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Game #1798
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  Demise: Rise of The Ku'Tan   (a.k.a. Mordor II: Darkness Awakening)  View all Top Dogs in this genreCollection: Indie Underdogs
RPG   Roguelike

Rating: 8.42 (781 votes)

Demise: Rise of The Ku'Tan box cover

Demise: Rise of The Ku'Tan screenshot
Originally billed as Mordor II: Darkness Awakening, Demise is a worthy successor to highly underrated Mordor: The Depths of Dejenol, and sports improvements over its predecessor in every respect. Simply put, the game is a huge non-linear dungeon hack RPG that features 3D graphics, great sound, and fantastic play in single and/or multiplayer modes. As with its predecessor and other good Roguelike games, Demise contains enough races, guilds, items, monsters, magic, spells, traps, environments, dungeon levels (and even a storyline this time around) to keep avid RPGers enthralled for hundreds of hours. Many players reportedly have spent over 400 (!) hours with the game, and still have yet to find all its subtleties.

The game takes place in Dejenol the same gameworld as its predecessor, where the city has just been attacked and nearly destroyed by creatures. Your goal, naturally, is to explore the dungeons below and find and destroy the marauders of the city and the source of their power. As with all Roguelike games, though, the real premise is to venture forth into the dungeon, kill monsters, find items and money, and advance each character's level. All in a hero's day's work.

One of the most significant improvements over the original Mordor is the inclusion of a free game server which lets you host your own multiplayer game via LAN or over the Internet. It works amazingly well, although players who don't have powerful graphics card may experience some lags. Graphics is now full 3D, and owners of 3D accelerator cards will enjoy great graphical effects of spellcasting, lighting, and monster detail. Graphics is not only improved, but is used to represent different perspectives depending on each character's race and height. A tall character will see the dungeon differently than a short one, and each race's eyesight differs from that of the others. Giants have the poorest eyesight, so everything is darker and they cannot see very far; in contrast, trolls have the best eyesight, so you will be able to see very far if your character is a troll. Needless to say, this level of detail greatly adds to the fun and level of immersion.

Another departure in Demise's gameplay that I found very innovative is in combat -- it is literally hands off. As The Adrenaline Vault describes: "you set a default option for each character's actions in encountering enemies -- they either do nothing, fight, or defend as ordered. Once you've set those parameters, each time you walk into a room and encounter enemies each party member will automatically behave as previously specified. This automated battle is both good and bad. Good in the sense that it is over quickly but bad when you are on the losing end and it's over quickly. The only variation to combat is that you can pause the action to assign a spell to each character for the next round and then return giving yourself an advantage." This combination of real-time and turn-based combat allows both for quick reflexes and planning, and the result (similar to Baldur's Gate) is effective. The plot is also a lot more extensive this time around (not that you need it in Roguelikes), and quests are more varied and specific. They range from finding a lost item, to capturing or killing a specific enemy. You undertake quests by reading a bulletin board in town, complete it, then return to collect the promised reward.

While you might want to rush out and buy Demise right now based on this (*cough*) impartial review, be warned: this is an extremely difficult game. You'll likely die a lot, even with automatic combat feature, before you get the hang of the game's interface and how to maximize each party member's capabilities. The game is also a dungeon hack in the best tradition of Rogue, so anyone who expects an expansive, developing storyline will be very disappointed and find the game very repetitive. If you are one of those people (like me) who enjoy spending hours in a dank dungeon, hunting down the last of those pesky goblins you'll love Demise. Also, if you wished Diablo had more substance or long-term play value, Demise is the answer. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: David Allen
Developer: Artifact Entertainment
Publisher: IPC Software
Year: 2000
Software Copyright: Artifact Entertainment
Theme: Fantasy, Epic, Freelance
System Requirements: Windows XP
Where to get it:   Official order page
Related Links: Official site, Adrenaline Vault review, Guide to Roguelike Games
If you like this game, try: Mordor: The Depths of Dejenol, NetHack, Rogue

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