After finishing Dungeon Master recently, I decided to pick up the next two DM offerings from FTL: Chaos Strikes Back and Dungeon Master II. Chaos Strikes Back (CSB), released in 1989 two years after the original game, is legendary for its unfairness. Frankly I don’t plan on playing it for more than a few hours. It’s essentially Dungeon Master 1 (DM 1) but with a completely new dungeon. And from what I’ve read the dungeon is mind-bendingly cruel:
Yeah, I don’t think I want to deal with that.Whereas the first game saw the player following a fairly linear path through the adventure, with the completion of each flat level marked by a staircase leading down onto a new slightly harder level below, Chaos Strikes Back features a choice of paths which twist back and forth over all levels. The puzzles are far more convoluted...
But! Chaos Strikes Back did come with a secondary Utilities Disk, which is very cool in its own right. The disk contains three things:
- A very cool 2D animation that shows Lord Choas constructing the dungeons. Pretty cool stuff - cool enough I videoed the short and posted it above for others to enjoy. The music really is pretty spectacular, too. The instruments sound real.
- Champions Editor. This allows you to load you characters from DM 1 (or CSB) and modify their avatars using 16 colors. If you like to dabble in pixel art, this really is a lot of fun. They also have enhanced versions of the characters you can load up for fun. The difference is pretty stark. (see more about this below)
- An “Oracle” for CSB. If you get stuck you can consult the Oracle for hints. It’ll ask you to insert your CSB disk so it can figure out where you are located in the dungeon then give you advice on what to do next. Yeah. So helpful. Not! Nice try, tough.
The disk will pull the original DM artwork from your Save Game disk. But then, if you wish, you can load "Enhanced" versions of the same characters. These are redrawn avatars from FTL. But then on top of that, you can completely paint on top of those to your heart's content with a built-in graphics editor. This is a very cool customization feature which I thoroughly enjoyed. Below are my four original party members lightly tweaked. I took the newer Enhanced versions and then added some bling. I am looking forward to diving into Dungeon Master II soon, but this has been a really fun diversion in the meantime. I even located a rare GOR coin, which you can see featured in the animated movie at the end. Note: After designing my DM1 characters for use in CSB, I did load up the game out of curiosity just to see the lay of the land. And how does the game start?
On square number 1 on the first level, you start in pitch black darkness. What's that sound?? Oh - I'm being attacked by multiple creatures! And I'm weaponless. And have no armor. Time to work on those ninja skills, I guess. Gothmog, dead already? Jeez...
Yep. That's your introduction to Chaos Strikes Back.