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  1. #1

    A thread for roguelikes

    I dare say these games are old news for most RPSers, but I've only recently discovered them (unless you count Dwarf Fortress) so thought I'd start a thread for impressions/recommendations.

    My way in was Dungeons Of Dredmor. Gaudy, humorous and with plenty of inventive skills/spells and items I found this an initially enchanting game. The biggest flaw, which does diminish replay value, is a seeming lack of variety on the part of the monsters. Levels are huge and sprawling, possibly too much so if you are the type who likes to clear them out before progressing to the next one; this isn't helped by the mapping, which makes it hard to work out routes from one side of the map to the other.

    DoD's big plus for my money is the graphics. I know ASCII characters are the 'classic' way of playing these games, but while I'm no shiny graphics whore it is nice to have some kind of visual appeal and its lurid, distinctive design is well-suited.

    After enjoying DoD I decided to try the far more forbidding free roguelike ZAngbandTK, but I confess that so far I've found it hard to get into. There are a wealth of race and class options for character generation, but in general it seems to be extremely difficult to make progress, especially as a magic-using character. The levels (at least the early ones I've made so far) seem rather sparsely populated. The game is very, very D&D-inspired. I'll persevere with it, because I don't believe that such games acquire devoted and long-lived followings if they don't have good qualities, but it's not easy to love.

    The third one I've tried is, so far, the best. Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is also free, and seems to strike the perfect balance between friendly and fierce. Like the first two it has a fantasy theme, and adds into the mix a plethora of Lankhmar-style rude gods who grant their followers powers in return for faith; there are also strong echoes of Jack Vance's Dying Earth with some of the monsters, items and spells, which is all to the good as far as I'm concerned. If anything the character background options are even more varied than ZAngbandTK, and classes are far less rigid - mages can train up their fighting skills and vice versa, and this leads to a more adaptive playstyle. The tileset I'm using does just enough to make it visually accessible without losing the essential ASCII severity. One minor but really thoughtful factor is the ease of movement. You can set your character to explore till something happens; even better, you can use the minimap to set her to travel long distances over areas you've already explored. Far less clicking and holding down of keys.

    So what is it with these games? Why have I forsaken my lengthy backlog of modern, complicated titles in order to play simple and crude games where the dynamics boil down to: stay alive; get stuff? Erm, probably because they're simple, crude, easy to get into in the first place - but then they vary, they're different every time. There's no one right way to play them, something which I always find hugely offputting. Characters can have more or less optimal builds, but never to such an extent that you HAVE to take this or that skill, like in MMOs. They're not realtime either, which always suits my scatty 'play a bit, surf the net, make some tea' style.

    I'd be very interested to hear opinions of other roguelikes, particularly in a non-fantasy vein, and especially ones which support tilesets or other graphical enhancements. I simply haven't got to the point where I can take raw ASCII action.

    My longest ever post on RTS... so, nil thread then!

  2. #2
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    Are there any good* browser-based Rougelikes?


    * google suggests there are lots. but I'm wondering if anybody has tried any of them?
    Last edited by riadsala; 05-09-2011 at 10:22 AM. Reason: clarification

  3. #3
    Network Hub Skeletor68's Avatar
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    NetHack my friend. Fantastic game.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Kaira-'s Avatar
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    ADoM is the one and true king of roguelikes. I've never really liked the Angband-variants, don't know why. I occasionally play Stone Soup, but it just doesn't have that magic which ADoM has. Now I am anxiously awaiting ADoM's creator's new roguelike, JADE.

  5. #5
    Network Hub KauhuK's Avatar
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    There is a graphical version for nethack. Too bad its outdated but check it anyways: http://users.tkk.fi/jtpelto2/nethack.html

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node Harlander's Avatar
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    Stone Soup has WebTiles, the largely successful browser interface to one of the servers. As the name might suggest, it uses the tile-based display.

  7. #7
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    The graphical roguelike is one area where Japan has made some strides on us. I wish some of the games had properly come to PC, but many are playable by emulator. I've enjoyed the Mystery Dungeon series (including Shiren the Wanderer for Wii), Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja, and even the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games (which are repetitive but have a neat party system and translate Pokemon powers to attacks and passive effects).

    Elona is a strange, freeware Japanese roguelike for PC that has been translated to English. You can semi-famously play classes such as farmer or pianist. AFAIK there's no permadeath, but death does come with a strong penalty.

    Toejam and Earl was an early attempt at a lighthearted, real-time, sci-fi action roguelike, and does quite well. It has a much clearer heritage than even something like Diablo. Items are randomized and need identification. Levels are also randomized and the layouts are revealed little by little as you reach the edge of the land. Great fun if you've never experienced it, with some excellent split-screen play. This applies only to the first one, which used to be available on Steam but now I think can be found only on other services.

  8. #8
    http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopme....php/Main_Page is a site collating lots of information about roguelikes in development. There's a Lovecrafty one apparently, which I'm going to have to try.

    Those Japanese ones sound intriguing. Recettear's dungeon sections are a kind of self-contained roguelike within the game, aren't they?

  9. #9
    Network Hub Zyrden's Avatar
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    Something simpler, but still good: DOOM-roguelike

    Never made it past the first dungeon in ADOM myself, in spite of 20+ tries :/

  10. #10
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    You can see a shared kinship between the action-based Recettear dungeons and roguelikes. The games seem to have influenced Japanese developers quite a lot, but not towards the same kind of action as in Diablo.

    There was even a Japanese graphical "remake" of Rogue called Rogue Hearts Dungeon for PS2 released about five years ago. Some videos are on youtube and etc, but have yet to come across an English review. Curious, tho.

  11. #11
    Lesser Hivemind Node TillEulenspiegel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icupnimpn2 View Post
    You can see a shared kinship between the action-based Recettear dungeons and roguelikes. The games seem to have influenced Japanese developers quite a lot, but not towards the same kind of action as in Diablo.
    ???

    Recettear's combat bits are basically equivalent to Zelda. And I doubt very much that Rogue made its way to Japan before 1986.

    Any link between roguelikes and modern action RPGs is quite tenuous. I'll give you the first Diablo, but that's about it. Beyond that, it's only vague influence that remains.

  12. #12
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    Unreal World is one of the most interesting roguelikes I've come across. Rather than dungeon delving, you explore the wilderness of a country similar to Iron Age Finland, hunting, fishing and foraging for survival. In winter you need to make campfires to keep your body temperature up to avoid frostbite - optimal is a fireplace in your own log cabin - and cover yourself in thick fur clothing. You can be a farmer with fields of barley and rye and a few cattle, or an explorer and adventurer risking life and limb against the barbarian Njerpez. Best of all, it's been made heavily moddable in recent times, and while it always supported you making quite a number of wooden items, sewing your own fur clothing, etc, there are now mods that allow weaving, smithing and pottery.

    It has faults: the villages end up being little more than trading posts, and a character who's stabilised into prosperity is vastly duller to play than one still living on the edge. Worse, the game making you wait while your character carries out lengthy in-game actions makes building a log cabin tedious. However, for me these things are easily outshone by the sheer tension of survival and the breadth of things it attempts to simulate. I keep coming back to it.

    http://www.jmp.fi/~smaarane/urw_whatis.html

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by moth bones View Post
    So what is it with these games? Why have I forsaken my lengthy backlog of modern, complicated titles in order to play simple and crude games where the dynamics boil down to: stay alive; get stuff? Erm, probably because they're simple, crude, easy to get into in the first place
    Erm. What?

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Ian's Avatar
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    The only one I've ever sunk much time into was ZAngbandTK after Kieron wrote about it in PC Gamer.

    Nothing like thinking you have a louse-filled XP farm under control as a solidly-levelled character only for it to FUCKING GO OUT OF CONTROL AND KILL YOU. I think once I had one where I was standing in a corridor biffing lice that were streaming out of a door that I was certain was into a dead-end room that didn't go anywhere else. I realised how wrong I was when suddenly the lice came at me from another direction. It was an idiotic but glorious death.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizardry View Post
    Erm. What?
    It was quite obviously praise for roguelikes. The reason he likes them and sinks time into them.
    A brave heart and a courteous tongue. They shall carry thee far through the jungle, manling.

  15. #15
    Network Hub Megagun's Avatar
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    Ah, Nethack. A game I love, yet I have never even come close to finishing. Mad respect to the guys that have been working on it, as there are way too many obscure effects/ways to die in that game.

    DoomRL is also great fun. The sound effects really help with understanding what is going on.

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node icupnimpn2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TillEulenspiegel View Post
    ???

    Recettear's combat bits are basically equivalent to Zelda. And I doubt very much that Rogue made its way to Japan before 1986.

    Any link between roguelikes and modern action RPGs is quite tenuous. I'll give you the first Diablo, but that's about it. Beyond that, it's only vague influence that remains.
    Yes, the combat bits in Recettear are real-time, but the layout of the randomized dungeons and going deeper and deeper owes something to the roguelike. You're there to collect items, but when you die you lose most of the items, also similar to roguelikes. In contrast, Zelda has set items and no level randomization. I don't see a direct lineage between an ASCII-based roguelike and Recettear's dungeon portions. It's more like a descent from Japan's graphical roguelikes.

    I made no argument over when Rogue made its way to Japan. The first graphical Japanese roguelike I know of is the first Mysterious Dungeon game in 1993, which was a spin-off from Dragon Quest. Since then Japanese roguelikes have been more based on the form of Mysterious Dungeon than they have on the original Rogue game. I reassert my statement about influence, and it is frankly a late influence but there nonetheless. And roguelike games have been successful commercially in Japan as a result in a way that really hasn't happened in the West over the last 20 years.

    Making no claims to modern RPGs, if you notice. Recettear isn't really a "modern RPG."

    Amending the above, I played Dragon Crystal on Game Gear in the early 90s. That was a sequel to Sega's Fatal Labyrinth, released in 1990.
    Last edited by icupnimpn2; 05-09-2011 at 06:32 PM. Reason: added memories

  17. #17
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    I spent a big chunk of my life on nethack.
    It wouldn't surprise me if I spent more hours on it than any other game, not sure.
    This game is so much more involved than it looks!
    Was a "polypiler", where you aim a wand of polymorph at 4 giant stacks of throwaway items.
    I'm done with that game now though, I hope... *twitch* *twitch*

    I did DOOM roguelike very briefly, was a bit of shallow fun. It's not that compelling, only good for a simplistic, brainless escape.

    Far more interesting is Rogue Survivor... survivalist zombie game, quite challenging.
    Try it it's quite good! Wish they'd keep developing it

    http://roguesurvivor.blogspot.com/

    I am DEFINTELY going to get into "unreal world" at some point, perhaps after next major update.
    I'm very big on real survivor games, just felt it needed more work last I checked.
    This is the only roguelike that a lot of my friends are playing right now.

    http://www.jmp.fi/~smaarane/urw.html

    Dwarf Fortress's adventure mode is sadly just terrible. Maybe it'll be fun in 3 years

    I like recettear but please the discussion clearly doesn't belong in this thread.
    Last edited by BenWah; 05-09-2011 at 07:50 PM.

  18. #18
    Incursion :Halls of the Goblin King

    Has a Permaplace beside Df and Stone Soup on my Harddrive.

    Its Fantasy,ASCII but its one of the most complex Roguelike ive ever played and ive played Zangband ,Nethack,SS,DoomRL,ADOM.

    It is buggy/unlogical/broken in Places (once i got grappled to Death by a Giant Turtle...).

    But it has :
    Perception Rolls on different senses(IR/Audio/Psi/Smell/Tremorsense/...),70+ perks,semirandomized dungeons,Gods,Alignments,a unique Inventory System,Diplomacy,Mounted Combat,Combat Stances and Moves,and more.

    It was planned to be about the Size of ADOM.
    Sadly noone has heard from the Creator for quite some time.
    But if you have the Patience,i can only recommend it.
    Last edited by Arona Daal; 05-09-2011 at 09:47 PM.

  19. #19
    Obscure Node pierec's Avatar
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    I've tried playing Incursion a few times. On all occasions I was killed by the very first monster I met. My fault really, I never had the patience to read the whole manual.

  20. #20
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    http://www10.caro.net/dsi/decker/

    Nice graphical roguelike with a cyberpunk theme.

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