6 - Dungeon Crawl (PC)

My favourite Roguelike, Dungeon Crawl (specifically the tiles version) jettisons so much baggage that it makes even other Roguelikes look flabby. The premise is as simple as they come: Descend into a dungeon and kill things while searching for the Orb of Zot. There isn't even so much as a town, or any shops along the way, and it makes no concessions to sidequests.

One of the many things I love about Crawl is the persistent levels. Everywhere you've been remains intact when you return, so heading back upwards for a breather isn't a proposition filled with uncertainty. There's a great religion system at work in the game, and after a few levels the player gets to choose which deity to follow. Performing certain actions while praying can incur the wrath or favour of these deities, and each one offers a number of abilities and bonuses - if you keep them sweet.

It's also famously difficult, in fact it's fair to say that the game takes a great deal of pleasure in sending your characters into the afterlife as often and brutally as possible. But you still come back for more. I get wildly excited if a character of mine gets down to double-digit levels in the dungeon.

The tiles version benefits from (obviously) the nice graphical tileset and even mouse control - though it's best to save the mouse for inventory management.

Dungeon Crawl is really a case of wearing the name that fits. It doesn't have any pretention, it just does what it does perfectly. I find it more engrossing and fun than almost any RPG I've played.

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