Tales of the Rampant Coyote

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The original Diablo is available at GOG.com

Posted by Rampant Coyote on March 26, 2019

Diablo 1 is now on GOG.com. It’s $10, so it’s not exactly super-cheap, but compared to the trouble I went through getting Diablo to install and run on my last computer (requiring some downloaded mods just to get it *mostly* working), it could be worth it to you.

Diablo 1 at GOG.com

Why bother? Blizzard hasn’t supported it in ages. There have been many, many, maaaany games that have built upon this formula since its release over 20 years ago, and have improved upon it significantly. Frankly, I played a LOT more Diablo II than the original game over the years, which was pretty objectively a better game, and that one is also extremely long in the tooth. So why should anyone be interested in Diablo, apart from historical curiosity?

For me, the answer is in the mood and theme of the game. Diablo II didn’t have it, in the name of providing a greater variety of content. The Gothic horror of Diablo 1 was present in its sounds, music, graphics, and even the font. The artwork would grow more cartoony in subsequent releases, lacking the stark, CGI-rendered, and admittedly overly dark images of the first offering. Since then, of the “Diablo-style” games out there, the only one that comes close to really capturing that flavor for me has been Grim Dawn. There may be others I have missed, but that one is the one that felt closest to the original Diablo, at least in style and feel.

However, another aspect of Diablo that I think most of its spiritual and literal descendants have tried to avoid is the good old-fashioned dungeon crawl. At some point in Diablo’s development, it was envisioned as a turn-based game. Yeah, much closer to a traditional Roguelike. While the style of “Diablo-like” games have kind of evolved from there, it’s interesting from a game design perspective seeing what they did when they didn’t have a tried-and-true blueprint to work with.

And that’s another reason for my own interest in playing the game. I like seeing how these games evolved. What got lost, what was kept. If you are interested in this, I recommend the book, “Stay A While, And Listen” by David Craddock. It tells a lot of the story behind Blizzard North and their creation of the legendary game.

But on the most bottom of bottom lines… as much as spiritual successors like Grim Dawn or Torchlight 2 might provide a superior overall experience, the original Diablo is still a great deal of fun.

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