Monday, December 4, 2006
World map: Yes
Permadeath: 1.0 No/2.5 Yes
Persistent dungeons: Yes
Played Version: Valhalla 1.0
Latest version: 2.5 - Ragnarok Homepage
Old version (with sound): 1.0 (Valhalla) - Home of the Underdogs (use DosBox)
Graphics: ASCII and tiles
Sound: 1.0 Yes/2.5 No
Resource: Ragnarok Homepage, theodor lauppert
Ragnarok (known in Europe as Valhalla) is an epic and deep roguelike with many worlds based on the Norse mythology. In the Valhalla release the player is allowed to make permanent saves provided they are done 200 turns apart (beginner) or 4000 turns apart (expert). The Ragnarok release has permadeath(?) The layout of the worlds are always the same but terrain and encounters are randomised. It is one of the few roguelikes to sport a mouse driven GUI combining both tile based graphics and ASCII. The player has a few quests to solve making the game a bit more like a RPG.
Ragnarok is a vast and complicated game that requires a lot of dedication. The starting class decides the playing tactics in the early game, but as it is possible to change class each 10th level the decision isn’t crucial for the long term play. However, the weak classes, such as alchemist and sage, are difficult to keep alive as apprentices but get very powerful at level 10 when they get their master skills, like re-writing scrolls and mixing powerful potions.
The save system in the Valhalla version is a compromise between permadeath and permanent saves. To play a long row of new inexperienced adventurers isn’t as fun in Valhalla as in some other roguelikes, mostly because each world is quite large and therefore a little repetitive and because there is only one race and a few classes to try out. By being able to make a permanent save after 200 or 4000 turns saves the dedicated player from having to replay the early game again and again, but at the same time offers new challenges each time a game is restored because of the new random content. Furthermore replaying 200 or 4000 turns isn’t something to look forward to if you have made great progress and found nice items, and thus still keeping the tension high.
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