I have to admit I only scratched the surface of Dungeon Heroes and cannot be absolutely sure of its size or how it wraps things up, but after several hours of surface scratching I’m certain this is a lovely and hefty CRPG genre purists will adore. It is a very traditional hack-and-slash dungeon crawler filled with hidden rooms, puzzles, monsters and everything a ’90s gamer would expect.
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The game and its setting come with a distinct Advanced Dungeons and Dragons feel to them. Dungeon Heroes is more Eye of the Beholder than Legend of Grimrock and thus contains more chests with cryptic notes scribbled on them than your average contemporary dungeon. One of them actually told my party to draw “your swords and let the blood of your enemies flow like a river. The more you sarcifice, the more you get.”
Besides the expected turn-based combat, hidden passages, boss fights, quests and sub quests and the detailed character creation and inventory management, Dungeon Heroes also tries a few different things. It lets you, for example, transmute your weapons, spells and potions into new, stronger weapons, spells and potions by combining them with runes and each other, thus adding another strategic level.
But, let’s be honest. What really makes Dungeon Heroes stand out is the fact that it is a new, tile-based, fantasy CRPG that’s improbably freeware. We don’t get to see those very often and this one easily stands up to the games that so obviously inspired it.