Dungeon Keeper 2 is a strategy game developed by Bullfrog Productions and published by Electronic Arts in 1999 for Microsoft Windows. It was released in Europe and North America in July 1999. It is the sequel to Peter Molyneux's Dungeon Keeper and predecessor to the cancelled Dungeon Keeper 3.
Molyneux did not have an active role in the creation of the Dungeon Keeper 2, though many of his ideas lived on from the previous game. Like its predecessor, players take the role of a dungeon keeper, building and defending an underground dungeon from the would-be heroes that invade it, as well as from other Keepers. In the game's campaign mode, the player is charged with recovering the portal gems from each area in order to open a portal to the surface. This was charged as a setup for the sequel, where the gems would be used to invade the surface world and defeat the faction of goodly heroes.
The most immediate change from Dungeon Keeper is in its graphics; the world is now fully 3D. Where monsters were previously sprites, they are now 3D models. Several rooms, spells, and monsters were changed, added or removed, as were many game mechanics. For example, if a creature is dropped into the middle of a melee, it is stunned and vulnerable for a few seconds before getting up to fight. One major feature of the game is its "My Pet Dungeon" mode, which features sandbox-style play where players have a nearly unlimited amount of time to construct a dungeon uninterrupted, and wherein heroes only invade the dungeon if the player chooses to allow it.
Major changes from Dungeon Keeper Edit
- The Dungeon Heart now stores a limited amount of gold; in Dungeon Keeper (particularly the Deeper Dungeons expansion), if the player ran out of gold before building a treasury, no additional gold could be mined and stored.
- Spells are now cast using mana, which is automatically replenished over turns, based on the amount of land or mana vaults a player owns. Previously, they were cast using gold.
- Dropping creatures onto the ground stuns them for a while, unlike in Dungeon Keeper, where they could immediately begin to move again. Different creatures remain stunned for varying amounts of time, Bile Demons for example take several seconds to haul themselves off the floor whereas Goblins will push themselves back up almost immediately, and imps are not stunned by dropping at all. Creatures are not stunned if dropped in a Combat Pit.
- Imps no longer require training to gain levels; they gain experience from performing their duties in the dungeon.
- The Training Room only trains creatures for the first four levels; further levels can be attained in the Combat Pit (to level 8) or through actual combat (or the Increase Level Dungeon Special).
- The Scavenger Room was removed, and two rooms were added:
- The Horned Reaper is no longer a typical creature: it may instead be summoned for a very large amount of mana. "Horny" will then go on a rampage, destroying anything in his path for a short time.
- Many creatures were removed, and many were added. Notably absent are the Dragons and Demon Spawn, replaced by a relatively weaker fire Salamander. The game has a greater reliance on humanoid creatures. In the first game, the only evil creatures to possibly be humans were undead, Mistresses and Warlocks. But in Dungeon Keeper 2, not only have the Warlocks and Mistresses become obviously human, but Rogues and Black Knights have been added. With the removal of creatures like the aforementioned Dragons, the Spiders and Beetles etc., this results in the dungeons changing shape from the beast-inhabited dens of the first game, to more civilized-appearing settlements in the second.
- Many of the spells were redone, and can be upgraded after all basic spells have been researched.
As in the original, the player takes on the enigmatic form of a large floating green hand which moves around the map picking things up, dropping them, casting spells and interacting with specific items. The game interface is blended between a large panel at the bottom of the screen and interactive items in the world. For example, the buttons to select which room, door or trap to build or spell to cast are in tabs on the panel and are then dropped into position in the world. Locking and unlocking doors or activating items is done by clicking on the item in the world. Disabling imprisonment of enemy creatures is done by clicking a metal bar next to the prison door, barricading it closed.
The game plays quite similarly to its predecessor, however gameplay is more streamlined with less micromanaging and elimination of unnecessary information. Examples include the removal of the "kill enemies"/"beat them unconscious" switch (creatures are always knocked unconscious - the behavior can't be changed) and the creature statistics panel, which provided all sorts of generally irrelevant information like blood type and luck. The creature combat experience was also moved to display as a circular "progress bar" in the creature's "health flower" over their heads, removing the need to find the information in the panels. The colors, music and sound in Dungeon Keeper 2 also tend to be brighter and more vibrant; the original Dungeon Keeper was generally darker and "grimier" with more serious overtones. However, the Control Panel icons have lost the colorfulness they had in Dungeon Keeper. Dungeon Keeper 2 tends to be much more tongue-in-cheek with various fourth wall-breaking jokes. An example of the change in mood is when a creature hits the jackpot in the Casino. This releases a flurry of stardust springing from the room, while the game blasts Disco Inferno and the creatures in the Casino dance around. The fact that this Casino (together with the Combat Pit) replaced the eerie Scavenger Room from Dungeon Keeper solidifies the altered mood.
Like the original, Dungeon Keeper 2 places the player in the role of a malignant overlord bent on world domination. The player must conquer all the underground lands in the kingdom to recover the Portal gems, which can be used to open a portal to the surface world so that it can be invaded by evil. The kingdom itself takes the form of a large table containing a 3-dimensional map where the player clicks where to attack next from the highlighted regions - this is quite similar to Dungeon Keeper's world map with mainly graphical improvements. There are 20 main levels in the campaign. Some levels have multiple methods of attack allowing the player to choose which method and sub-region they prefer.
At any stage, as in the first Dungeon Keeper, the player may choose to "Possess" one of his creatures. The player then sees through the creatures eyes and controls its actions, in a style similar to a First Person Shooter.
Gameplay is overseen by "The Mentor", an anonymous evil sounding male, voiced by Richard Ridings, just as in the original Dungeon Keeper, who tutors the player in the early levels and provides hints and advice throughout the game as well as general notices such as "It's payday" or "Your dungeon heart is under attack!". He also provides occasional humorous messages such as "One of your imps does a great impression of you. He can even do the ears". The Mentor also provides a sometimes humorous monologue at both the objectives and debriefing screens for each level about the level goals and the characters involved. He also points out the movements of rival keepers and the king on the world map.
After completing a campaign level, the player receives a short movie before the debriefing screen which contains a joke based on the game.
Other than the campaign, the game also includes multiplayer and skirmish modes, as well as the sandbox mode, "My Pet Dungeon". My Pet Dungeon levels assign the player a goal such as "gain 10000 points" where points are gained by building, casting, claiming, slapping and just generally managing the dungeon. Once the player completes the objective they are then allowed to choose to keep playing on for as long as they like. The sandbox mode includes a "Hero toolbox" where the player can grab Hero characters and drop them in their dungeon for their minions to kill. The toolbox also includes a slot machine-like device for changing the skill level of the characters in the toolbox. The interface panel also gains a "force an invasion" button that causes a team of heroes to emerge from a Hero Gate and attack the player's dungeon.
The Skirmish mode enables the player to fight against computer bots. However, the difficulty of the bots is not particularly high, as the AI tends to have limited decision making and contingency planning abilities, but the bots are still generally challenging under favourable conditions, specifically, a sufficiently large quantity of land to build perfectly square rooms and a large quantity of nearby gold or gems.
The fact that Dungeon Keeper 2's development team consisted of new people as well as people who worked on the first Dungeon Keeper, according to producer Nick Goldsworthy, enabled them to "approach Dungeon Keeper 2 with fresh eyes as well as a sense of ownership." There was pressure to carry over the experience of the first game as well as adding something new to it.
Dungeon Keeper 2's look changed to match trends, despite Mark Healey's "wonderful" (according to Retro Gamer) job with the first game's graphics. Goldsworhy said that the team knew that they had to make a 3D game that utilized hardware acceleration. He stated that they spent "hours" trying to make it perfect.
The music was composed by Mark Knight. The rest of the audio was created by four people: Nick Laviers (head of audio), Adele Kellet, Matthew Thrling, and Elain Williams. One of the techniques they used was chopping a cabbage with a knife, which was used for the beheading sound effects. An early-mid 1998 trailer was included with Dungeon Keeper Gold. It reused several sounds from the first game, suggesting that they had yet to develop many of the sounds. It also claimed an early 1996 release and a PlayStation version.
A later trailer claimed a summer 1999 release, and gone was the mention of the PlayStation version.
The team wanted to reduce ambiguity when maintaining the dungeon, and "tighten up" combat. The user interface was tweaked to ensure rewards. The testers tested levels without invaders, which became part of the game as the My Pet Dungeon mode. Much effort was put into multiplayer, as it was an important feature to improve.
Dungeon Keeper 2 was released in July 1999.
Boxes and discs Edit
Title screens Edit
|Dungeon Keeper Series|
| ||Dungeon Keeper (Demo) / Dungeon Keeper 2 / Dungeon Keeper 3 / Dungeon Keeper Online / Dungeon Keeper Mobile|
| ||The Deeper Dungeons / Dungeon Keeper Gold / Dungeon Keeper Premium / Dungeon Keeper Collector's Edition / Dungeon Keeper Editor / Dungeon Keeper 2 Editor|
| ||Natural Born Keeper / War for the Overworld|
| ||DK1 Editors / ADiKtEd / UnDed / DKTools / Dungeon Keeper FX / OpenKeeper|