Diehard Dungeon

Update: Diehard Dungeon now costs 240 Microsoft Points. 

After Diehard Dungeon, it’s safe to say the Uprising is back on track.  Comparing it to Sententia is like comparing flying in a private luxury jet to having your head stuffed up the ass of a burrow and trotted across country with your legs dangling the whole time.  And here’s the funny part: unlike the Sententia, the argument of “it’s just not for everyone” is actually valid here.  Roguelikes are not for everyone.  And I’m generally among those that they’re not for.  So it might surprise you to hear that I actually kind of enjoyed Diehard Dungeon.  Then again, the only other Roguelike I tackled this year was Spelunky.  Double D wasn’t nearly as sadistic.  If both were school bullies, Diehard would be content to wedgie you and move on.  Spelunky would trap you in a locker with live tarantulas while stealing your date to the Prom.

Which is not to say that Diehard Dungeon is all sunshine and lollipops.  It’s got a mean-streak that might be the result of some design flaws.  The idea is “Roguelike-meets-Zelda.”  Only instead of an obnoxious fairy following you around, you have a mute treasure chest.  Sure, why not?  Levels are randomly generated, but all adhere to the same principle: fight enemies, find key, go to next room.  Occasionally you’ll pick up items or spin a slot machine for upgrades, but really, Diehard Dungeon is all hacking, all slashing.  The mechanics of this were done well enough that somehow the part of my brain that knew I was playing a Roguelike shut off.  As a result, I was practically euphoric during my first play-through.  I had built up twelve hearts, was having good luck with the slot machines, had absolutely slayed all three “upgrade” minigames that play out like a really shitty version of Pac-Man (these have GOT to go), and had the smuggest of smiles plastered on my face.

And then something that looked like an armed Cabbage Patch Kid knocked me into a corner and drained my entire stockpile of life in about four seconds.  I had gone from not taking any damage to being dead before I could even process what was going on.  There’s no temporary “immunity” when you take damage, so if you get pinned into a corner, you’re fucked amigo.

Games give you immunity for a reason: because the other way isn’t fun.  Imagine if Mario didn’t blink after taking damage in the original Super Mario Bros.  If you went from being big Mario, getting shrunk, and then dying because of the lack of blinking, that game does not become the all-time classic that it did.  Hell, you might as well not have a life system and make all hits instant-death.  But since you numbskulls can’t seem to grasp that, I’ve arranged a deal with Microsoft.  From now on, all XNA starter kits will come with ankle monitors that must be worn to use the program.  If you even think about allowing enemies to gang-bang you in the corner without having any means of defending yourself, you get a 50-volt shock.

Of course, word is this is already getting patched out, along with a few of my other complaints.  The game frequently skips.  This formed a “fuck me over” tag team with the aforementioned killer Cabbage Patch Kids.  Well, it’s being fixed.  Keys slow you down too much when you have them.  That’s getting fixed.  Bonuses don’t stack.  That’s getting fixed too.  Grumble.  You guys are kinda ruining my schtick here.  Oooh, I have one that I don’t think is getting fixed: you can’t slash diagonally.  What the fuck is up with that?  Do we live in a world where diagonal doesn’t exist?  Bullshit.  I saw something that looked like a triangle.  You can’t have triangles without having diagonal.  But I’m being nitpicky.  Even in its present, non-patched state, Diehard Dungeon is pretty fun.  It’s not only one of the best hack-and-slashers on XBLIG, it’s also one of the best twin-stick shooters too.

Wait..

Huh?

Yea, as it turns out, the developers tacked on a seemingly half-assed (at least compared to the main game) TwickS minigame as an afterthought and it could very well be the most fun TwickS on the entire marketplace.  Go figure.  It even has online leaderboards, which is more than qrth-phyl had to offer.  I’m not complaining or anything, but it’s kind of weird.  It would be like if Lord of the Rings had 1996 Chicago Bulls highlights play over the credits.

I’m guessing they never got over the whole Garbage Pail Kids thing.

Diehard Dungeon could very well be in a Beta state right now.  Other planned changes include improving the graphics (which I had no complaints about, besides not being able to tell blood apart from hearts), fixing some of the cheap trap placement issues that happen when shit is random, improving the odds of getting the rare “gold keys”, and  a whole slew of other things I never even thought to complain about.  Mind you, Diehard Dungeon is already pretty damn good and well worth your money, but that’s not enough for the developers of it.  They want it to be better.  As opposed to deflecting critiques back with “It’s not for everyone, and I wouldn’t change anything.”  It’s actually encouraging to see a developer so much on the ball that the ball can claim its personal space is being violated.

Diehard Dungeon was developed by Tricktale

IGC_Approved80 Microsoft Points refuse to not capitalize the “T” in “Tricktale” even if they won’t do it in the making of this review. 

Diehard Dungeon is also available for PC on Desura for $4.99.  This version is unverified by Indie Gamer Chick.  The XBLIG version is Chick Approved and ranked on the Indie Gamer Chick Leaderboard.

Check out what the rest of the dorks are saying about Diehard Dungeon: TheXBLIG.com, Indie Theory, and more to come!

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The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

15 Responses to Diehard Dungeon

  1. Dangus says:

    Online leaderboards???? I thought those weren’t allowed in indie games…wow, so many games need to get on this and patch em in.

    • They use peer-to-peer leaderboards, but they work pretty good and it’s easier to say “Leaderboard” than it is to say “Peer-to-Peer Leaderboards.”

      • I always liked to call them Viral Leaderboards. They spread just like viruses, finding new hosts, passing along information, disconnecting, repeating and spreading. One of the cleverer techniques the community came up with to get around our lack of actual leaderboards. I think the only thing I’ve found more clever than that is the method ezMuze uses to transfer content from the Xbox to a server. That is a super snazzy technique.

  2. CJ says:

    Yeah, the terms Leaderboards and Acheivements aren’t allowed in Indie Games as they can be confused with actual Xbox Live Arcade functionality that SHOULD be in Indie Games… >_>

  3. Gamertag: Alfred Saxon says:

    Anyone getting code 3’s on XBLIG’s?. I am on beta dash.

  4. Pingback: REVIEW: Diehard Dungeon | the / . / XBLIG

  5. starmandeluxe says:

    First of all, this is an excellent game and I was incredibly excited to randomly discover it (I’ve been disappointed with the lack of roguelikes and angband clones on XBLIG: I’m no developer, but are they really that much harder than text adventures with big tit doodles? I know they’re more fun [maybe not more fun than actually doodling the big tits]).

    Second: if I have one complaint it’s a lack of information provided in game. What do the upgrades do? What is luck or rage? Once luck and rage start stacking, how will I know if I have x1 or x5? After you go through once you can “release the champions” and some dudes scamper around. Is this like Dark Souls? Why are they running away from me? Lack of information is too frequently confused / intertwined with “difficulty” and “hardcore” (“diehard”?) anymore, in my opinion.

    Finally: It’d be neat in an update to see some tracking of stats like deaths, levels advanced, upgrades obtained, etc. for the main game–assuming a leaderboard for that is too much to ask for.

    ps @ Alfred Saxon: I’m on beta dash and didn’t have any errors playing

    pps: sorry for the long post.

    • ” Lack of information is too frequently confused / intertwined with “difficulty” and “hardcore” (“diehard”?) anymore, in my opinion.”

      Hammer, meet nail head.

      It’s true. It’s the “throw a person into a mach truck on their first day of having a learner’s permit” school of thought. I’m not asking my hand to be held, but a guideline or two would be nice.

      PS Welcome to my site, hope you stick around for the ride :)

      • starmandeluxe says:

        Thanks for the welcome!

        The problem with this purported “sink or swim” style is that it too seldom seems intentional. Even a fancypants game like Dark Souls starts to seem like it’s cutting corners when basic expectations like a decent inventory interface, basic map, and “to next level” experience amounts are omitted and justified in the name of “hardcore.”

        If you look back at the original “hardcore” roguelikes, at least by the time I found them in the mid-nineties, they had pages and pages of help documents. There was no internet. You had to tell people what was going on.

        As a personal aside: Because I bought it launch day, Diehard Dungeon is officially the first and only large-scale leaderboard I’ve ever actually gotten on (besides erotic photo hunt at the bar), so it will always hold that place in my heart. Also, IGC, your score kicked mine’s butt.

        • starmandeluxe says:

          sorry: quick amendment, when I say there “was no internet,” I mean not really internet community like there is now. Mom would have taken away Netscape so fast if she caught me in a chat room or something.

  6. From the previews I thought I would love this game, so I bought it straight out without trying the demo first. I was right. We definitely need more games like this on XBLIG. I’m a big fan of Cursed Loot, and this was the first game I’ve found in the genre that I would say is of comparable (or better!) quality.

  7. Pingback: Indie Game Uprising III (XBLIG Uprising)

  8. Tristan says:

    The lack of enough Gold Keys was a big annoyance for me, luckily they seem to be patching that. I took number 1 in the Mayhem Leaderboard for an evening though, which was obviously the highlight of my life.

  9. Pingback: Diehard Dungeon Review | The Indie Mine

  10. Pingback: Your Bright Futures | Indie Gamer Chick

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