Keep Forever: Dungeon Keeper Is Free Right Now

The original Dungeon Keeper [Origin page] is free for a limited time, through Origin. If you download it before the offer expires (EA aren’t saying how long it’ll last), you can keep it forever, or until your Origin account turns to dust – whichever comes first. First released in 1997, Dungeon Keeper is a strategy game in which you manage an underground lair, protecting your treasures and killing invading adventurers. Alec thinks it’s rather good.

Let’s huddle up, down here below the break, because we need to have a private conversation. Make sure you know who isn’t listening. The Overlord. The OverMeer. This can be our own little private corner of Dungeon RPS, where the sound of the keyboards clattering and the whips cracking (we mix business, pleasure and pain here) muffles the conversation a little. We can get all the controversial opinions off our chests – right before we pick all of the tar, feather, scabs and honey off of there – without upsetting the management.

I’ll go first.

Here it is.

I never liked Dungeon Keeper. I didn’t hate it, but I remember saving up to buy it and being excited about seeing my dungeon up close using the first-person viewpoints (with different visual effects for different creatures!), and finding the whole theme of turning the usual RPG tables on their head really awesome. And then I played it and it was great, until every level just felt like a repetition of the one before, except slightly longer and with enemies who took more punishment before dying.

Should I download it and try it again? Maybe I was wrong. I was wrong an awful lot in my teenage years and about things far more important than Dungeon Keeping.

The link to get that free copy is right here. Hmm.

If you’ve got anything you’d like to share, just between us like, spill your guts in the comments section there. Oh god – not literally – someone fetch a mop and bucket.


  1. N'Al says:

    “I never liked Dungeon Keeper.”


    • wu wei says:

      I couldn’t stand it at launch and honestly, the problem was Molyneux.

      Before release he had repeatedly talked it up as a play-the-adventurer-or-be-the-dungeonmaster style creative system, something more like a proto-Neverwinter Nights. Which is nothing like what we got.

      In retrospect I can appreciate it for what it is but at the time, I was terribly underwhelmed.

      • PaulV says:

        I’ve heard that before, but usually about Black & White or Fable.

  2. cpt_freakout says:

    Thanks for the confession, we’ll let the (secret) police take over now.

    Seriously though, I think I understand your point, but the ‘magic’ of DK was not only that it did really fun things with the management/RTS mix but that it was brimming with style. Maybe you could give it a try again, because if there’s one oldie out there that can make for the kind of storytelling people now love Rimworld and Dwarf Fortress for, it’s DK, IMO.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    One of the best things in the game was possessing everything and seeing what you could do as them. I remember if I possessed a chicken and then got eaten by one of my creatures the game would basically softlock.

  4. Alien426 says:

    The Origin store is still awful.

    You search for a game, middle-click on the title you want to view in a new tab … it opens a tab with “javascript:void(0)”. That is terrible web design.

    The URLs have changed again, too.
    Previously it was “”, now it is “”.
    Change one character and it gets you a 404. There is not even a standard edition of Crysis 2 on the store! It doesn’t parse the old URL format, it just gives a 404. EA does not want to sell games.
    On Steam you just need the (up to) 6 digit game ID. “[game ID]/”. The URL is always about the same length. Its format has never changed (as far as I know).

    Signing in with Firefox does not work. It pops up a window that says “Sign in is currently unavailable. Please try again later.”.


    • Alien426 says:

      Guess what the URL format for an expansion is:
      138 characters! In the age of, and, EA still hasn’t gotten the memo.

      • DanMan says:

        They’ve apparently drunken the SEO coolaid of stuffing as much keywords in the URLs as possible. That’s bollocks, of course. Especially since they’re repeating them, which might actually achieve the opposite.

  5. welverin says:

    It replaced Nox as the On the House game, so it will likely be free for a few months.

  6. unacom says:

    I really liked Dungeon Keeper and still do.
    However I really dislike EA´s Origin.
    Hmmm. I think I´ll skip.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      DK Gold is on GOG and very inexpensive anyway. It’s worth buying as the ‘spiritual successors’ never seem to get it quite right and even DK2 wasn’t able to recapture the cool grunginess of the original.

  7. frightlever says:

    “EA aren’t saying how long it’ll last”

    The previous “On the House” game, “Nox”, was free for, literally, months.

  8. shagen454 says:

    I haven’t played DK 1 or 2 in quite a while, but just thinking about it I can hear that short-carve sound when you click on something for your minions to mine.

  9. DanMan says:

    I already got that off GOG for free months ago. DK2 would have been interesting.

  10. MajorLag says:

    “The original Dungeon Keeper is free for a limited time…”

    Oooh free ga…

    ” through Origin.”


    …. and it turns out I already have it on GOG. And Dungeon Keeper 2. What has the world come to where I not only buy games I don’t ever get around to playing but also don’t even know which games I own that I never get around to playing?

  11. Arathorn says:

    “…it was great, until every level just felt like a repetition of the one before, except slightly longer and with enemies who took more punishment before dying.”
    That’s how I felt too, but I never played it when it came out originally, only after it became free on GOG some time ago, so perhaps I just expected too much from an old game.

  12. Kaeoschassis says:

    Funny, I’m actually re-playing Dungeon Keeper at the moment. I have both 1 and 2 on GOG, so no need for me to grab this, but it’s still cool to see. It’s a Bullfrog classic, it’s as great as all of them were and are. There are some things it honestly does better than the sequel, to my mind, although DK2 is overall the better game. Still a great deal of fun even now. Sorry Adam, I guess we can’t be friends.

    EDIT: (Oh I love doing that) As an aside, it’s going dirt-cheap in GOG’s current weekend sale, so if for whatever reason you don’t Origin (I do, but I can’t blame those who don’t), you can always grab it there for very few monies.

  13. keefybabe says:

    My favourite thing about any article that mentions origin is coming to the comments to read people moan about it.


  14. Maxheadroom says:

    I find it really hard to go back to some of these older games.
    Not sure why I can read a book, listen to music or watch a film made decades ago, but when I try to play a game older than about 10 or 15 years its a huge chore. Even if I sunk hundreds of hours into them at the time.

    For instance much as I wish id played the early Ultima games back I the day, its not something I could play for more than a few minutes now

    • keefybabe says:

      It’s because gaming is, despite having been around for 40 years, essentially still in its infancy and still limited by its platform.

      As an example try watching a film from the early 1900s when they still hadn’t figured out what could be done with films yet, or even TV from the 1950s.

  15. Creeping Death says:

    Ooh dungeon keeper! *logs into Origin* What the fuck has happened to that client?!? It was never great but it’s extra garbage now.

    • po says:

      I’ve recently been persuaded to play Battlefield 4 by some friends, and my opinion of Origin is that it’s straight up retarded (without medical reason).

      You click ‘Play’ in Ogigin, and it opens a web browser, because that’s where the server browser is, rather than putting one in the game.

      You launch a game from the web browser, and that does actually launch the BF4 game.

      Here’s where it gets stupid though:

      If you want to swap to another server, you have to quit out of BF4, go back to the web browser, and go through the huge loading times for the whole game to start up all over again, even if you’re playing the same map you just left.

      You can’t just alt-tab to your web browser and pick a new server for the running BF4 executable to connect to.