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RPG Spotlight: NetHack


Okay, Okay, I know. NetHack is not exactly the most obscure RPG out there. Especially because whenever there is a list of "Most Influential RPGs" or whatnot, either NetHack or another Roguelike (or even Rogue itself) is on the list. However, how many of you have actually sat down and played it? If you're looking for a challenge, NetHack will definitely give you one.

The NetHack project has been around for ages, and the "pure" way of playing the game is in a console window. Various ASCII symbols are used to represent everything around you, and the main point of the game is to get to the bottom of the dungeon and escape with the Amulet of Yendor. Gripping plot, I assure you. However, there are so many things to do, and so many different character combinations to work with, that it's always a blast. I could not possibly go into detail about everything you can do in NetHack. (PROTIP: Kicking sinks can often lead to hot lovin' with a succubus.)

No, this isn't an excerpt from LUELinks.

When starting, you can either pick all of your character choices, or have the game randomly roll one for you. Upon my first random roll, I was given a tourist as a character, which starts with a load of food, and a camera that can blind enemies, but very little fighting power. I was dead before reaching Lv 2. The key point to remember is that if you try to do something stupid, it'll probably come back to bite you. Kicking walls is a good way to open secret passages, but it's also a good way to injure yourself. Also, as I found out, it's probably not a good idea to eat dead monsters if they've been laying around for a while.

And people think the E. Coli problems are bad...

The basic version of NetHack comes with both the console version, and the slightly more graphical version shown above. The graphical version is slightly easier to keep track of everything with, as it is probably easier to read. For those of you who need something shinier, another project called Vulture's Eye takes the NetHack engine and gives it a coat of isometric paint.

It's like Diablo, but...without the mousebreaking clicking!

The best thing is that NetHack is freely available for download without the need for an eyepatch, parrot, or other such piratey gear.
NetHack: http://www.nethack.org/v343/downloads.html
Vulture's Eye: http://www.darkarts.co.za/project/vultures/download

That's it for this edition of the RPG Spotlight. If you have any suggestions for future ones, let me know, because if it's not obvious by the fact that I ended up picking NetHack, I'm low on ideas at the moment.
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About Shawn Kelfonneone of us since 8:13 PM on 01.05.2007

Well, let's see, I've got a ridiculously sized game collection, spanning from Coleco to Wii, with much of what's in between. The Super Nintendo was the height of awesome for me, and I still break it out once in a while to relive those memories.

I'm also a fairly big RPG nut, recently been playing WoW, may god have mercy on my soul.

I've got all three "current-gen" systems, and love them all for various reasons.

Currently playing:
Rock Band 2(360)

Ohshi- Avatar:

RPG Spotlight:
SuperHero League of Hoboken
Anvil of Dawn
Vampire:The Masquerade:Bloodlines
Arcanum:Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura
Dragon Wars

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