Whatever the reason behind the extreme delays in the release of this game, the wait was definitely not worth it. The length of time associated with development of Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep caused fans of the original to expect great and grand things from FTL, the game's developers who are affiliated with Interplay. Based on the product that was finally foisted on the unsuspecting user, this project might better have been canceled. It would have been much cheaper for fans to just reload the original game and replay it rather than invest good money into a clone that only superficially changed the first one. Indeed, it's difficult to pinpoint any enhanced gameplay or graphic improvements worth mentioning.
The game isn't overwhelmingly bad and those who enjoyed playing the original may well enjoy the story built into Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep. However, for those expecting updated graphics, a better interface or originality, the news is sad. Still mired in inexcusable and ineffectual VGA graphics, the look of the game is totally outdated as are the too predictable and uninspiring sound effects. This is a game that came out not before but well after it's time. The character the player controls, Torham Zed, is a nephew of the original game's hero, Mylius, and it would be nice to say the similarity ends there but because of the dated "feel" of the game it almost seems you're playing an add-on scenario to the original. Among it's other shortcomings, the character movement in Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep is unrealistically stiff and without any sort of fluidity that suspends belief that you're doing nothing more than playing an RPG game. There is really no room for intimate association with your character and little reason to feel involved in the adventure other than as a sightseer. Despite the long delay in release, the game has a rushed feel to it as if someone crammed for a test the night before it was given.
The traps and puzzles encountered in the game are on a par with those in the original as are the "new" monsters and creatures that are dealt with through real-time combat. No matter what else can be said of the game, at it's core the game still resembles an old-fashioned role-playing dungeon crawl with the operative words here being old-fashioned. Inventory management is fairly straightforward but magic use can be confusing and unwieldy at times. The instruction book does contain a short walkthrough of the opening sequence which is helpful to novices but is better off ignored by veteran players. Dungeon Master II: The Legend of Skullkeep might have been the ground breaker it's predecessor was but in reality it's simply out of date and basically boring and dull. Most RPG fans would be better off spending their hard earned cash elsewhere and picking this one out of the cheap bins if at all.
Graphics: Grainy, blocky, unrealistic looking monsters and outdated VGA. Looks like an older game.
Sound: Some laughably inept monster sounds and totally uninspiring.
Enjoyment: Fans of the original may enjoy it because of the artificial tie-in to the original but the outdated graphics, so-so sound and bland character movement is disappointing.
Replay Value: Not too much to recommend it in this area.
Chaos Strikes Back was a semi-sequel to seminal RPG Dungeon Master, but a true sequel came several years later. The game fuses real-time battles with puzzle solving and travelling, although the game now auto-maps. Rain and magic usage effects are incorporated into the engine. The first part of the game is spent above ground, visiting villages with shops and temples, and trawling through forests.
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