Mackscrane, the Great Demon, has stolen the Chalice of Binding and hidden it deep within the Dunjunz. Four fearless adventurers must risk their lives to save the chalice and the world.
This is the arcade/adventure game to top them all. It is based around a dungeons and dragons type scenario in which up to four players compete simultaneously. This is achieved by dividing the screen into four action windows, all looking into the same dungeon and each showing the progress of one particular adventurer.
This system enables groups of players to explore the dungeon as a fighting unit, protecting each other against attack by the guards, increasing their firepower when destroying objects, or even killing each other.
The adventurers come in four guises: The Ranger uses a magic bow, the Wizard is hot stuff with a fireball, the Barbarian is an axe-wielding maniac and the Warrior is a mean swordswoman. The weapons all have different attack values - the higher the value the greater the damage inflicted with each blow.
This value is increased if the adventurer locates the magic sword or a pile of weapons. Similarly each character's armour has different values: The Warrior's chain mail and shield offer great protection from most blows, but not so the Ranger's robe which is of little defence against the guards' attack.
A game such as this would not be complete without a smattering of magic, so both the Wizard and the Ranger are endowed with mystical powers. These manifest themselves in smart bomb fashion, destroying every guard on the screen when a certain key is pressed.The Wizard expends a great deal of energy in casting a spell, while the Ranger's energy value remains mysteriously unaffected.
As well as the obligatory treasure chests, the dungeon is littered with magical objects and keys. Keys will open doors to new area of the dungeon, and eating food boosts your energy rating by 10 points, up to a maximum of 99.
Not all objects you discover are beneficial. For example, the dungeon is riddled with trapdoors from which new guards appear to replace their dead comrades.
Most dangerous of all are the energy drainers, innocent-looking squares which relieve you of 20 energy points when touched and are sometimes used to bar your way to a new section of dungeon.
Drainers can be destroyed by multiple blows from a weapon but great care must be taken as they have a defence mechanism which reflects a weapon back on the attacker.
When I first played the game I was under the impression that I had to collect all the treasure on a level before I could jump through the trapdoor to level two. This is not so: If you want, you and your three comrades can exit level one in under 30 seconds. However, in doing so you would pass up the opportunity of improving weapon and armour ratings.
Dunjunz comes with 25 different levels, each loaded individually from tape as required. This may sound tedious, but each level takes only five seconds to load.
Loading occurs automatically when all surviving characters have jumped through the exit trapdoor. It is only necessary for one adventurer to survive to progress to the next level.
Once loaded, all dead character are reincarnated with a full bill of health but with only the default values for weapons and armour. A surviving character is restored to full strength.
A save game option would have been appreciated, as you are unlikely to fight your way through all 25 levels in a single session.
Ignoring the problem of cramming four people into an area of three square feet, there is no denying that Dunjunz is a stunning piece of programming. The action is smooth and fast, and the levels tortuously difficult. This game will sell and sell.