Diablo – Tristram (Matt Uelmen)

Ah, here goes. A genre-defining game. When Diablo was released by Blizzard almost 11 years ago, people went insane. The reception was similar to Quake – the game was so good, so surprising and new, that you just remained overwhelmed. 1996 was a great year for gaming, now that I think of it. Everyone wanted to play Diablo. It’s a cross-over between a rpg and traditional hack’n’slash game. But, as it later turns out to be something Blizzard will be famous of, the game was extremely well polished. They took concepts from several games, refined them, added this 5% of value, put them together, and they’ve created a game noone can really top to this day (except for its sequels, Diablo II and soon-to-be-released Diablo III).

The story of the game is… well, guess? You arrive in the city, and it turns out something went very wrong deep down, and a terrible monster came to life, threating life of thousands. You, my hero, have to put an end to it. Simple as that. You can play as a warrior, rogue or sorcerer, each dealing the damage in different way (melee, ranged, magic) and having different characteristics. You had to pass through 16 (I think) dungeon levels, fightining terrible monsters and collecting powerful gear to finally reach Diablo and undo him. There was a lot of things to crave. Enahnce your stats. Find unique items to brag about in your friends group. Looking for different potions, healing you or aiding in some way. Finally, collecting money, to afford things local sellers could offer you. But Diablo also had this quite suprising background in form of a story. There were several people in the village and each had his/her own past, which would unfold later in the game. You had this feeling, that it’s not just kill-and-collect-reward quest. You would discover many ancient arcane secrets about the place, but also some dark details about the past. The thread od mystery and uncertainty was all around you all the time, leaving you in constant doubt and unrest. Even the ending could be confusing – it’s not something you would expect.

Diablo II built on the success of his older brother. The game was everything everyone expected plus that another 10% of pure awesomeness. We’re very close to Diablo III now and the bar is set extremely high this time. But Blizzard, so far, never disappointed.

Another hallmark of that studio is to put great effort in surroundings – and that leads us to music. The main theme of the Tristram city is probably the one that is most widely recognized. Deep down in dungeons, the music was more ambient, more dark, less melodic – fitting the theme perfectly, but not staying in your memory. But once you went back to the city, the soothing instruments were always there to remind you, that this place is – for now – safe. Back then, I remember recording it on tape and playing during RPG sessions.

More about Diablo –


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