Deadly Rooms of Death


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Rating: 4.9/5 (27 votes)
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"Why's everybody gotta leave piles of skulls lying around? It's depressing." - Beethro Budkin

CapuchinDeadly Rooms of Death: Journey to Rooted HoldDeadly Rooms of Death: Journey to Rooted Hold is a downloadable game (for Windows, Mac, or Linux*) and very much a puzzle game, but unlike any other you may have played before. It is actually the sequel to the critically acclaimed DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon, and both were created by Caravel Games.

Deadly Rooms of Death is a turn-based puzzle game; one turn being the amount of time it takes Beethro, the central character, to move one square or to swing his sword by 45 degrees. Hitting an enemy causes them to vanish in a shower of blood and debris. Each time you move all enemies on the screen also move. The game starts off easily with the only enemies being roaches. They will move directly towards Beethro (if able) thereby causing them to line up for a smiting! However, things gradually get more difficult as more enemies are introduced, from roach queens, which run away and birth new roaches every 30 turns, to the Slayer, a powerful opponent equal in ability to Beethro.

Backstory
Deadly Rooms of Death: Journey to Rooted HoldIn DRoD: JtRH, you begin the game as ex-smitemaster, Beethro Budkin. Now rich and famous from his smitemaster days after clearing King Dugan's Dungeon of vermin, he retired to look after a little restaurant, the "Roasted Roach Grill." You'd think that a whole dungeon's worth of meat would be enough to keep a small restaurant well supplied. It wasn't. Beethro started taking odd smitemastery jobs to get in extra supplies, but it was like trying to plug a dam with your finger.

Then there was Halph, Beethro's nephew. Halph had decided, against all good sense, that he wanted to be a smitemaster. Reveled in the war stories of the Guild veterans, he cheered when Beethro took him down to clean out his sister's basement. The boy was thick.

Beethro had one last plan to deter Halph from a dangerous life of smitemastery. During his now-legendary clearing of King Dugan's Dungeon, he came across a door which could only be opened from the other side, and had only recently come across a way to open it: a portable orb, which would open the door if Beethro could only get close enough. Behind this door Beethro hoped he could take Halph on an adventure that would put him off smitemastery for the rest of his life.

Equipped with the "Really Big Sword", you must make your way through the dungeon and beyond, showing Halph that a smitemaster's life is not for him. Rest assured the storyline becomes deeper the further you venture.

Analysis: The game sports a colorful graphic style, perfectly suited to the game's needs, which changes every few levels to a new theme to keep things interesting. The characters are fully voiced, which helps immensely to push the story along if you get bored of reading like me. Each level is loaded with entertaining dialog, even when Beethro has nobody to talk to, and the invented world and vocabulary go far to make the game both entertaining and somehow believable.

The game is slow to start, and not particularly challenging, but the introduction to the story begins to unfold during this time and it is enough to tide you over until you hit harder challenges. And when you hit them you'll surely know it. Many rooms require precise movement and analysis of the situation at every point to make sure you don't make the last move you ever will. It's very frustrating when you clear the vast majority of a room only to carelessly step into a spot where a roach can get you at the last moment. This is partly offset by the introduction of save points in the middle of some rooms, so when you die you can retry from that point, or pressing [R] resets the room completely. Most levels have a trick to them, and are just a case of executing the trick perfectly to complete the level... once you work out what the trick is, of course.

One grating point for me is the music. Although the tracks are enjoyable the first few times you hear them, they quickly become annoying as you realise the full extent of your addiction to the game. There are of course options to turn off the music should you desire.

Overall DRoD: JtRH is a classic puzzle game that will keep your brain twisting for hours. And that assessment is without even considering all the free user created holds available in the forums. So much high quality content in an indie game is rare, and another sequel is already in the works!

WindowsWindows:
Download the demo
Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Download the demo
Get the full version

*Note: A Linux version of this game is also available, but we are unfortunately unable to provide demo download or order links for it. You will have to get it directly from Caravel Games, and doing so won't directly support our efforts here at all unless you use the order link above to purchase the game. Erik of Caravel Games wrote to tell me they do fully support purchases made through affiliates, so rest assured you can purchase the Windows or Mac version through us and obtain the Linux version directly from them free of charge:

"Yes, we give people (that order/purchase) from ArcadeTown or other portals/affiliates complementing Mac/Linux/Windows versions, plus free upgrades. It's necessary for the person to specifically request it and to provide some order details to confirm they made the purchase."

JayJay adds: DROD is an excellent puzzle game and one that we highly recommend. It is also a game from which we will benefit when you purchase the full version by using the links in this review. These sponsored game reviews provide us a way of informing you about the best downloadable casual games available, while giving you another way to help support this site via your purchase. We will continue to provide sponsored reviews only for games we emphatically endorse.

39 Comments

holy **** I've been looking for the old version of this for years!!!!

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Emory Petermann October 30, 2006 9:10 PM

I started way back when it was just D.R.O.D., none of that JTRH backspace key nonsense. It was the hardest game I had played, and the most fun.

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OH MAN! NO WAY!

I had a demo of this game for windows 95, I thought I'd never see it again!

Oh, I'm definitely downloading this one.

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Brock&Schnock October 30, 2006 10:36 PM

Only for PCs... grrr

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For the win! I've been waiting for you to post this game for AGES. This reminds me that I need to put JTRH on my laptop and remake my old hold that I'd been working on.

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I found the old version of this on Abandonia Reloaded! I loved the game so much! Its funny because the first level is the same as the old one, only caved in and old.

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Yay! now I have a typekey account!

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Yeah, don't forget the backspace key! It rewinds the game one move and one move only.

Thanks for the plug! (That we apparently paid for!)

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A fun game. However, please tell TA, or whoever is in charge of it, to please remove everything that was put on my system during the install when I uninstall it. Thanks.

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l0ser - I am aware of your concerns and have previously relayed a similar request to AT. Additionally, I have just forwarded your comment along as well. cheers!

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*turns the Applause-O-Meter, Band Meter, and Confetti Maker to maximum*

I kept trying to write something for this game, but I always found myself more eager to play it than write about it, and I was never sure I could do it justice. However, I can definitely say that before you look at this game in particular and decide not to keep it you will really want to give the user-created holds a shot, or at the very least WonderQuest which is a user-created game that adds to and enhances the concept of DROD quite a lot (and is 100% free). The hold I'm into right now is a surprisingly fun and engrossing creation, and what's even more amazing is that it's designed to emulate Metroid Prime (and apparently succeeds, though I'm in no position to judge as I've not tried any Metroid games). It's rather long as far as the user-created holds go so you won't run out of game, but if you prefer a short romp instead you can try this, a decent hold that's easy, short, funny and fun while it lasts, or some of the holds here, which were submitted for a contest specifically asking authors to make holds that could be completed in one hour. If you REALLY don't like the concept of DROD for some reason, there is not dr0d, which was designed for lateral thinking as opposed to the usual spatial and pathfinding challenges of ordinary DROD holds and is way too smart for my teeny brain.

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*sees Brock's comment* OOH!

We also have Mac OS X and Linux versions of the game available for no additional charge when you make an order. If you are interested, just e-mail us and ask for your free Mac OS X or Linux version of the game.

support@caravelgames.com

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Also, another thing that should be mentioned is the Caravel.net membership (semi-complete information here). It only costs $12, and you get:

- Access to 'Smitemaster Selections' (canon holds that add to the story of Beethro and the Eighth) that are released during your membership (ordering now entitles you to one older collection and three new ones instead of the usual 4 new ones due to the excessive lateness on the Summer '06 collection).
- The ability to see how you fared on a room compared to other players (via a high score list based on the number of moves it took to complete viewable in-game) and the ability to watch player demos, which makes it easy to compete and optimize even if you're somewhat anti-social like me (there is nothing quite like going through a hold more than a year old and seeing "1st place!!!" pop up when all you did was switch the side of the room you entered from).
- The ability to publish holds for all to see, enter, and conquer.
- The ability to download new holds (yes, holds listed on the Holds board) in-game (especially nifty because the average brain/fun ratings are listed right there so [theoretically anyway] you can find good holds that match your skill level without having to search so much).
- And the last big thing is that you will have the very helpful Hints and Solutions board (unfortunately NOT integrated with the game itself) program that will both dig up the specific picture of the room that's giving you trouble and search for any relevant topics so you don't have to clutter things by posting the umpteenth topic about something that only looked impossible. It also allow you to make marks on the picture so you can make clearer descriptions of the kind of trouble you're having on tougher rooms.

The great bit about this is that these abilities tend to be integrated fairly well with both the forum and the game, making for a mostly seamless transition between browser and DROD.

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Dude, I don't mind games that need to be downloaded, in fact, I applaud them, but it would be nice if it said so in the description on the main page... and, I don't mean the tiny font tag at the top either ;) Them be very hard to read on my old screen.

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My bad for not making sure it was mentioned right up there in the first paragraph as I usually do. Thanks for keeping me on my toes. =)

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JtRH is absolutely superb and well worth the price IMHO.

But it might also be worth mentioning that the whole of the previous Architect's Edition/King Dugan's Dungeon version of DROD is available free of charge from http://www.caravelgames.com/distfiles/CDROD1_6_7setup.exe
There's no Halph, no voice acting apart from Beethro's scream of death and no backspace facility but it is still a huge and wonderful program that will keep most players very pleasantly puzzled for months.

John

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Just going to add my voice of approval for this game. I played through most of Architect's Edition back in the days (got up to lvl 24). I got JTRH when it came out too. This is really a very unique game, and highly recommended.

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Does it make sense to anyone for the Mac and Linux versions to be available only to Windows users?

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You can download a demo for Mac and Linux (from Caravel Games)

I don't know where JIG got the idea that the demo was Windows only.

Also - this is a great game. The only game I've bought in the past 4 years.

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Eytan Zweig Author Profile Page October 31, 2006 8:10 AM

Woohoo! Two of my favorite game-related things (DROD and Jay is Games) come together at last!

FYI, for Linux people who want to try out a demo, note that Linux demos *are* available for free download the Caravel Games website (drod.caravelgames.com). The Mac version of the demo is offline for a bit but is expected to return soon (Caravel lost their Mac porter and decided to shift Mac development in-house which is taking a bit of time).

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The demo linked in the reivew is for Windows only. Unfortunately, downloads and sales made directly through Caravel Games are not credited to us in any way.

If you do plan to purchase the game due to our recommendation and review, please consider using the links above to support our efforts here.

Erik of Caravel Games wrote to tell me they do fully support purchases made through affiliates, so rest assured you can purchase the Windows version through us and obtain the other versions directly from them free of charge:

"Yes, we give people (that order/purchase) from ArcadeTown or other portals/affiliates complementing Mac/Linux/Windows versions, plus free upgrades. It's necessary for the person to specifically request it and to provide some order details to confirm they made the purchase."

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Eytan Zweig Author Profile Page October 31, 2006 10:54 AM

Oh - Sorry, I didn't mean to direct people away from buying the version you profit by, I just wanted to point out the existence of Linux demos for people who don't have windows. If you found out about DROD from this site and decide to buy it, you should go ahead and purchase it through the links provided above which benefits both Jay Is Games and Caravel.

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Eytan Zweig Author Profile Page October 31, 2006 10:56 AM

In case it wasn't clear, in my previous message "you" in the first sentence refers to Jay and "you" in the second sentence refers to everyone else. Sorry about that.

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No worries, Eytan! =)

Cheers for your kind and thoughtful replies.

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Yeah, I second the sentiment that it would be a nice touch to make it more obvious what type of game we are dealing with right off the main page: maybe some tag icons to indicate whether the game is a download, whether it's a full freeware game or a demo that requires purchase for the full version, or if you need a special plugin (besides Java and Flash, because what online casual gamer doesn't have those) to play it, and maybe even one that indicates that it is a special sponsored link so you don't have to explain that every time. Or, something like that :)

Keep up the great work Jay!!

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I don't quite remember why Beethro is even in dungeons...

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I think this is my favorite puzzle/strategy game. My second is probablly Sub-Terra, which I'm suggesting!

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TheCapn': Beethro is a smitemaster. Clearing dungeons of accumlated vermin is his noble occupation, as it was many of his ancestors. How Beethro came to accept the contract to clear King Dugan's Dungeon is documented here http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewsitepage.php?id=68480

The reason Beethro re-entered the dungeon with Halph has already been described in this thread but a longer and more detailed version can be found here http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewsitepage.php?id=115390

John

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Oh... OK. THANKS!

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Wow... I'm not normally a big fan of puzzle games, but this one has me hooked! I... I'm torn whether or not to buy the full version. :S

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Alex Hagen November 6, 2006 4:02 AM

Ok, this sucks. The free trial lasts a whole day? It's not even worth my download time. How useless is that?

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Propably one of the best puzzle game. Me too I had a demo in 97, was quickly addicted but I had awful pains to finish the 3 levels because I wasn't using diagonal moves :P Have lot of memories, such the famous level 15 (DROD AE)...:D

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Yes it is a nice game indeed, just too bad the graphics are so low-quality :-(

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baba44713 January 18, 2007 5:51 AM

The graphics aren't low quality, they are actually quite superb if you take the game type into account.

This is a devious and clever puzzle game which to be played satisfactorily must give you a clear and simple view of the puzzle. If the graphics included a miriad of unnecessary details, glittery sparkly effects or whatever, it would just distract from the puzzle itself.

As for the guy who complains about the trial duration, well, you always have Arhitects Edition which can give you weeks (or even months) of gameplay and it's completely free.

But to be frank, I can agree that demo having a timer IS kinda silly, because you don't have an entire game in the demo but rather the first two levels. That means a DROD guru will play through the demo not realizing the timer is there at all, while a newcomer will just be getting used to the mechanics and BANG that's the end of demo. In my opinion, removing the demo timer would be quite a positive decision for Caravel.

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Beakthur March 19, 2007 5:31 PM

Best. Game. Ever.

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man this is the second time I'VE download a game from here and I can't see anything. the cursor is blury and the contast is so low I can't make out the words.
I'm on I mac g4. When I play it on my pc it works fine what's going on!

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Hrm, people keep mentioning a demo timer.. the problem is I think actually ArcadeTown's doing. Download the demo straight from Caravel Games and you will have no timer at all.

However, as mentioned above, if you buy it straight from Caravel Games, due to the fact that Jayisgames has a deal with Arcadetown only Jay won't get any support from the purchase; so if you like the game but want to support Jayisgames as a part of buying it you'll have to buy it through the link. Of course, you could also just donate some money to Jay directly, which is what I did.

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Third level Twice left...:( i need help

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I've never seen a game with such a high rating on here before. Then again, considering how good the original was....

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