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Video Game / Dungeon Lords

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Don't be fooled: in game he looks more like Dumbledore.

Dungeon Lords is a 2005 Action RPG developed by Heuristic Park and published by DreamCatcher Interactive. The game was notably written and designed by David W. Bradley, who was the lead designer of several mainline Wizardry games (namely, Wizardry V, VI and VII) years prior.

The character progression system is point- and level-based, meaning a wizard can buy wizard skills cheaper than armour skills but still get both. Combat is action-based, with shield blocking and tactical movement being as important as stat growth, and the game puts heavy emphasis on dungeon crawling compared to its contemporaries.

Many of the issues in the original release would be fixed in a number of patches, ultimately culminating in Version 1.5 being released as the standalone Dungeon Lords Collector's Edition the following year, which also expanded to include multiple side-quests and character creation options.

The poor reception of the initial release resulted in plans for a sequel being put on hold indefinitely. However, David W. Bradley and his team would later go on to develop a Updated Re-release entitled Dungeon Lords MMXII. Sporting updated graphics, reworked classes and even more new content, MMXII released in late 2012, published by Nordic Games. It was later re-released on Steam as Dungeon Lords Steam Edition in December 2015.

This is also not to be confused with the European board game Dungeon Lords, which takes more after Dungeon Keeper.

Dungeon Lords contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Artificial Stupidity: Enemies are prone to getting hung up on terrain features and can't climb up the same small heights you can. This means you can often just use ranged attacks to kill them - it's tedious but safe.
  • Bonus Boss: In the Tomb of Souls, if one has a key from the Naga Temple from making sure a thief makes it out alive, a door can be unlocked with a powerful monster in it.
  • Early Game Hell: Generally averted, however the spiders can lead to this and you are given one antivenom potion in a starting area where three different types of enemies can poison you, which of course damages you over time. As poison persists until cured (you can't wait out the damage) if you get poisoned more than once you'll have to either reload or spam healing spells/potions at a higher rate while you traverse the first dungeon proper until you can get to the city and buy more antivenom potions.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Loads of them, even in the "patched" version.
    • One dungeon needs a plot coupon to enter; if you exit before completing the dungeon, you'll be permanently locked out of the dungeon, unable to go back in to retrieve the plot coupon inside.
    • The legendary equipment needed to advance through the story is still breakable. However, the menu that opens for other equipment to let you repair it doesn't appear on this stuff, because that's also where the "drop" command goes; apparently they couldn't disable one without the other.
    • Some quest items will eventually disappear after the boss drops them, but you can get sidetracked with random encounters showing up during the boss fight.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The gypsy who tells you "you are a rare person indeed, in that you can shape your own destiny." Wrong! This game's plot is pure railroading, the only choices you really get are what skills to specialize in.
    • The information on the Intelligence stat states that it reduces the experience cost for learning skills and spells. The problem? Spells aren't learned like skills — they're treasure, usually picked up off the ground.
  • Respawning Enemies: You can literally walk through a room and have enemies spawn in as soon as you walk out and enemies can literally appear out of thin air in front of you in some areas.
  • Save the Princess: Inverted. The princess is betrothed to a dark wizard, but has fled the capital to avoid the arranged marriage. The hero must get her to come back in order to keep the wizard from marching to war with the kingdom.
  • The Unfought: Molvar, the evil wizard mentioned a few times in the plot, is never actually fought. After chasing him down in the last dungeon, he just gets one-shotted by a demon who you then fight.
  • Wutai: Sorta. Walking around any of the medieval European cities, you can stumble across an eastern martial arts dojo, which is the only reference to an eastern culture in this game.