|4 People off to kick arse, take names and kill demons.|
Basic Premise, take four archetypes from the Dungeons and Dragons gaming series, Warrior, Monk/Thief, Elf/Archer and Wizard/OldGuy, give them all a back-story that is drawn out over four levels and have them save the world from a demon that you know is going to wake up just before the end of the game to be fought. That's effectively what Dungeon Magic is but my brief description is like saying a nuclear bomb is just a big firework.
|Your typical choice. Youngish Knight, Dark-Past warrior, Female Elf Magic, Old-man More Magic|
Dungeon Magic takes up to four people, and really needs four people if you want to experience the full story, to play through a non-linear set of levels and dungeons. The true mastery in this game is that there's multiple routes, all of which are filled with tricks, traps, enemies and bosses. It's almost guaranteed that you could play this game and every time you play it, you'll face different threats and opponents unless you're someone who only takes the same route every single time. Throw in extra secrets like hidden doors and walls and you've a true glut of gaming potential just in the level design alone.
|Really wasn't expecting this.|
Each character in Dungeon Magic has a weapon, ranging from Sword to Arm Brace (I've no idea what it's called), Bow and Staff for the main characters respectively and each weapon can range from standard, to fire, ice and lightning giving bonus damage to specific enemies (and bosses) or negating damage from those that are resistant to it. Sadly you can't drop a weapon until you die or pick up another one. Add to this that you can find extra axes, knives, torches, shields (LOTS of them) from chests and other enemies and you've a great selection and potential for causing more damage to your opponents.
The characters within Dungeon Magic also have your standard melee combo attack, a charged attack which is different depending upon the character and a super charged attack which takes longer to charge but does much more damage and impact. For example the Warrior character has a leaping sword strike while the archer actually fires the arrow, charge it up more and it becomes a flaming leaping sword attack or a high powered arrow capable of skewering multiple enemies. Throw in some grapples and throws along with a finite number of desperation attacks that don't draining your health and you've a large variation between each character that makes the game worth playing through as all of them. Collection of treasures and items will either boost your health or give you experience points and with enough of those, you'll level up, which basically gives you a bigger health bar. But at least they kept the IDEA of experience points in the game for us.
|It's got scales, it's also going to be very big.|
Enemies in Dungeon Magic have a large variety, ranging from "Mad Box" (It's a mimic for legal), wolf men, lizard men, spiders, snakes, dragons, living plants and animated skeletons. While bosses range from giant snakes, to huge knights, Dridders (Spider/Human combo), demons and more powerful demons. Though hazards range from spears being dropped at key buttons, spikes, pits (non-lethal, just painful) falling rocks (not everyone dies), poison sprays, petrification beams, arrow machines, conveyor belts and plenty, plenty more. Add to all of this a time limit which wipes everyone out if they stay in a room for too long and little ghosts that cause minor damage when the timer is getting low and you've enough of a reason to haul arse and get a move on.
|Hmm... I think... Maybe... It's a trap...?|
From an aesthetic standpoint, Dungeon Magic looks impressive, although there are times where the dungeons do get rather repetitive within a level, but there's little tips and nods towards the plot where the dungeon steadily becomes darker and more "infected" while the plot progresses and waters that healed and did nothing to the player, now begin to poison and hinder them instead. Enemies all look rather impressive (except the blobs, for blobbish reasons) and the graphic effects of fire, lightning and such are illustrated very cleanly.
|Levels get monotonous eventually.|
Sounds and music are a mixed bunch in Dungeon Magic, while the sounds and effects are crisp, clean and clearly audible, including even the speech of monsters dying, players dying and the almost memetic "you just powered up" which seems like a large acknowledgement to Altered Beast, the music within the game lacks the volume that such an orchestral fanfare should have. There's the idea behind this of an epic scaled accompaniment piece of music with the game but it's lost behind the battles and fights going on, which is a shame as there's a lot here to be really appreciated if the game itself wasn't almost entirely overshadowed by another Dungeon based game that had a more official backing from the original source material.
|Odds on, these chests will attack you.|
That's not to say there aren't flaws to Dungeon Magic. The puzzles within the game can be difficult to figure out (I.e. WHERE is that damned switch, oh it's behind the foreground where I can never see it clearly) and some characters are massively inferior to others. Such that the Warrior/Knight character is possibly the weakest while the Wizard is likely the strongest and most powerful character as a result of his charged attacks and special moves. But any player can do well with the other main characters too, if they pay particular attention to the game's hints and clues (if found on their travels).
|Lots of rooms, but almost all of them can kill you.|
Having said all that for Dungeon Magic, it's a very long game too. Easily taking around an hour to beat and longer if you're finding some of the levels a nightmare to navigate. In particular level 3 which involves finding 4 keystones and destroying them before the game will let you progress. So if you're looking for a fun game that will take you a while and has a great replay ability factor to, you would do well to give this one a try.