Best Video Game Dungeons?


I pick Dracoid Ruins from Lands of Lore: Guardians of Destiny.

This covers basics, though they didn’t get the hidden chamber near the throne, as far as I can tell, nor the mysterious Wizard’s Tower, buried to the left. You can also see the opposite coast, lit by torches, which you will eventually get to by lighting all the torches with a spark spell, opening up the zone, area by area.

Some of the areas had shafts, and elevators, or rooms separated by rivers, which you could cross by finding floating objects, or solving a puzzle. (Spoiler!) The entire zone floods at the end. Meanwhile, the earth shakes, and you can hear windchimes in the distance, while debris falls from the ceiling, as if the whole ruin is about to collapse.

Lastly, a few rooms were distinct, and hand painted, and allowed you to interact to solve puzzles, much like Myst, where you placed an item in a container, it might open up a new room, and of course the usual “jumping” puzzles typical of platformers, where you could fall right off ledges.

I liked how the mouse was controlled in first-person, where you could left-click to attack. But you could right-click to detach the mouse, then right click again to toggle it back to mouse-look. While detached, you could click on objects, manipulate the environmental physics, and pick up items or move them, including doors, by left-clicking. Far ahead of its time…

Hitting the right mouse button would reattach the mouse, toggling back into mouselook, where you could left click to attack. While in right-click mode, you could use the left mouse button to move items, such as stacking crates, while right clicking again would re-attach the mouse.

Basically, a toggle switch. Switching between spells used the scroll wheel, if I remember correctly, or an up/down button on the keyboard, which slid between spells, certain of which could be hot-keyed.

You could also change the effects of skills using various herbs and alchemy, such as changing a lightning spell into a fireball, igniting torches, instead of shocking objects, or an oil spill, for instance. This came in useful in a variety of puzzles.

I mainly liked that the toggle/switch allowed you to directly interact with the physics, in the same manner as Penumbra, and Amnesia: the Dark Descent, while still allowing you to move around, and attack using the left-mouse.

Lastly, once magic was selected, it was cast using a single keystroke on the keyboard, making things very simple.

The longer you held down the key on the keyboard, the longer the spell charged, making it up to five points more powerful by the on-screen indicator: so a fireball spell could cause a minor project, or a major explosion, based on how long you charged it in front of an enemy.

The game also allowed you to shapeshift into a lizard, exploring smaller nooks and passages, useful for getting into locked places and to solve puzzles. The monster shape could move boulders, and heavier objects, out of the way, opening passages previously locked.

The entire zone was massive, and it contains several sub-areas, more than I can go into. Spanning several kilometers, you could see the opposite coast, where you will eventually arrive, assuming you solved the zone. Several of the secrets, to this day, remain hidden in my mind, such as a zone opened by a key under the throne room, which was full of cabinets, and showed something hidden on my map–yet I was unable to access it, and the entire zone seemed useless, except you could interact with cabinets, and stack chairs and crates to peer into the upper ones. The puzzle remains unsolved in my mind.

I want to see branching dungeon design like that again… HUGE dungeons. :smiley:

Daggerfall-esque… 8)


P.S. Any chance we could use a detachable mouse design, like the one I described, with a toggle, to solve puzzles using environmental physics, like Penumbra, or Amnesia?

P.S. Forgive the narrator. He’s a bit annoying. xD


“I liked how the mouse was controlled in first-person, where you could left-click to attack. But you could right-click to detach the mouse, then right click again to toggle it back to mouse-look. While detached, you could click on objects, manipulate the environmental physics, and pick up items or move them, including doors, by left-clicking. Far ahead of its time…”

Seems ideal.

Also thank you, I have this on my account on gog. Gonna check it out.

Getting to the crypt in Arx Fatalis was a really nice moment, though it didnt fully live up my to expectations. The puzzle at the end was unintuitive and just dumb imo.


That’s an impressive dungeon indeed. Why did I never play any of these? Looks like totally missed them, though the names are very familiar.

Are they still worth playing now? Some games I’ve found are best remembered. :slight_smile:


Found I had a GOG voucher I hadn’t used and it allowed me to buy Lands of Lore 1 and 2. :slight_smile:

I do recall playing the original Lands of Lore now. It was a tile based game so I didn’t realise it was in the same series as Guardians of Destiny. I’d forgotten the name!


Lands of Lore is what I like to call a cracked ruby, it is a highly flawed gem, with several mechanics that made a unique, but unforgettable experienced, marred by bugs, flawed gameplay, and poor execution–especially the transformation mechanic, which happened at random, as part of the game design, as you were cursed by Scotia, your mother’s blood.

The problem, of course, is it would happen at inopportune times.

If you can get past the first bland dungeon, the game really takes off from there, though you’ll have to consider it more of a mystery/suspense exploration type game with RPG-elements.

The action is poor, and it’s dated, sadly, using sprites, which I never had a problem with, but in this context, the first-person combat lacked serious sophistication. Where it reveled was detail, area design, puzzles, hidden objects, and atmosphere. Not quite as good as the first game, accordingly, but good if you want an interesting, intricate storyline, with quite detailed, myth-ridden areas, filled with lore and good puzzles, as well as interesting gameplay.

I’d give it a solid 7/10 for the period it was released. Probably aged well, a 6/10, but remember it is heavily flawed.

The ideas, however, are magnificent.

Very few of the puzzles are required to make it through the main game. Like Dark Souls, the game is heavily detailed, but puzzles and side areas are hard to find, and the environment is detail-laden.

This is one to chew slowly and savor, as if someone poured a handful of gravel into your cereal.

If you can overlook the crack in the diamond, you will see a prism where the light gets in. It takes about two good hours to sink in, and some of the gameplay mechanics, once you rebind the keys, are perfect for the modern era.



Thanks! That’s quite the description. :slight_smile:

I’ll add it to my (already ridiculously long) playlist.


I am going to suggest playing the first one, first. It is just as detail laden, as whereas #2 tried largely to focus on one character, both to its benefit and detriment, #1 was more of a blobber in the vein of M&M and Wizardry, except with far more detail and personality than either. It was damned near perfect. Number two, just play around with the keybinds a little, and try exploring and solving puzzles. A few of the rooms are static images, where you simply solve puzzles, like wandering into a painting. The entire thing had an eerie, abandoned, surreal feel to it–if you do play to it, make sure you get to the Dracoid Ruins. That, followed by the Museum and the Futuristic City were my favorite zones. Some of them side areas, or completely abandoned and set aside for puzzle-solving… :wink:


Cheers. :slight_smile: I’ll be giving the first one a go first as I never completed it all those years ago and I don’t like leaving a game unfinished. I can barely remember it though I do seem to recall Patrick Stewart’s voice.

I’ve started using a site called Backloggery to track my games and it’s scary how many I haven’t actually completed. :o


Azure Dreams - Getting to the end of the dungeon/tower is the main goal behind the entire game. Along the way using your wealth gained within to improve the town it resides in.

The dungeon/tower itself is randomly generated (other than a couple of the levels) on every entry to it, meaning that no 2 trips there are the same.

The main dungeon in Diablo 1 was also pretty damn awesome as well, for similar reasons, since that is randomly generated on every play through of the game.


On a side note, I liked Diablo 1 versus 2, because of the limited lighting globe, and it seemed more focused, overall, containing one mythology, rather than several.


Completely agree. Diablo 1 is the better game imo. I’ve replayed that game far more times than the 2nd.


Why, Dungeon Keeper 2’s: they have casinos! :wink:


There’s actually now some good dungeons old style game to test on Legend of Grimrock 2 (hoping they could make a more economic 3D engine, to run on a top left square of a PC windows(the way Dungeons master and others run), and not ruining my CPU and GPU maybe for a third episode… >_< )

Seems it worths anyway a try if you have the right PC specifications, you can get it from Steam there:



I’ve always been partial to Westwood’s “Eye of the Beholder” and “Eye of the Beholder II”.


One thing I liked about Diablo, minus every character learning every spell, was findable tomes. It tied abilities in with exploration, and if the loot had dropped based on class, it would have been a workable system, even with branching skill-trees, in the future Diablo games.

I was always looking forward to the next wall of fire tome, as it would increase the graphical display and effectiveness, and it seems there was no capping how many tomes you could find to increase your ability–it became quite a coaster, and provided synergy to the exploration.

Also, it was more focused, thematically, as it had a “dark ages” type of vibe, and was very lore-driven, in contrast to the generic fantasy, which was everywhere at the time. :wink:


Guardians of Destiny was a brilliant game, but it always used to bug me the number of items which didn’t seem to do anything. Every time I played it I get stuck trying to work out the functions of these items, work out what is actually beneficial and what isn’t ect


mobile hero-collector BattleRise: Kingdom of Champions, make sure to check it out ;)