Finished Diablo

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Matt Barton's picture

I finally managed to beat the original Diablo after a few weeks of off-and-on playing. I chose to play as a warrior, which probably wasn't the best choice since so much of the latter game is dealing with ranged attacks (warriors are up close and personal). Nevertheless, I was able to prevail, and by the time I finally got to Diablo, I was able to kill him in a few seconds.

Overall, I must admit I don't understand why this game was so massively successful. It's not bad, but became fairly repetitive, and the leveling process was pretty basic (pump a few points into strength, dex, etc.) The "clickfest" aspect of the game wasn't as bad as I was led to believe, but I did have to do a LOT of clicking to kill all those monsters. I would have much preferred a way to automate this, just attacking whatever attacked me by default (can see why Dungeon Siege went that way). The levels were pretty drab as well, though it was nice getting at least some variety (caves, hell, etc.) The best part of the game was the music, which was always several notches better than I've heard in most games.

It's funny to think such a simple game could have revolutionized PC gaming, but I guess I'm looking at it from a different perspective. No doubt, this sort of thing would have been a blast for people who had never played CRPGs. It's definitely more action-oriented than most CRPGs I can think of, though as I mention in my book, there were precursors. Again, though, I'm tempted to say the reason it was so popular was that it was simple enough that even a dolt could "get it." It boggles my mind why someone would prefer this sort of game to Baldur's Gate, but there you have it. Are people just too stupid to appreciate something that requires some actual thought?

Apparently so! For Diablo II is admittedly much more sophisticated, with that cool branching-tree leveling system I admire so much. I'm really looking forward to playing it next. Hopefully it will be much more fun than Diablo.

So, in summary, the reason I think Diablo was so popular was that it was so simple that even a complete novice could play it effortlessly. It also had a very dark and gritty (even Satanic) theme that would have appealed to people fed up with cutesy JRPGs. The "action" elements also help keep you immersed--after all, if you let up for even a few moments, your character will be overwhelmed and die. Even the "idiocy" of all that clicking at least makes you feel directly responsible for the character.

A few other thoughts--it's been most often compared to Rogue, but I actually see a strong connection to Gauntlet. Indeed, you could almost hear "Blue wizard is about to die!" at times. Also, it's funny how two of the biggest PC games of the 1990s--Doom and Diablo--were both steeped in Satanic imagery and were over-the-top violent. Coincidence? I was trying to figure out what else was going on historically at that time that may have been relevant. Not really seeing anything...But maybe these themes were carry-overs from the music scene; bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest (both heavily loaded with religious themes) were not nearly as popular as they had been in the 1980s, but maybe they had influenced the developers?


Mark Vergeer
Mark Vergeer's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
The dark powers were trying

I guess the names Doom & Diablo sort of give it away. The basic theme of both games is pretty gritty and for some reason the first really was a huge hit. Probably because of the level of realism and game play and not necessarily the dark theme. Some people think a dark theme for a game is more interesting. It surely induces more angst and fear and tension. Perhaps the developers were really into 'dark music'. But 'dark music' has been around for ages, it is just a part of culture and some like it and some don't. Perhaps we should ask the Doom developers what type of music they like ?

Have a nice thanksgiving by the way!

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Rowdy Rob
Rowdy Rob's picture
Joined: 09/04/2006

I enjoyed Diablo quite a bit, but never completed it. I did complete Doom, however.

I think Diablo is approachable, almost like a mouse-based arcade game, more "Gauntlet" than "Wizardry." You're not really "role playing" so much as running around killing monsters and leveling up. It does a good job of keeping the adrenaline pumping.

The "demonic" aspect of these games (Doom and Diablo) is certainly to pump up the adrenaline aspect. What could be scarier than going to Hell? Not only do you beat the game, but you conquer (to some aspect) your fears as well.

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GeneralDebacle (not verified)

I believe it made such a splash because....there was hardly anything else!

It came out right at the end of a dead zone, where most of the stuff was downright garbage in the RPG area, not to mention it sucked in many players who previously didn't like RPG's anyway...I found it ok back in the day, I wouldn't touch it these days nor any of the spinoff games.

As others have stated, the level designs, music, etc lend to the "Hellish" aspect of the game. I bought it during a severe downturn in good RPG's.

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