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Rogue II.

Rogue 2 title screen

Rogue II is the sequel to the virtually-identical Rogue game, graphicized and ported to several home computer platforms by Epyx. Users of ancient Macs may remember a very old PD version of Rogue which ran in an 80x25 text window; that was a simple hacker port of the original UNIX game, which was designed to run on dumb terminals.

The storyline is very simple - for reasons unknown, you are walking alone through an endless (?) series of random levels, picking up potions, wands, weapons, armor, food, mangoes, scrolls (spells), magic rings and fighting a large variety of monsters. There are also floor traps of various flavors, secret doors and oodles of gold pieces, as required by any fantasy adventure.

One of the twists to this game is that the function of potions, rings, wands and scrolls is scrambled, and different for every game. For instance, aluminum wands might be wands of magic missile in one game, and wands of light the next time you play. As a result, whenever you pick something up for the first time, you can't be sure what it does, and you need to do some cautious experimenting.

Rogue II's graphics are reasonably detailed and colorful, though not excitingly animated. It has no sound effects or music at all except the ST's normal keyclick when you move, and the gameplay is very repetitive; however there is something about a maze of unknown depth and complexity which keeps me coming back to this game to delve just a little deeper. The deeper you are, the stronger and more powerful the monsters are - the centaur, which appears on levels 8 (or so) and onwards, is particularly hard to kill.

Rogue 2 in-game screenshot
Yes, this game actually runs in GEM! In this screenshot, you can see the hero standing in the doorway of a room. To the left is a potion; immediately below and to the left of the hero is the staircase down to the next level, and at the right of the room we see an ice monster and a hobgoblin.

The monsters in Rogue II all have different abilities; ice monsters can freeze you with frost, rattlesnakes can poison you, wraiths drain your energy, aquators (which look like blue walruses) attack your armor, and so forth. The nymph and leprechaun, which steal items and money respectively, are annoying if harmless foes.

Verdict: If you enjoy(ed) MUDs when you were in university, you'll probably like Rogue II. It is very, very similar to the original Rogue (which was also ported to the ST, from its original UNIX home). If you don't like lots of pointless wandering through random mazes which all look the same, you'll probably tire of this game very quickly.

Ratings (five stars = maximum)








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