Retro Spotlight: Dungeon Keeper 2

While reading a review of the recently released Dungeons game, I felt a sudden urge to play Dungeon Keeper 2. Even though the game was released way back in 1999 — over a decade ago, it’s probably one of the best and most entertaining games I’ve ever played. Dungeons is basically a remake of DK2 with some new gimmicks, but just as most remakes are, it’s bad. So I went ahead and downloaded Dungeon Keeper 2.

In Dungeon Keeper 2 you basically have to build your underground dungeon and defeat NPC opponents. You need to build a variety of rooms and claim portals on the map to attract creatures which join your dungeon and fight your enemies when necessary, and it’s always necessary.

When you first start, you control a few imps which are used to dig out walls within the dungeon for you to expand. Some of those diggable tiles also contain gold, which is needed to construct the said rooms. For example, you have to build a lair and a hatchery so the creatures you attract through the portals can rest and feed. Building a Library will attract warlocks who in turn research spells for you, building a Torture Chamber will attract Mistresses etc. Building a Prison will enable your Imps to carry dead opponents there and turn them into Skeletons which fight for you.

There’s a number of different units you can get and all of them have their uses, both in and out of combat. In most cases you’ll be building all available rooms and attract all sorts of creatures, and the easy going campaign will let you learn all this easily, as you slowly gain access to different buildings and units throughout the levels.

DK2 will make you LOL at times

Basically I don’t have much else to say about this game. It’s very easy to play and learn, it’s funny and will keep you busy for some time. It’s one of those games you simply want to have installed on your PC all the time and fire up occasionally to kill a few hours of your free time. It’s worth it. Since the game did come out in 1999 it doesn’t have fancy graphics, but for me graphics is not what makes a game good.

Playing on Win 7

Here’s the downside though. The game may be a tad bit difficult to run on newer systems. The game wouldn’t run at all no matter what I did (actually it did run but crashed immediately). After downloading 6 different copies I finally managed to find one that both installed and worked ok, but only on my netbook. Since I don’t have access to my PC I was trying to play it on my laptop, so I basically just copied the entire installation folder to the laptop after installing it on the netbook. As a sidenote, both run Win 7.

Skeletons. A bunch of them, actually. And they're dancing.

The point being, if you can’t install or run it at all on your PC try on a different one. I did google quite a bit and haven’t found any solutions for this particular issue so there you go. When in game, if the screen flickers or turns black, be sure to turn off hardware acceleration in the graphics settings. If you’re having other problems, try setting compatibility mode to Windows 98/Me or 2000, and mark the other checkboxes too (right click on DKII.exe, Properties, Compatibility tab).

So there you go. One of my all time favorite games, one that I’m about to play just as I finish writing this post. If you don’t mind poor graphics and love older games with gameplay ten times better than most games that come out today, give Dungeon Keeper 2 a shot. Who knows, you might actually like it.

Here’s a few screenshots of DK II:

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