Bullfrog - 1997
Hugely delayed, Dungeon Keeper was finally released in 1997 to much acclaim. It marked the final game that Peter Molyneux produced for his Bullfrog studios. He left and formed a new company that (eventually) produced Black and White.
Dungeon Keeper is set in the underworld and you play the Dungeon Keeper of the title... your task is to build a dungeon that is resistant to greedy heroes that venture in to steal your gold... there are also rival dungeon keepers to contend with. You can populate your dungeon with various mainstays of the fantasy genre. For example; wizards, goblins, vampires and, er, mistresses... The creatures are attracted to your dungeon by the quality of the accommodation, wages and the appropriate facilities (mistresses love well equipped torture chambers, as we all know...) You can assign these creatures to different tasks: wizards like going to the library to research new spells and upgrades for your dungeon. They are not so keen on being told to make traps in the workshop. All creatures can be toughened up in the Training Room, so when the opposition does attack, your creatures will be able to do something about it. Meanwhile, your dungeon is basically looked after by Imps: these little fellows dig new tunnels, claim new territory, mine gold and strengthen the walls. In later levels they collect unconscious baddies and take them to your prison, and drag corpses to the graveyard which produces a vampire when full... the Imps are useful but fragile... which is why they're called Imps, I suppose.
The only slight complaint is that there is a problem with the difficulty level: some of the later levels are really quite tough but suddenly it will get quite easy again. I found the final level, for instance, to be satisfyingly long but rather easy in other respects. Never mind. The rest of the game is really well polished and the control system is one of the best to appear on the PC. I loved the way the view of the dungeon could be rotated and set to how you preferred it; there is even a feature that blew my mind way back in 1997. It is possible to 'enter' the mind of one of your minions and walk about your own dungeon. Like all Peter Molyneux games, it's the details that push the game into greatness. That and the mordant sense of humour.
Bubbaray 25 Jan '03
ebay - You'll find the game on ebay or any good second hand game store.
Phil's Guide to Keeping Better Dungeons - A great tips site that will help you achieve your best in dungeon keeping.
Theodor Lauppert's Dungeon Keeper page - Lots of great information.