Stonekeep – Old school dungeon crawler
Let’s cast us all back some years. How about twenty years ago? In 1995, a game that can only be summarised as “epic, for its time” was born. Alas, that wasn’t much to shake a stick at as I can imagine the vast majority of readers here today wouldn’t have heard of this wonderful classic dungeon crawler-like game. This is the story of an unknown game by Interplay known as Stonekeep, a game that pits you against an unspeakable evil known only as the Shadowking.
Boasting some of the most pixelated graphics you can imagine, Stonekeep was a true fantasy experience. From the evil Shadowking himself through a collection of fantasy characters, Stonekeep really was a fun dungeon crawl, allowing you to fight the way you wanted, although not initially. Read on to see what I mean…
When you start the game, you play as a man with no weapons and no shirt on his back. He must have had it bad, but there is an explanation to his pitiful plight. Inside the original box of Shadowkeep was a phenomenal book that accompanied it. Details of the story of the keep you have been imprisoned in and information on the Shadowking and your hero lie within its pages. The book was a story, hence it was such an integral part of the game.
You didnt have to go far before you met your first enemy. I remember I played this game when I was a young child, no older than 7. I found the game staggeringly hard. It featured 3D walls and characters, although thr characters were more like a 2D kind of 3D! Absolutely surreal to think this game is twenty years old. Honestly it was visually impressive for its time and was about 400MB in size. Massive for its time!
The piece of the puzzle that always filled me with this sense of excitement was the voice acting. As a child, this famtastic game literally made me believe that I was helping an unwitting hero inside of the Stonekeep. We were out to find the gloriously evil Shadowking and when you first encounter him, he spoke with a deep, growling voice. Though he was just an animated suit of armour, the sense if dread was totally real to me.
Okay, but today I am unable to be as forgiving as I was back then. Let’s face the facts here: it looks dated. But thats not a huge crime, so does Pac-Man, right..? Well… This game also sounds dated. Yeah, but… “Mortal, be gone!” I hear the Shadowking himself rolling in his grave over this review, as it turns south. Dont get me wrong readers, it is still amongst mine and Joels favourite games… But my god, was this truly 90s gaming?! You can experience this amazing piece of gaming history courtesy of GOG!
Now when you look back at Stonekeep, you feel like you’ve stepped into the abandoned house of a long lost friend. It’s a crazily surreal experience, as you obtain a kind of euphoric rush. The feeling that you’ve been meaning to make your way back here… Or perhaps the dread of knowing your enemies never left and it’s time to head back.
I am going to do a series of videos, playing through my adventures inside of the walls of Stonekeep. I hope it interests and excites, as well as being a little silly along the way. So I ask you; have you ever ventured the walls of Stonekeep? Let me know in the comments below, over om Facebook or Twitter. Let me know if you want to see this epic fantasy adventure. I now just need to finish upgrading my rig for recordings..!
**pictures from this article are from GOG and Wikipedia.