I really liked this game and hope there will be a sequel.

User Rating: 8 | Dungeon Keeper 2 (Classic) PC
I really liked this game. I played pen & pencil Dungeons & Dragons for years, so I have an appreciation of the dungeon-master concept behind this game. Dungeon Keeper 2 is a blend of real-time strategy, base-building, and sim-developing, but the real treat is being able to play as naughty as you want--and be rewarded for it! There are a few things that I would change about DK2, but overall, I found it quite enjoyable, even years after its initial release.

Gameplay: There are three different gameplay modes. First, there is the campaign, which includes several mission in which you snuff out the lairs of heroes and rival keepers on your way to dominating the region. Typically, you build a base by tunneling out rooms and finding gold, attract a legion of monster henchmen while doing so, and then take on the forces of your rival. There is enough variation in the missions to prevent boredom, although there are a few very tough missions (especially the last two). There is also a skirmish mode that lets you fight against 1-3 rival keepers while fighting off other interlopers. The skirmish game can be customized in various ways, although there are only about 20 maps. Finally, there is a "my pet dungeon" mode for those who just want to build their subterranean masterpieces without being troubled by opposition (although you can choose to include set-piece battles against heroes). All of the gameplay modes have their appeal, though I liked the campaign and skirmish the best. The game can be played online, but I suspect there is not much of a multiplayer community these days.

The game is fairly easy to play, once you master the controls. You'll need certain rooms in place (lair, hatchery, blacksmith, prison, torture chamber, and library) to really get things going, along with a number of choice spells (heal, rally, make gold) that can be researched at the library. You have limited control of your creatures, beyond being able to drag and drop them. You can take direct control over a creature with the possession spell and even have a number of creatures follow you. This puts the game into first-person perspective, which can be fun but not all that useful in later stages of the campaign. But again, the real joy of the game is all of the naughty things that you can do, like torture captured heroes in your custom-built torture chamber, have corpses drug to your graveyard where they might eventually attract a vampire to do your bidding, or summon the god-like Horny Devil to turn the tide of a battle. A fully fleshed-out dungeon feels almost like a small town under your control, and you can spend hours just admiring and tinkering with your handy work (or trying to keep your minions happy). And though a somewhat dark game, DK2 has more than its share of humor, from the Vincent Price-like narrator to the casino that gives you a ridiculously funny treat if one of your monsters hits the jackpot. The game never comes across as cheesy or trivial, but it obviously does not take itself too serious.

Graphics: For a game that came out in the late 1990s, DK2 looks pretty good. Models are detailed enough to be credible representations of various monsters, and animations are pretty decent. Some models such as the enemy hero lords are used too often, but otherwise the visuals are good enough to allow the game to immerse you.

Sounds: The game does have enough sound effects to convince you that it takes place in an underground dungeon. However, the best sounds are the voice acting, which is top-knotch all the way around. The narrator is both sinister and hilarious, and the enemy heroes are over-the-top in their arrogant, dismissive attitudes toward evil. The music is okay, but not particularly gripping. Technical Issues: The game has been quite stable on my system, even though I have XP with service pack 2. Be sure to install the latest game patch before playing. Replayability/Value: I picked this game up new for about $12 on eBay, so I certainly got my money's worth. I don't see much replay value in the campaign, though I can imagine replaying it again at least once. The skirmish mode is decent, and there are enough maps to keep you playing for a while. If you are looking to play online, I'm afraid you'll have a hard time finding a game.

Pros: +great concept for a game
+terrific voice acting
+a few different gameplay modes
+the dark humor is spot on +"it's good to be bad"

+no online community at this point
+a few frustrating campaign missions
+no modding community to speak of