Following the two immensely successful titles of the Warcraft series, Blizzard
Entertainment innovates once more with a revolutionary RPG game named Diablo.
In this epic adventure, far from the noise of the clashing battles between
Human and Orc armies, only the courage of a valiant hero will liberate the
world of Man of its greatest threat. Beneath the foundations of a desecrated
church lies an underground labyrinth whose crypts and halls are haunted by
hordes of nightmarish creatures. In this blood chilling place is where the game of
Diablo sends you.
Click on image to visit
|Honor and courage are a
warrior's right and left hands... (*)|
When Diablo starts, you have just returned to the city of Tristam. Alas, it
is no longer the peaceful town it used to be, and the few townsfolk left
that still inhabit the deserted city all have terrifying stories to tell.
The sad tale begins when the Arch Bishop Lazarus became possessed by the
evil mind of Diablo, the Lord of Terror. From beneath the monastery, Diablo
had plot its return to the world of Man, but he needed a mortal form to wear.
Among the souls above in town, he found King's Leoric to have the strongest.
For months, Leoric tried to fight this evil force that was slowly corrupting
him from the inside, but all resistance was vain. The King Leoric, once wise
and good, was falling into madness that turned him into a man without mercy,
ordering executions, massacres and punitive expeditions. However, Leoric's
will was not entirely gone, and this prevented Diablo to take full possession
of Leoric's mind, and he decided to seek a fresh and innocent soul, which he
found in Leoric's only son, the young Prince Albrecht. Diablo was now ready
to take over the Mortal Realm at the head of his horde of demonic creatures.
As Diablo is first of all a RPG game, you select your character's
style between a warrior, a rogue and a sorcerer. Not only do they differ by their
appearance, but also by the characteristics that define them, namely strength,
magic, dexterity and vitality. Each character offers advantages and
inconveniences you will need to take in consideration before you choose one of
them. While the warrior shows superior strength, the rogue has a greater
dexterity, and the sorcerer is obviously more versed in magic than the two
others. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that the warrior won't be able
to cast spells. As you gain experience points during the game, for each new
level of experience you reach, you will be given five points you can distribute
as you wish. Whether you want to increase strength over magic, or dexterity
over vitality, for example, is completely up to you. Still, you will sometimes
find weapons, armor or magical items that require your character to have
a certain amount of strength, dexterity or magic before they can be used. In
case your character doesn't match the requirements, you might want to increase
the lacking characteristic first to benefit from the properties of the new item.
Even though the higher these four characteristics are, the better your
chances to survive the final encounter with Diablo will be, life and mana
remain the two essential values you should keep your eyes on. Represented by
two colored orbs, a red one for life and a blue for mana, these two gauges
will indicate how much life and mana you have left. Needless to say, it is bad
news when the red orb is empty. Fortunately, before you reach that critical point,
you can regenerate your health partially or completely using healing potions,
or by having Pepin the Healer take care of your wounds. Potions will be
found inside the labyrinth, or can be bought from Pepin in the town. While of
a lesser importance for the warrior, the mana is what you need to cast a
spell besides magic points of course. Again, you can use mana potions to
restore your mana level, but you will either have to find them or buy them
from Adria the Witch.
|A warrior's true strength lies not in the body, but in the spirit...
At the beginning of the game, depending on which character you chose, you will
carry different items. Both, the warrior and the rogue will have two healing
potions that will be replaced by mana potions for the sorcerer. Weapons will
also be different. The warrior will carry a short sword, club and buckler;
the rogue a short bow; and the sorcerer, a short staff of charged bolt. In
addition, they will each have 100 gold coins in their inventory. As you
explore the dark and gloomy labyrinth, you will discover new items and
weapons to be placed in your backpack inventory. It is not unlimited however,
and sometimes you will have to decide between what you can
throw out and what you can keep. On the inventory screen, the backpack will
be schematized by a 10 by 4 grid of spaces, each item taking one space or more.
For example, small objects such as potions, rings and amulets will take one
space, but weapons can use up to six spaces. To use a particular item,
you need to place it on one of the specific areas of the inventory screen
that designate a part of your body (head, neck, torso, right and left hands).
Thus you can wear rings on your hands, wear an amulet around the neck or have
a helm or crown over your head, while holding a weapon and a buckler in your
hands. If you don't have enough space in your backpack, you can always place
potions or scrolls in your belt which has eight free slots.
The use of magic will of course rely on your abilities. As explained above,
a sorcerer will have greater magic skills than the warrior and the rogue, but
that's still not enough to be a mighty sorcerer. Before you can cast powerful
spells, you need to learn them. This will be done by reading spell books that
you will find in libraries within the labyrinth or pick up from your enemy's
dead bodies. Though you will need a certain level of magic to read them and
be able to use the new spells. With the B key, you will access the Spell Book
that provides you with a description of each spell, while the S key will let
you choose which one you want to cast next time you right click the mouse.
Like experience, the spell levels will increase every time you find an additional
book related to the same spell, making it deadlier. Diablo contains an
impressive range of spells from bolts and lightning to resurrect and
telekinesis, that should be more than enough for any sorcerer's apprentice.
Before you enter into the darkness of the maze, you can converse with the
few inhabitants of Tristam. There is Cain the Elder who will identify special
items in exchange of 100 gold coins, Griswold the Blacksmith who repairs and
sells weapons and armor, Adria the Witch who will gladly sell you mana potions
and other magical stuff, Pepin the Healer, Ogden the tavern owner, Gillian
the barmaid and Wirt the peg-legged boy. When you approach them and start
talking, a new window will appear on the screen. If there is a specific
subject you can talk about, it will appear in the dialogue screen, otherwise
you will have to listen to gossip. There will be nothing interesting to hear
at the very beginning, but when you come back after exploring one or
several levels of the labyrinth, the townsfolk will give you quests. You are
free to continue your exploration without giving any importance to the quests,
but your success may well depend on their completion as you will earn special
weapons and magic items that are very useful for the rest of your mission. At every
moment during the game, you can press the Q key to access the quest book, and
see what quests are left.
|Might and magic are spokes on the same wheel...|
In lacking one you lack both... (*)
So far, the description of the game nearly matches every single RPG game
out on the market, except maybe for the interface; the dialogues being
reduced to a minimum and serving almost exclusively the story line and the
quests. Really, what makes Diablo so outstanding are the sterling graphics
and the multi-player support.
From all other RPG games, only Ultima VIII from Origin Software could come
close to Diablo in terms of graphics. Both use 3D isometric graphics, but the
difference is that Diablo uses the 640 by 480 SVGA mode instead of 320 by
200 VGA, which is four times more graphics than Ultima VIII. Smooth and realistic
textures replace the rough graphics of Ultima VIII, and should you have
a fast configuration, the scrolling is impeccable. The town itself is without
a doubt the prettiest place in the game, with its imposing monastery and
rustic houses, lifelike trees, rocks, grass and even animated cows, not
mentioning the various characters around. The other levels of Diablo also
feature the same realism and brilliant graphics. From gloomy crypts and corridors
to deserted mines, lava pools and demonic lairs, what awaits you in Diablo
is simply unbelievable with so much variety encountered in the game. The number
of different creatures that haunt the walls of the labyrinth is equally
impressive with over 100 of them. Skeleton warriors, zombies, overlords,
magma demons, goat men, spitting terrors, horned demons, winged fiends,
gargoyles and dozens of others will make your journey in Diablo a living
nightmare from which you may not come back alive. The animations for the
character and the creatures are top-notch, and largely outdo what has been
done in previous games. To this graphics galore, you must add the numerous
real-time light effects. For example, in the obscurity of the catacombs in
the first levels, only a halo of light surrounds the player, which
illuminates walls and objects as the player moves around. Another example of
light-sourced graphics in Diablo are the attack spells such as bolts and lightning,
that will light the darkness for a few seconds, and the flickering torches
|He who fights with monsters|
might take care lest he thereby
become a monster.
Most of the levels are plunged in this shadowy light, the other part being
fairly lit up with lava streams. Therefore, identifying the number of opponents
is not always an easy task with this continuous penumbra, and when you are
not sure, it is better to retreat. In fact, each time I could, I lured my
adversaries to a door where I was waiting behind, ready to chop them one by
one. If you let them regroup around you, you won't have many chances to
survive the onslaught unless you have a resistant armor. Once you've killed them,
don't forget to collect all the gold on the floor and any other items or
weapons left by your enemies, you will indeed need them. Among the useful
items you can find in Diablo besides healing and mana potions, are the Town
Portal Scrolls. These will allow you to create a magic passageway between
your current location and the town, instead of getting up to the surface
through previous levels. Although there are two secret passages in the entire
labyrinth that allow you to directly go back to the surface, never venture
in the labyrinth without one of these scrolls, you might deeply regret your
forgetting them when you see your red orb desperately emptying! To help you
in your exploration, the automap option will superimpose an isometric
representation of what you have discovered so far from the level, even featuring
|But he that hides a dark soul|
and foul thoughts
under the mid-day sun
Himself is his own dungeon...
If playing Diablo alone is already a great experience, wait until you try
the multi-player madness. You can play with a friend over a modem connection,
or with three other players using serial links, a LAN network, or Internet,
free of charge through Blizzard proprietary Battle.Net server. In the
multi-player mode, you can decide to play cooperatively, united against
the evil forces, or competitively fighting for your own sake. Like other
multi-player games, you can communicate with other players during the game,
taunting your adversaries with sarcastic remarks or calling for help if you
play cooperatively. It is even possible to set up the level of difficulty
from normal to Hell, the last one asking for the most experienced characters.
Should you die during a multi-player game, you can be resurrected by another
player (if willing to) either with a resurrect scroll or spell. However, if
all the players die, they will all restart in town with both life and mana orbs
emptied and most of their items in their inventory gone. The only thing that
is kept are the character's statistics (level of experience, magic, dexterity,
With Diablo's outrageous 3D rendered graphics and its real-time engine,
exploration has never been so exciting in a RPG program. Add the
level-generation system that makes each game different, and you get a winner
that will stay unrivalled until Diablo 2 comes out. Last but not least, the
cinematics from the introduction to the conclusion are simply the best of
the industry! And if you don't have your copy yet, just grab one before it
gets out of stock!
Written by Frederick Claude
Click here for screen shots.
Windows 95 or NT 4.0,
Pentium 60Mhz or higher,
Min 8MB memory,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster (Diablo CD must be in drive to play),
Windows 95 compatible sound card and mouse,
Local Bus SVGA Video Card (DirectX Compatible).
Min 16Mb memory,
2 players: 14400 BPS modem or null modem cable
2-4 players: IPX Network or Battle.net (Requires low-latency Internet
connection with support for 32-bit applications).
In North America:
P.O. Box 18979,
Irvine, CA 92713.
E-Mail: E-Mail Blizzard Entertainment
Internet Support: Blizzard Entertainment Technical
Web site: Blizzard Entertainment
Devon, TQ12 2BP.
Internet Support: Zablac Entertainment Technical
28, rue Armand Carrel,
93108 Montreuil sous Bois Cedex.
Web site: Ubi Soft
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