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Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 9:14 pm
by intric8
I obviously hate myself. One would think finishing the original Dungeon Master would be punishment enough. Oh no, fine sir. Oh no!

I've finally acquired the uber-rare Dungeon Master II (DM2)! Complete-in-box, and mint.
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This game has a really strange history which I'll delve into later. But at a high level it is the sequel to Dungeon Master (duh) which came out in 1987. And DM2 wasn't released until 1993, and 1995 everywhere else! That's a year after Commodore had already collapsed and winked out of existence.

And there were differences in the DM2 versions that went out:
There are many graphical differences between the DOS and Amiga versions. For example, the title and endgame animations are very different. Items graphics also change: the Amiga version uses new 256 colors , whereas the DOS version has "old" 16 color graphics.
Amiga for the win, even in 1995. So stupidly sad. And FTL, the game's creator, folded the year after that.

As if Dungeon Master wasn't intimidating enough, all from a single disk, DM2 comes packed (and I mean compressed) onto 6 freaking disks! It actually uncompresses its files at the end of hard drive installation.
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This game isn't messing around. 6 disks! Granted the graphics are far advanced compared to the original (and the PC/DOS version).

And yes, I instantly installed the entire beast to SCSI2SD storage for future play once I got it to ensure everything works. It does!
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The intro castle animation is pretty cool as "SKULLKEEP" is drawn by lightning bolts.

My game list for 2018 is stacked and set. And I still have a few more things to show that I've received. 2018 is going to be a banner year!
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I think it's this way, guys. Guys?


Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 6:45 am
by LambdaCalculus
Nice score, man! I didn't even know that DM2 had come out for the Amiga; I thought it was going to be skipped over considering how late in the game it arrived!

I have this game for Classic Mac OS, and it's much harder than the original was!

Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 10:44 am
by Lorfarius
That box is fantastic!

Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Thu May 24, 2018 11:45 am
by intric8
I also picked up Chaos Strikes Back - a game of legendary unfairness. I don't really plan on playing it very far - it sounds too ridiculous even for me. But I did want to get it because it has a Utilities disk. What's cool about that? Couple things (one of which I'll talk about more later). But for now:

It comes with a Character Editor. You can take your characters from the original DM - or CSB - and edit their avatars. Fun for tightening up the characters. Sort of a strange dead end (for me) because I finished DM 1 and am looking forward DM 2, not CSB. But I enjoyed doing pixel art in Icon Master so much I had to give this a shot, too. And if you employ the 2-pixel hatching technique there are a lot more than 16 colors possible. Which is pretty cool.
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Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 8:19 am
by A10001986
Hi, I played CSB back in the day immediately after DM (both to the very end) and I found them very similar. I don't remember any "unfairness". What is it that you have in mind?

Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 8:48 am
by intric8
Hi Thomas - and welcome!

In the original DM the dungeons were very linear. They had stairs down to the next level usually marking the exit for a level. And over time levels could be fairly easily memorized and - with determination - completed.

From what I've read, CSB takes things to a whole new level (and for me at least, DM was challenging enough. Rewarding, but my no means easy).
Chaos Strikes Back features a choice of paths which twist back and forth over all levels. The puzzles are far more convoluted, often demanding quick mastery of the control system to deal with intense combat, along with brain vexing riddles and room layouts.

The game is therefore pitched at a much higher difficulty level than its predecessor.
I'm more looking forward to Dungeon Master II. But I have been having a ton of fun with the CSB Utilities disk, which I plan to post about in slightly more depth later today.

Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 11:16 am
by A10001986
Hi, I never played DM2, but as said, CSB immediately after completing DM. Perhaps my skill level at this point made CSB seem more similar to DM that it actually is.... I didn't even recall non-linear levels until you mentioned them here. I think that they were indeed interconnected, and you needed to go back to proceed sometimes. And I remember Chaos at the end - not too easy to defeat.

Anyway, I had - gamewise - the time of my life playing those two. That was around 30 years ago, hard to believe. When I put the Amiga on the table again a year ago, playing those two games was No 2 on my TODO list - but life today simply does not allow spending 6+ hours a day in a virtual dungeon. Need to wait for my retirement. Another 30 years, sigh....

Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Tue May 29, 2018 5:02 pm
by intric8
LOL

Yes, I can understand that. I force myself to have a little time each night to devote to the machines and games. It's definitely not as easy as it used to be. But it's a ton of fun.

Glad you found your way here.

Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:14 pm
by intric8
I got to the very end of DM2 last year, but due to the massive load it put on my machine, I was never able to finish the final boss. That final room brought my 2000 to its knees.

But now that I have a 3000 on the desk, it's fast becoming my go-to machine. The 32-bit bus blows everything else away. The boot time on this machine is just shockingly fast, and it's MHz is half that of the 2000.

So.

I'm going to install DM2 to the 3000 and do some quick tests. If the rain in the garden seems to slow the machine down, well.. so be it. But if the game feels smooth? Holy smokes! I might actually stand a tiny shot at beating the final boss if it isn't 5 fps.

Fingers crossed!

Re: Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:27 am
by intric8
Well, I'm sad to report that DM2 on the 16Mhz A3000 is really no improvement. Rain still makes travel very slow, especially when there are battles. If you engage in a battle you can get through it. But god forbid there's more than one enemy on-screen at a time. If there is, be prepared for some 5 fps (sometimes 1 fps) fun. =(

Now it makes me wonder... if we took one of Mattsoft's MiSTers, what would it take to make DM2 not come to a crawl in the rainy environments.

If the Axemen nearly come to a full-stop during gameplay, that's the benchmark we'd need to beat (which doesn't take long to get to for testing).

Crazy.