Diablo is an isometric top-down dungeon crawler action-RPG with a demonic Gothic theme. It was developed by Blizzard North and published by Blizzard Entertainment and released for Windows on 1996-12-31 and later ported to Macintosh and PlayStation. It is the first game in the Diablo series. An expansion called "Hellfire" was released in 1997 which added more content.
I first saw Diablo at a friend's house in 1996 or 1997. I think it was the demo version, but I'm not sure. He made a warrior and got to the Butcher before being killed and unable to proceed. In 1997, a my friend Eric and I pooled our money to buy Diablo and swapped the CD between us every few days. After he beat the game, he got bored with it and sold me his half. I still have the original game to this day.
I own this game for Windows and have beaten it as a warrior, rogue, and sorcerer. I've also beaten the Hellfire expansion as a monk (though I don't own it).
Best Version: Windows
— This section contains spoilers! —
- Ignoring the cheats and exploits, the game engine is pretty solid.
- The monster AI is varied and interesting allowing for different tactics. Fallen Ones can be scared away if they see you kill a monster, scavengers can be delayed by making corpses for them to eat, etc.
- Matt Uelmen's ambient music is creepy and the town music is quite nice. Good sound effects too.
- The palette is nicely dark and foreboding fitting the mood of the game.
- The prefix/suffix system for items and dungeon randomizer allows for a lot of replay value.
- The dungeon generator changes based on the various environments of the game.
- I like how you can start a new game, but keep all your character's stats.
- The game has a great manual.
- The graphics for the default playable classes include a woman and a black man.
- The story is pretty typical.
- The pre-rendered 3D graphics are a bit washed-out looking. I would have preferred hand-drawn sprites.
- Once you've explored the town and find it has little to offer, it becomes tedious to navigate. The patch which speeds the player up is very helpful.
- Like many games that use a prefix/suffix approach to items, the vast majority of them are unwanted, wasting your time.
- The Witch monster set was shamelessly targeted for teen male gamers. She's topless with enormous breasts, wears a g-string and leather boots, and, when she dies, she moans and falls into a doggy-style position.
- The environments in the cut-scene animations are sparsely decorated and don't look very real.
- Farnham and Gillian offer only backstory. They don't give quests or clues.
- The map generation is a little too random, sometimes placing doors where they're unneeded, creating long dead-ends, or making numerous rooms with nothing in them.
- There is a lot of recorded dialog for NPCs to talk about quests, but almost all of it is unimportant and wastes your time.
- The graphics for the stream in Tristram look terrible.
- The later levels become an exercise in tedium for the warrior. A large portion of the enemies shoot projectiles at you and, when you try to near, they run or teleport away. The game's weak follow algorithm makes things worse by often failing to take you in the most direct path, giving them time to escape.
- Battle.net has been shutdown for Diablo, and, when it was available it was horribly broken with cheating. You could only safely play in password-protected games with friends.
Hellfire is an expansion for Diablo developed by Synergistic Software and published by Sierra On-Line in 1997 for Windows. The expansion adds the monk class, two new dungeons (hive and crypt) each with new monsters and quests, new items (oils and traps), new spells, and new prefixes/suffixes. The expansion was supposed to add two more classes (barbarian and bard), but they were scrapped before the game was released. However, with a little configuration modification, they can be unlocked (but without new character artwork).
I don't like the hive dungeon, as it seemed too insect/alien which I don't think fits with the demonic fantasy vibe of Diablo. The crypt was more fitting, but the lich monster class made it extremely annoying.