GD Star Rating
It’s been quite some time since I have wrote something here at GameGoldies, and since Stilgar wrote a review about Diablo and Geocities closed down, I thought I’d share with you my retrospective view on the same game… but played on my favorite console – the PlayStation.
Back in the day even I, a non-PC gamer, have heard of Diablo. I was not sure what type of game it was but I definitely knew it was popular with the PC gamers. Needless to say when I heard that a PSX version was in the works, I was definitely psyched to see what this game was all about. I was also a bit skeptical due to the less than stellar PC to PSX conversions in the past but I knew that if anyone could pull it off, EA could.
I remember Diablo was nothing like what I expected. I figured it was one of those real time strategy (yawn) games that ware the rage on PC. But after checking out the back of the box I knew that this was not the case. What it looked like I bought was a good hack-n-slash adventure game. As it turned out, there was plenty of hacking and slashing (oh yes) but (as I later discovered) that is only part of the game. You may even say that the game has some small RPG influence albeit very minimal. All of this and the Mature 17+ rating really had me pumped to rip into the game. After the first level it became abundantly clear to me why the PC game is so popular.
The entire time I was playing Diablo I was trying to find a game to compare it with as a reference point. The weird thing is that I could not place my finger on just one game because there are elements of so many different games as well as a uniqueness that makes it stand out on its own. I really never came up with a game to compare it with but I have a feeling that if the game catches on like it did for the PC, I will be comparing a bunch of future games to Diablo.
The objective of Diablo is quite simple and straightforward. Battle your way through the labyrinth and destroy Diablo. What is not so simple is actually accomplishing the goal. There are tons of baddies awaiting you around every corner. Some are wimps, others are…not wimps. One of the things I really enjoyed about this game was the enemies and wondering what I would have to face next. There are some seriously evil dudes in this game and they did a great job of conveying that evil into your living room.
Although the underlying object is to battle through the labyrinth, there are other quests that you are to fulfill along the way. As you interact with the townsfolk (see next paragraph), you may be sent out on a particular quest by one of the people. If you succeed, you are usually rewarded with something that will aide your quest to kill Diablo. Sometimes, if you do not complete the quest, you can’t advance. These quests are usually straightforward and are nothing more than finding a particular item or killing a foe that you would have done anyway but it helps give you short term goals to keep your interest level up.
The game takes place in two separate environments. Of course you have the labyrinth which is where all of the combat takes place. The other area where you spend time is in town. The town has people that you can interact with and each has their own special skill. For example, you have the healer from whom you can purchase potions to regain your health and such. You have the Blacksmith who repairs your weapons and armor. You have the old dude that helps identify objects that you find in the labyrinth. This is partly where the RPG aspects of the game take place. You collect gold pieces and use these for buying the goods and services of the townsfolk.
The other area where the RPG elements come into play is in your character. You can start the game as one of three players. You can select the warrior who is good at close combat but not so good at magic. You can select the Rogue who is good with bows and is fair with magic. Finally, you can select the sorcerer who is great at magic and not so good at close combat. Depending on the character you choose, the game play and strategies are very different. First, you are awarded points to distribute to your abilities as you progress through the game. You can distribute these points between your strength, magic, dexterity and vitality. When I played as the warrior, I used the points mostly on strength because close combat required more strength. When playing as the sorcerer, I would crank up my magic points because that was where he was most effective. You have to be careful not to neglect certain areas because you will find items throughout the game that require certain amounts of each before you can use them. If you do not have enough strength for example, you could not use certain weapons. This keeps you thinking from the start to finish of the game.
As fun as the one player mode is, the game really shines in the two player mode. You play simultaneously with another person and can really kick some demon ass. After playing for awhile you will learn which items work better for which person and start trading items to help strengthen each other. You will also get good at sharing heath and other vital potions to help the quest. Also, the game claims to regenerate the labyrinth so the game is not the same every time. This did help the replay value but trust me, after working your way down to hell a couple of times, you will not have it in you to go it again.
I did have a few minor complaints with the game. The first is that the load times were enormous. Sure, during the actual gameplay there are no load times at all but it takes forever to load the levels. Also, when you load or save from the memory card, you may as well go grab a snack. The reason that this sucks is that you will constantly be saving your progress as you defeat a group of enemies. I wish they used a faster saving method because I would press on at times that I would have liked to save but I just did not have the patience to wait.
The other thing that bothered me was that your character could be a bit awkward to control at times. It was not awkward like 3D awkward but more like stiff awkward. You would try and cut diagonally and the character would not move correctly making it hard to maneuver around objects. Thankfully it was the worst in town where you were safe from the evils of the labyrinth but it was still annoying nonetheless.
If you are looking for flashy 3D polygons, you may as well look somewhere else. Is that to say that the graphics are not good? Quite the contrary. This game goes to show that you do not need all of the glitz and glamour to get the job done. I actually think that if they had tried to make this game 3D, it would have hurt the gameplay. The overhead view of the action gives you plenty of warning for the upcoming dangers and aside from the stiff control of the character, it is easy to make your way around the labyrinth without having to worry about camera angles and such.
If you sit down and give this game a little bit of time you will be hooked. The RPG element added just enough to make the game more than a hack-n-slash bore but is not overdone. I had many nights that I just could not stop playing because I wanted to see what was coming next. The long load and save times were a bit annoying but I guess it is better to load everything at the beginning of the level instead of throughout the entire game. I highly recommend this game to just about everyone. Just remember to not get overwhelmed and give up. Everything will become clear in a matter of time. Check it out!Diablo by Electronic Arts,