Player descends the dungeon in search of his father Malcolm who went deep down trying to complete unknown quest. Malcolm’s intentions are shrouded by mystery but introduction hints that he and his party may be seeking entrance to lost city Tjalondabad.
Deep seems to be largely inspired by Diablo. Many statistics like hit chance, light radius, damage are expressed in nearly identical way. There is no automatic health or mana receovery but one has to drink potions to restore them. Also, there is no permadeath. Player can anytime save game for small amount of gold pieces. After death the files are not deleted.
Unique feature of this game is limiting inventory slots by size of pack you have equipped. The bigger backpack you wear the more items you can carry around. Through inventory mode a teleport shop can be visited. In effect all items get either sold or carried which results in plenty of gold at player’s disposal. To die is very difficult in Deep because shop supply of potions is infinite. Without challenge gameplay often becomes a bit boring.
Battles are mostly hack and slash style. No mundane ranged attack exist. Small array of spells available makes magic play support role even for intellect oriented characters. But biggest problem is anonymity of monsters. If you cannot recognize foe just by looking at picture you wilt not recognize it at all. Sometimes it feels like you are continually bashing z’s, r’s, w’s and so on. Without look command and no opponent name displayed player is left to guess.
While venturing through dungeons player will meet various bosses. These are extra tough monsters but unfortunately beating them will require not much else than extra keypresses. Defeating a boss is generously rewarded. Many experience points and often an item, likely to be unique or at least enchanted. One of bosses has even special throwing ability which greatly distinguishes it from mundane opponents. You can also encounter other adventurers and people needing your help who offer quests. However most of the latter can be completed literally by accident. Nearly every time it gets down to bashing something or someone.
Levels are consistently themed. Upon entering new location appearance of environment changes. Different enemies ihabit area, looks of walls and floor remind what this place is. Also, types of traps vary. You may find spike traps, dart traps and trapdoors in “regular” dungeons, in other places you may find boulders and quicksand. Runes in crypt, webs in vicinity of spiders.
Game contains small amount of bugs but current version has especially annoying one. In lower levels sometimes player character may stop moving in certain direction. Trying to move there anyway, despite the fact road is perfectly free, may result in instadeath. Frequent saving is recommended (at least once a level).
Deep’s weak point is portability. It will work properly only under DOS because it is written in Turbo Pascal. Replayability leaves a lot to be desired. Overall game is worth a try and fun albeit only until too much gold has accumulated. I hope that continued development will improve many aspects and adress current problems.
Reviewed for Roguetemple by Michael Bielinski