One of the core features of roguelike games is the notion of “permanent consequences” – when you fail something bad is going to happen to your character that can’t be undone by simply going back to a savepoint. Usually roguelike games favor a specific permanent consequence: Death.
Yes, you heard right: When your character dies, (s)he’s gone. Forever. Including any treasures found, experience levels gained and skills acquired.
Sounds tough? It is. Roguelike games are for players who aren’t afraid of challenges.
“I no longer have the time to fail and completely restart games” is a response roguelike designers occasionally get to here. But we promise: While dying might seem tough, it’s actually a lot of fun in roguelikes. Because in your next game you will be able to re-use everything you learned and still play it a (mostly?) randomly generated completely new environment. Which guarantees that there is very little tedium and you instead can live through new exciting adventures. And don’t need to learn a completely new game system. Additionally will start joying this particular flavor of gaming because every action in the game turns into a much more exciting adrenaline-charged experience. Every move potentially can be your last – and as roguelike games usually are turn-based instead of real-time they tease you with having enough time for good choices… and then still killing you mercilessly. But with taste and joy!
Good roguelike games also don’t kill you randomly – they kill you if you act stupidly. And they will help you to learn improving your tactics. As a bonus good roguelike games will try to occasionally kill you in a funny way. Some samples from ADOM are:
- Get killed by equipping iron items as a mist elf
- Death ray yourself with a spell or wand of wonder
- Turn into a chaos being due to corruption
- Get killed when trying to combine the forces of chaos and law
- Get frozen by an ice storm
- Break your leg while kicking a wall
- Get your head smashed in by falling stone door
- Get digested by a giant slug
- Get killed by an exploding fluff ball
- Get petrified by a gorgon’s breath
- Turn into an undead
- Break your leg kicking the air
- Get killed by a maggot erupting from your skin
- Get shredded by an overloaded wand
- Get shot with a thrown coin
- Choke on your own vomit
- Get drained of all substance
For Ultimate ADOM we’ll be going to push these limits even further… or special features like allowing you to swap minds with other beings could make you end up in the body of a slug making for an excellent dish on some others monsters palate. Or slowly be amputated bodypart by bodypart. Or being slaughtered by an animated (and agitated!) door. Or falling victim to a “Bouncing Ray of Dismemberment” spell you yourself cast. And dozens of other new ways to learn from dying. Including after falling down a stairway.