Rogue: A Dungeon Adventure
Robert J. Stumpf
Requirements: Amiga, Atari ST, IBM PC and compatibles, and Macintosh computers.
When I first got my Rogue disk for the Amiga, I was expecting to find something similar to the public domain version of the game, but with graphics added. After playing it for only a short while, though, I realized that this new Rogue has a significantly different character. Many of its features are extremely appealing.
The variety of monsters encountered keeps you constantly on your toes, and you must learn how to handle each one. There are tactics which will defeat any monster in the game, but you must discover the appropriate means of killing or avoiding each of them. Some monsters, in fact, are better off left alone (beware the Jabberwock).
The graphics are very well done, and extremely fast. The screen update for this Rogue seems no slower than the screen update for the public domain version, which uses text characters to represent objects. The one disappointment in the graphics is the scale. In order to present a dungeon level of reasonable size, some of the images are just small enough that the tiny visual details are lost to all but the most careful scrutiny. The various armor and weapon types, potions, scrolls, wands, and monsters do remain, however, easily identifiable.
You may select actions using the mouse, the main keyboard, the numeric keypad, or a combination of any of the three. I found that the numeric keypad, assisted by the shift and function keys (and at times the mouse) is an easy and pleasant way to guide myself through the dungeon.
In addition, Rogue's designers have made provision for the player to program the function keys as macros. By doing so, you can press a function key to generate a standard sequence of commands you use repeatedly. Some of the function keys are pre-programmed to perform such operations as Search 10 Times, Replace Armor, and so on. Because you can tailor the function keys to your own style of play, this feature is extremely valuable.
The most intriguing feature about Rogue is its wonderful variety of magical items and potions, and their effects on your character. Some items directly affect your character's capabilities, while others, such as "Ring of Searching" or "Ring of Slow Digestion" have an indirect effect on your survival. There is also an item that contains "wild magic," the effects of which are both unpredictable and uncontrollable. This item may sometimes be tremendously beneficial, but usually it works to your disadvantage. Use it if you darethen hang on and see what happens.
As enjoyable as Rogue is, it does contain a couple aggravating features. The greatest annoyance is that when you restore a saved game, the saved game is then deleted; if your character subsequently dies, you must start over at level 1. I realize this is in keeping with the rules, but it's highly frustrating when it happens for the fourth or fifth time below the tenth level (and it will). Through experimentation, I've found that you can save your game to a DOS-formatted disk in Drive 1 by specifying "dfl:filename" in response to the save game prompt. Then, before restarting the game, copy the file to your Rogue disk in Drive 0. Once you've started a new game, select the restore option from the menu, or press "AMIGA-R", and type in the filename you've copied to the Rogue disk in the boot drive. This leaves you with a character backup in drive 1, in case you don't make it back.
A warning. Don't try to run the game from Drive 1. There is a warning about this in the manual, but as one of those who reads the manual only after I have played the game a while, I missed it. The results were fatal, and I was able to complete this review only by borrowing a friend's copy. Although the files on the disk can be listed, there seems to be some form of copy protection which treats the game disk in Drive 1 as an invalid copy, writing to the disk as a result. After I made the mistake, I was promptly killed by a "Protection Thug" every time I tried to play the game. Beware.
Based as it is on one of the all-time greats in dungeon adventures, Rogue starts you off with great expectations, and it does not disappoint. Intriguing and delightful, the game will give you many hours of gaming fun, and in the enriched environment provided by the Amiga, it is especially enjoyable and entertaining.
1043 Kiel Ct.
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
$29.95-$39.95 (Amiga, Atari ST, and Macintosh)
$24.95-$34.95 (IBM PC and compatibles)