in favour of the weak-but-plentiful Goblins and powerhouse Black Knights in 2.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They lose a level then later reappear at your graveyard if they are killed by anything other than a Monk. But if they get killed by a Monk, or are only level 1, then they are Killed Off for Real.
  • Polish the Turd: EA designed the mobile version so that writing a 1-4 star review redirects you to a service page, and doesn't actually publish the review.
  • Portal Statue Pairs: The portal from the Underworld to the surface lands — your ultimate goal in the sequel — is flanked by a pair of stone knights. They also turn out to be the portal's last line of defense.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The game tends to encourage it. Sure you can neglect and slap around your minions, but it takes a lot of effort to get the good ones, so you're usually better off keeping them happy and busy.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Horned Reaper in the first game. Literally for hire - the best way to keep him happy is to throw gold at him every so often. If he gets even slightly upset, he's liable to start breaking things. Namely your dungeon and minions.
  • Regenerating Mana: In the sequel, mana continuously replenishes at a rate proportionate to the amount of territory the Keeper controls, with rare and valuable Mana Vault tiles providing a huge boost. Player-owned traps and spells take a set amount of mana per second out of the regeneration rate and/or have a fixed activation cost.
  • The Remnant: In the sequel the Sylvan Elves formerly under the command of Lord Ronin continue to fight against Keeper Asmodeus. Interestingly, and very unusually for this trope, if left to their own devices they'll actually win. Granted it won't resurrect their commander, but they'll get their territory back. Of course, the mission objective is to kill Asmodeous yourself in order to prevent this, with the assumption being that the player has destroyed the remaining Elves in the process. Later, the remainder of Lord Bramble's forces don't give up either, but they're more interested in surviving in what remains of his fortress than actually aggressing against the two Keepers in the area.
  • Right Under Their Noses: A level in the sequel requires the Keeper to defeat a vastly superior enemy by stealing his fortress, one room and lone guardsman at a time, with coordinated ambushes and strategic placement of magically hidden doors.
  • RPG Elements: Creatures level up with training and combat, becoming more powerful.
  • Sandbox Mode: The second game adds a my pet dungeon mode where you are in charge of when enemies invade.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Once you destroy an enemy Keeper's Dungeon Heart, his minions bail and head for the portal. Minions also have a chance of running away if they're badly outmatched in battle.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The heroes don't like enemy keepers any more than they like you. hence, with good planning, you can get them to destroy the enemy dungeon heart for you.
  • Set Swords to "Stun": How you capture enemy creatures and heroes — in the first one, you have to explicitly tell your minions to stun rather than kill, while in the second it's automatically set this way for you. However, if a unit is knocked out and not promptly rescued, it's worm food.
  • Shock and Awe: Some creatures gain the very powerful lightning strike after reaching a high level and keepers can learn and use the spell.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sinister Scythe: The Horned Reaper wields one of these, obviously.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: In the first game, humans are a minority among other mammals as well as insectoids and reptiles. In the sequel most of the creatures are humanoids.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Firmly on the cynical side. Hint: you're the bad guy, and not one of these anti-villain softies.
  • Sliding Scale Of Silliness Vs Seriousness: Way down the silly end. Evil Is Cool, after all.
  • Spiritual Successor: Plenty have tried to be so, since DK has a very unique and charming gameplay, and it's fondly remembered by many gamers. Helping this is that DK lacks an official sequel after the first one. Notable examples of DK successors include the following:
    • The Dungeons series by Kalypsonote , only to a certain extent with the first game. Here's the official trailer so you can see the similarities yourself. While thematically similar to Dungeon Keeper, the gameplay itself is more of a cross between the Theme Park series and Tower Defence games. The later games became much more similar to Dungeon Keeper, but differentiated themselves by allowing players to invade the surface world.
    • War for the Overworld, a similarly-styled game by Subterranean Games funded on Kickstarter, is a true Dungeon Keeper sequel in all but name, even using the very same name as the third installment in the series would have had in its own title before it was cancelled. The original Dungeon Keeper developers have even shown their support for the project, and the narrator in the trailer and in-game is the very same person who was your evil mentor in both games.
  • Squishy Wizard: Warlocks, as well as heroic Wizards. They have powerful offensive magic, but go down quickly when hit.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Two in the second game.
    • "Creep" requires you to capture rooms in a hero-controlled fortress and hide them from the enemy with hidden doors. Being spotted early on is lethal as the heroes are numerous and high-level.
    • "Interception" has you capturing the three Princes. If any of them spot an enemy they'll run for the nearest portal and alert their brothers to also flee. Preventing this requires careful minion and room management until the portals have been neutralized.
  • Stone Wall: Dragons in the first game. Very slow and not the most powerful monster you can have, but train them up and they can wear down most opponents with high defense and a constant stream of fire breath.
  • Summon Magic: How you "recruit" Horny in the second game, after collecting all 4 pieces of the Talisman. He takes a tremendous amount of mana to summon and needs a steady stream to stay in play, vanishing when dismissed or when your mana runs out.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: You may be an Evil Overlord bent evil for the sake of evil, but you have to be a Benevolent Boss and provide for the needs of your evil minions or they won't do your evil bidding.
    • While you can convert enemies to your side by leaving them in your torture room, you do have to heal them because leaving someone to undergo physical torture too long will kill them.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: The sequel assigns each creature a type: Flanker (weak individually, best used in groups for a Zerg Rush), Blocker (Mighty Glacier, chooses one spot and stops the enemy getting past it), Support (Glass Cannon, poor in melee but generally has some kind of ranged attack), and Blitzer (Lightning Bruiser, good with melee attacks and generally has a few spells to boot, likes charging enemy lines). Blockers can stop Blitzer charges, Flankers can overwhelm Blockers if given enough support, Supports can whittle Flankers down before they close the gap, and Blitzers will target Supports first.
  • Themed Cursor: Your pointer is pretty much your own ungodly hand, which you can use to pick up and drop stuff, throw things, pet, slap. The Dungeon Keeper series example would be one of the most extreme examples of this trope.
  • Timed Mission: The further you get in your evil career, the more likely you're going to come under fire from those pathetic do-gooders. Early levels let you take your time about setting up and training; later levels have you come under attack after a certain time limit. If you're not prepared by the time the Heroes/other Keeper shows up, you're very dead.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: The Dark Mistresses like it. A lot. You have to throw them out (or lock them out) if you want to use the torture chamber on your enemies. Even then they'll probably sneak in and use it again when you're not looking, or they'll show up and "help" with the torturing. Interestingly, when you're converting enemy Mistresses in the torture chamber they still don't lose health. The implication is that they join you because you're so nice to them, based on that! They also like it when you slap them with the mouse cursor/hand. Downplayed in a patch for Dungeon Keeper 2, which made them less obsessed with the torture chamber.
  • Torture Always Works: Torturing heroes is a surefire way to boost your numbers or get accurate information about the map. The only way it can actually fail is if the player forgets to heal the victim while it's going on, since they'll eventually die from the torture otherwise.
  • Training from Hell: The "Combat Pit" in the second game doubles as Gladiator Games and provides a quasi-controlled environment to train creatures up to Level 8. However, a creature KO'd in the arena will die if not quickly returned to its lair by an Imp, so you're probably forced to care for your creatures by magically healing them or administering triage.
  • The Undead: Captured enemies who starve to death in your dungeon become skeletons and corpses taken to the graveyard eventually combine to form vampires. The first game also has ghosts that result from someone dying in the torture chamber.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Ooh, I know! Let's capture all of the good guys, starve them to near-death in the prison, make them fight over a couple of chickens, mass-heal them, throw them in the arena to entertain our minions and boost their morale. But before they die, heal them and drag them back to the prison, maybe make them fight over food again, slap them around a bit, then torture them, whilst healing them repeatedly to stop them from dying... in order to ensure that they convert to our side! Genius!
    • Considering how your numbers are limited, it is in fact a very good idea to torture good guys, to both boost your numbers and decrease theirs. However, you will probably have to give them different living quarters, or they might start fighting with your own evil minions.
    • Capturing a Lord of the Land alive and winning the level in the first game makes room for a lot of this. You'll be treated to a bonus scene, displaying quite a number of doors. Behind each and every one, you can listen to the Lord being subjected to inquisition-level tortures. His screams and the various noises made throughout leave painfully little to the imagination.
    • You can be a Bad Boss and make life miserable for your minions, but it's not a smart idea they won't fight for Keeper who mistreats them.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: You may be an Evil Overlord, but you need your minions. If you abuse or don't pay them, they will refuse to fight for you.
  • Villain Override: You can assume direct control of a minion through magic. This tends to make them much tougher and stronger, due to casting multiple spells and being able to side-step enemy attacks. This is required in one of the bonus levels in the first game, as it's the only way to navigate the large enemy maze.
  • Villain Protagonist: The game's selling point is that you're the Big Bad.
  • Villain Teleportation: Some minions gain it after reaching higher levels. Excluding the tunneler, the heroes don't.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Keepers are the dark lords of the underworld, combining ruthless strategy with managing the forces of darkness to combat both the forces of good and other Keepers. Think of a voice that suits such a being. Now discard it, as other Keepers in the first game sound like hamsters huffing helium.
  • We Have Reserves: Unlike in Evil Genius (which is Dungeon Keeper meets James Bond), minions are not exactly expendable, because they come in limited numbers. You'd best train them well and not send them to a pointless death. Feel free however, to send your own converted good guys to death at the hand of the forces of good. Why? Because it's funny and ironic!
  • What the Hell, Player?: "Your dungeon has an excess of Mistresses. There's a word for Keepers like you..."
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: You'll be burning through mana like a skinny kid through cake in the second game. Which is nice, because spending gold on spells in the first game was a bit rough on one's bank account. Once you gain access to the money conjuring spell in DK 2, you can have as much gold as you want if you're willing to wait for your mana to recharge.

Alternative Title(s): Dungeon Keeper 2