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Deadly Rooms of Death

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Deadly Rooms of Death (DROD) is a computer puzzle game. It was created by Erik Hermansen in 1997 and has been regularly extended since then. The original version of the game published by Webfoot Technologies is no longer available, but the newer Caravel DROD can be downloaded from the company's website.


The original release is by Webfoot Technologies in 1997 as version 1.03 of the game, followed shortly after with versions 1.04 and 1.11 to fix some bugs with unsolvable rooms and levels. This early version is commonly known as Webfoot DROD.

In 2000, the original author of the game, Erik Hermansen, got permission from Webfoot to release the game as open source. With the help of several volunteers, he recreated the game from scratch, rewriting the entire game engine and creating improved graphics and new music for it. The main game screen, however, remained mostly the same as the original Webfoot version. This version, version 1.5, is commonly known as Caravel DROD, and was first released in late October 2002.[1]

Version 1.6, also called DROD: Architects' Edition, included improvements to some of the graphics, but most importantly a level editor, and was released in October 2002.[1] Community-designed rooms and levels are grouped together in packages called "holds, and extend the gameplay beyond the community-imposed challenges of previous versions.[1]

The sequel to 1.6, DROD: Journey to Rooted Hold, was released in April 2005 for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Also called DROD 2.0, the game includes many new additions and improvements, such as an expanded plot complete with in-game dialogue, higher resolution graphics; better user interfaces in both the editor and in game; new monsters and puzzle elements; additional customizability for holds, scripting system and connectivity to an online DROD database.[1]

A commercial remake of the original DROD game was also released under this engine, named DROD: King Dugan's Dungeon. Several commercial add-on holds have also been released for this engine as 'Smitemaster's Selections'.

The third game in the series, DROD: The City Beneath, or DROD 3.0, was released in April 2007. It includes all the features of Journey to Rooted Hold, plus a complete new official hold with in-game dialog, 3 new design styles, and further enhanced customizability and networking. Cutscenes support, lighting system and variables that allow non-linear plot progression are the most prominent new features of DROD:TCB.

As an extra game, DROD RPG was released on September 12, 2008. Created by Mike Rimer, DROD RPG is a DROD game coupled with several RPG elements including hitpoints, equipment, and the ability to change weapons. The game turns CaravelGames in a new direction and features a new character, Tendry, who tries to find his way to the surface world. Some of the older puzzle elements were changed to reflect the RPG style, including keys to open doors that used to open under certain conditions.

A fifth and possibly final game in the series is planned, namely DROD: The Second Sky.


King Dugan has a problem. He let his guards eat their meals down in the dungeon, and they spread crumbs all over the place, so suddenly his lovely dungeons are swarming with cockroaches, not to mention goblins, serpents, evil eyes, and other nasty things. It's really gotten out of hand. Beethro Budkin, dungeon exterminator extraordinaire and the main protagonist, is called to the castle and, after a short briefing by Dugan, thrown into the dungeon with the doors locked securely after him. With only a Really Big Sword™ at his disposal, it's up to our hero to clear the place, so that the prisoners can receive their torture in a clean and safe environment.

The game is entirely tile based and takes place on a 38*32 rectangular grid. King Dugan's Dungeon is made out of 350 interconnected rooms, 38*32 tiles each. Any such room is a separate puzzle, and to solve it you must defeat all the monsters in the room and exit it. Each element or monster must occupy a positive whole number of squares, and no two monsters or objects of the same type can occupy the space at once. The player controls the movement of Beethro Budkin, a dungeon exterminator equipped with a Really Big Sword™. In the fictional world where the game takes place (the Eighth), his job as a Smitemaster is to clear dungeons of invading monsters. Most gameplay stems from, or elaborates on, this concept.

Since this game is also turn based, monsters or objects will only move once per turn. In almost all cases, monster movement depends exclusively upon where it is in relation to the player. As a result, Deadly Rooms of Death requires logical problem solving rather than reflexes. Each turn, the player can wait, move into any of the eight bordering squares to his current one (if not already occupied), or rotate his sword 45 degrees. Since the game is turn based and tile based, using your sword to block advancing monsters or to manipulate them is an essential strategy, as is counting square distances to objects, since this will determine how many moves you or a monster requires to reach an object or square.

Critical reception

DROD has the highest rating amongst puzzle games listed at Home of the Underdogs[1], and was recommended by Ed Pegg Jr. of the Mathematics Association of America[2] and Tony Delgado of GameSetWatch[1]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Tony Delgado (January 1, 2007). COLUMN: 'Beyond Tetris' - Deadly Rooms of Death. GameSetWatch. Retrieved on 2010-07-03.
  2. Ed Pegg Jr. (June 16, 2005). Math Games: Deadly Rooms of Death. Retrieved on 2010-07-30.

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