Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dungeons: A Visual Essay

Sympathize with the dungeon, for you are to it as pathogenic microns are to you. You were both built for a purpose, and as you subvert its own with torch and 10-foot pole, something inside you beats its flagellum ceaselessly down your corridors. Your chambers are well stocked with white monsters and glandular death traps, but the DM of Evolution has printed out a whole stack of character sheets.
There are five stories of cathedral below the cooled lava surrounding this church in Mexico. Dungeons are undead structures - they had a purpose in life but it died with them. Only echoes of it remain, but they lumber on, taking on new purposes and new inhabitants. A dungeon is a corpse, and corpses teem with new life.
(Very Large Image Alert) In Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which I call the Platonic Idea Dungeon, that previous life is readily apparent. Dracula was obviously a living man in this castle, or some form of it, once. In undeath, he's taken his armies, his staff, his court and even his fallen foes with him.

Of course, SoTN was merely putting the Castlevania aesthetic on Metroid's structure. Super Metroid may be the better dungeon, depending on your taste. While I don't quite count it because it's still serving it's original purpose - it's a base for the Space Pirates and there they are, basing themselves in it - it's still a great design.

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