In 1997, Webfoot Technologies released a little game named Deadly Rooms of Death. A turn-based puzzle-strategy game, it quickly became renowned as a first-rate dungeon crawler. As the 3D age begun, Webfoot would drop support for the top-down game, but graciously allowed original developer Erik Hermansen to remake it in an open source model. This game, officially re-dubbed DROD, and released by Caravel Games in 2002. Since then, the company, in conjunction with a vibrant fan community, has published numerous quality sequels, upgrades and level packs. And now, in 2012, another milestone has been reached, with the first game in the DROD series, King Dugan's Dungeon finally receiving a port to the browser. So join Beethro Budkin, exterminator extraordinaire as he clears out every evil critter in DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon Lite - Episode 1!
Episode 1 consists of four floors of monster-fighting action. Move Beethro with the [arrow keys] (though utilizing the diagonals of the [number pad] or its laptop equivilant is recommended), and swing his sword around him clockwise or counterclockwise with the [W] and [Q] keys. Explore each level to find the exit, opening doors by triggering switches and killing various cockroaches, goblins, and other baddies. Each switch can be clicked with the mouse to reveal how it will affect the environment. With every move you make, the baddies will respond with a move of their own (and watch out for those diagonals!). You must use the layout of the rooms to your strategic advantage, and get them before they get you. Scrolls will reveal new information, stepping on a red x-tile will save your progress as a checkpoint, and [R] can be pressed to restart any room from the beginning. New elements are introduced over time, and much of the joy of the game comes from seeing how they combine to make new types of puzzles.
With its emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving, King Dugan's Dungeon Lite - Episode 1 is a perfect gateway for those intimidated by turn-based strategy, while still fun for hardcore genre fans looking for the challenge of finding optimal solutions. As an intro to the series, quite of bit of time is spent on the tutorial, which is to be expected even if it is a bit of a slow start. Stick around though, and you'll fall in love with the game's cunning design and impish sense of humor. One drawback worth mentioning is access to the high score charts is limited to paid Caravel Game members, though if you become that addicted, it's certainly worth it. So c'mon, try it! After all... the first one's free... (Mwah-ha-ha-ha!)