No relation to Bruce Willis
Diehard Dungeons is much like that friend you had back in school who was “the inventor” of everything. New game ideas, cool handshakes, even nicknames. As most of you remember though, that kid never came up with any of them. “Furious balls” was just dodgeball and “piefucker” was stolen from American Pie. Diehard Dungeons is exactly like that kid as it attempts to boast so many unique features that have been done better.
It’s a 16-bit retro dungeon crawler and doesn’t do much to evolve from those that inspired it. In Diehard you have your sword and a handcannon (Bomb) both of which don’t feel quite right. The sword can only attack in four directions while enemies can come freely from any. The handcannon is pointless in small rooms and boringly overpowered in larger rooms, to the point that simply firing off-screen can empty a room faster than trying to deal with enemies properly.
The most unusual aspect of Diehard Dungeons is the treasure chest that follows you around (See also; The Luggage and Chester). In this case, you collect gold to upgrade your chest which gains the ability to fire weak projectiles, then protrude spikes and eventually drops smaller chests that act like turrets. This aspect boils gameplay down to a game of tag as you simply avoid enemies as the chest picks them off.
The variety of enemies in Diehard Dungeons is what you’d expect of a £4 title. Some small guys, some palette swaps, a few big guys and a handful of bosses. For the price, it’s to be expected. What can be criticised is the blandness of the main character. They are so generic, we thought that it would randomly create characters at the start of each run; it doesn’t. It turns out the character is just bland, the kind that would be called “Human_Male_01”.
As we briefly said above, Diehard Dungeons is 16-bit which means it looks like every other 16-bit dungeon crawler. It takes a lot of effort to make 16-bit look good and those that choose to go with the style purely for nostalgia’s sake end up joining the pit of retro clones. Unfortunately this game has fallen into the pit.
One nice aspect is the progression through the dungeon. At the end of each section two paths are given, a difficult path and a normal path. With a higher yield of gold and a greater challenge, the difficult path gives for some amusement as the mixture of enemies and traps makes it too difficult to simply run in circles with your trust chest in tow. Meaning the game becomes difficult again, very difficult.
Diehard Dungeons does have its own personality but it’s lagging behind a crowd that have embraced newer graphics and more unique mechanics.It just feels old and stale, even more so when compared to games like Binding of Isaac and Dungeon of the Endless. If you want a rogue-like for under £5, it is worth it.