"AAAHH, FRESH MEAT" *holds cleaver aloft and starts running at you*
High praise for a game whose graphics might be considered a little pixellated, but not without good reason.
Diablo is the story of a nameless hero on a quest to discover the heart of the evil that disturbs the small town of Tristram, in a medieval world of sword and sorcery. The heart of the evil, unbeknown to our protagonist and various NPCs, is none other than Diablo, one of the three Prime Evils of hell, awakening in an ancient labyrinth, deep within the monastery, imprisoned in a soulstone.
The game follows a typical hack and slash whereby actions are performed at the click of the mouse, with the right mouse button assigned to whatever skill or spell you wish. The perspective is third-person omniscient, viewing the dungeon layout from up above, but angled so as to view two walls, with the corners pointing to each edge of the screen. Movement speed is constant throughout - making enemy movements (notably the Butcher) all the more scary. The character you choose (Warrior, Rogue, Sorcerer) upgrades his/her sprite when you equip better armour (three grades, each of the two upgrades looking more impressive than before). Enemies use tactics against you, such as surrounding you before moving in, and ranged attackers run away when you get too close. There is an excellent variation of monsters too, including numerous unique monsters with their own minions and special abilities. Unique weapons and armours abound too - made even better by their frequency, i.e. they aren't too difficult to get. There is a nice selection of side quests that help give the game volume as well - easy and not so easy, none of which are guaranteed to appear in each new game. After finishing the game you can choose to reuse the same character on a different difficulty too. There are three difficulty levels - Normal, Nightmare, and Hell. Hell easily lives up to its namesake.
The music is something else. It creates the mood, permeates your very being, sends shivers through your body. The louder the better, and the later at night the better. Talking to characters is made superbly realistic by the emotion behind their words - especially conversations with the witch. The script that flows up the screen as the NPCs speak mirrors this, with rich, Gothic lettering. You'll want to discover the tomes littering the dungeons too - more awesome storytelling relating to the history of the game world.
In addition to a vast array of weapons and armor to choose from, there are also some pretty impressive magic spells available for the finding. The spells can even be levelled for extra damage, reduced mana costs, greater effectiveness. Skill points earned upon level up can be distributed to Strength (predominantly for armor and most weapon requirements, and increased physical damage output), Dexterity (for some weapons such as bows, also increases To Hit %), Magic (spell requirements and increases mana capacity), and Life (increasing your life, naturally). The different classes have different caps on these stats too, meaning you can try to have a combat wizard if you want, but chances are he wont be very effective.
If you love slaying hoards of foul monsters, or enjoy a good scare, then Diablo is for you. Forget the fact that it has a dated screen resolution. There is much about this game that its successor, Diablo II, fails to capture. Atmosphere, music, and the fear factor, are the "prime" three aspects. If the new games of today fail to excite you, or they're all just not quite right, then try Diablo. It's "terror"bly addictive stuff.