Diablo (1996 - PC, reviewed by Cramulas)

The sun has risen and it’s time again for a review on this fine Sunday morn. What better game to review on a Sunday but a game about hell and the devil. 1996 was a special year for games, for it saw the release of Diablo. A more addictive game the market had yet to see, and it sold over a million copies in North America alone. As this reviewer sits here watching the latest episode of Megaman on Teletoon for no apparent reason, he remembers the good old days playing this game. Countless hours of mass addiction; this game was like a drug. Diablo was one of the first top-down/hack’n’slash games on the PC. The allure being the massive amounts of customizability, the need to make your character stronger.

The town of Tristram is in danger. You return to find drunks hallowing in fear and old men telling ridiculous stories. King Leoric’s son has been taken by the evil Arch Bishop Lazurus and it is up to you to find the Prince. Your character will descend down into the bowels of hell fighting off thousands of demons. What waits for you in hell is darker and more sinister then you or anyone could possibly imagine.

Gameplay


This hack’n’slash game is an Action/RPG. The mass amounts of customizability gets and keeps you hooked right off the bat. There are three classes to choose from, including: The Warrior, The Rogue, and The Sorcerer. Each class has their own unique abilities. The Warrior is strong with melee weapons. The Rogue is a champion of the bow, and the Sorcerer destroys legions of demons with magic. There are nearly 100 different monsters in Diablo, and thousands of different items.

There are four different level types: The Labyrinth, The Catacombs, The Caves, and HELL. Each type has 4 floors, so the player will descent 16 floors to beat this game. Each floor is randomly generated each game. The game becomes progressively harder the further you descend into the bowels of the Earth. To keep up, the player will find better weapons and armor. Two more difficulties, Nightmare and Hell, await the player after he conquers Normal Mode. Each successive mode provides a tremendous jump in difficulty. There is a lot here to keep the gamer interested for a long time.

Graphics


Running at 640x480, the graphics are dark and sinister. The graphics provide Diablo with an atmosphere that Diablo II should have had. The town of Tristram both looks and feels awesome. All of the four level types have their own distinct look and feel. There is a zoom mode in Diablo. While things look more pixilated, this feature can get the player even more engrossed in the games atmosphere. All the items were hand drawn for the inventory view. Monsters are well designed; some monsters look a lot better in Diablo then they do in Diablo II, especially the skeletons. The game is fully 2D, but it works to its advantage. Although the graphics work for the game, in 1996 there were games with much better graphics out.

Sound


The sound effects are adequate. Weapons make appropriate sounds when used, and demons provide comedy with some kick-ass death screams. One thing this game does better over Diablo II was the music. There are only 5 in-game tracks used throughout the entire game, but they are all magnificent. They fit the game perfectly, providing the appropriate mood. Tristram’s theme is one of the most popular music tracks ever used in a PC game. The four level types each have their own track. The Catacomb theme has to be heard to be believed. Voices of screaming children and crying women can be heard in this haunting theme. Diablo II had nothing remotely close to the perfection of this games soundtrack.

Presentation


Multiplayer Multiplayer Multiplayer. Play with up to 4 players via free Battle.net. Multiplayer is what made this game huge; there are still players on Battle.net playing this game nine years later. The random level generation is brilliant. The game has a dark atmosphere, and excels because of it. We could have used a running feature in-town.

Closing Comments


This game is still being played today. Anyone can buy a copy for $9.99, and this reviewer recommends you do so. Demons, swords and drug-like addictions. How can anyone go wrong with that?

5/7 Yannis:



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