Tunnels of Doom

Tunnels of Doom

Tunnels of Doom is a computer game programmed by Kevin Kenney in 1982 for the TI-99/4A computer system. Tunnels of Doom is consistently listed by TI-99/4A fans as one of the top games available for the system.

The game is one of the first graphical computer role-playing games (CRPGs). Based loosely on the pencil-and-paper role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, it is a standard dungeon crawl adventure in which a player or number of players controlled the fates of 1–4 characters as they journey into the depths of the Tunnels of Doom. Despite the lack of a progressive storyline, it possesses many elements duplicated by other, later CRPGs.

The features of the game included:

  • Control of up to characters, renamed to the players' wishes. Alternatively, four players could each control a character during the combat encounters.
  • Four character classes — fighter, rogue, wizard for games started with 2–4 characters, while the "hero" class is also available for games starting with one character only.
  • An encounter area that uses turn-based combat sequences.
  • A dungeon crawl through various dungeon rooms in 3D, with an auto-map display.
  • A display of all of the characters' health and damage which can be monitored in combat.
  • A variety of monsters which grow progressively more difficult as the characters move through the dungeon.
  • The ability to listen for monsters at a door before deciding to open it.
  • Random encounters with monsters.
  • A variety of weapons and armor purchased at stores within the dungeon or picked up as treasure.
  • A variety of magical treasures, which the players must figure out how to use.
  • Characters that are killed remain part of the group. Dead characters can still perform (or be made to perform) certain tasks including holding weapons and drinking from fountains.
  • Fountains on each level. Characters can drink from fountains. The 'water' can increase or decrease a players total hit points, health, luck, etc.
  • Ten difficulty levels. The higher the number, the more powerful the creatures.
  • A lost king and his orb. Find the king and his orb and return them to the surface to win. Both the king and orb have to be found within a certain number of turns, or they will be destroyed. Once the king is found, the players will be attacked in the hallways by wandering creatures. Also included is an 'easy' quest called 'Pennies and Prizes,' with no monsters or traps.

The music for Tunnels of Doom was composed by Hank Mishkoff, a TI programmer who also wrote the music for the TI-99/4 Demonstration program and other early TI-99/4 programs. Mishkoff originally created the music for The Attack, an earlier program; however, TI rejected the composition for that game, using it with Tunnels of Doom instead.

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