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Published on January 22nd, 2003 | by Matt Haberfeld

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Diablo

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Role-Playing
Platform: PC
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
Release Date: 11/30/1996

What is Diablo?

Diablo is called an “action RPG” by many people because it contains elements of both types of genre. Diablo has an isometric view (a top down view that is tilted about 20 degrees) similar to X-COM UFO Defense or Simcity 2000. It is very easy to learn how to play and is quite addictive. You can also play with up to 4 players on Battle.net, Blizzard’s free online game servers.

What does this game do well?

This game is one of my favorites, although it is a bit outdated. Diablo is a lootwhore’s dream, with countless items and gold pieces to collect and all sorts of monsters to kill. It is very easy to learn and very addictive. If you liked games like Gauntlet, then you will love this game, although there is a portion of the population that finds these games to be repetitive and boring. So if you thought Gauntlet was stupid, you were warned!

The best part about Diablo is the item generator. Actually it is one of the best item generators in any game. When a monster dies, an item is generated with up to 1 prefix and up to 1 suffix. So you can get a sword, or you can get a burning sword, or you can get a burning sword of the heavens. Each prefix or suffix contains a range of modifiers for the item, so there are hundreds of thousands of items available to the Diablo player from a list of a few hundred input strings.

The other great part about Diablo is the mood of the game. The music and the graphics really pull you into the Diablo game world. The bodies of fallen monsters stay on the ground and there is blood splattered on the walls. It is very dark and creepy sometimes, which really immerses you into the game. I’ve gone many a night without eating dinner because I lost track of time while playing.

What new and innovative ideas are implemented in this game?

One of the really neat things about Diablo is that whatever weapon you are using on your character shows up. So if you are using a sword, then your character has a sword, but if you are using an axe, then your character looks like he is swinging an axe. The armor you wear also makes you look different, if you wearing rags or leather you look different than if you are wearing chain mail. Although it sounds obvious, previous games did not have this ability.

Diablo was also one of the first games to have randomly generated dungeons, which greatly increased the replay value.

What could this game have done better?

Cheating:
The one downside of this game (and it’s a big downside) is cheating. Cheats are available in all shapes and sizes and they completely ruined Diablo as a game. There are hacks where you can get all the spells and max out your skills, there are hacked items that have maximum stats and there’s even a cheat that lets you kill other players in town, where there is supposed to be no fighting. Cheating really ruined this game, so if you want to play legit games, you have to play with people you know and trust. This really is not Blizzard’s fault, Diablo was one of the first games be so popular that people were willing to take the time to hack it. There was not much in the way of cheat protection because very few games existed that were popular enough to develop a character trainer or other hacking tool. The lack of cheat protection was just naive innocence really.

One of the other big problems is that all your items fall to the ground when you die, so anyone can come by and pick up all your best stuff. When Diablo was released, no one had any idea how popular it would be, so the designers didn’t think that protecting your equipment would be a big deal. This was fixed in Diablo II thankfully.

Should I buy this game?

This game is a little old now, and there is already a Diablo II out, but the original Diablo has a charm all its own. If you have a couple friends and are looking for a neat little game that runs on old computers, this would be an excellent choice. If you have a newer computer, you might want to give Diablo II and chance, although you will experience the same problem with cheaters. This game would be enjoyed most by people that liked games like Gauntlet and Doom.

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