This 20-Year Old Roguelike Will Soon Introduce Itself To A New Generation

This 20-Year Old Roguelike Will Soon Introduce Itself To A New Generation

My last game of Ancients Domains of Mystery, better known as ADOM, ended with my character surrounded by fast-reproducing oozes as he prayed, unsuccessfully, to the chaos gods. Even though this sad moment transpired many, many years ago, I remember it vividly — ADOM was one of a few games that inspired me to get into games development and build endless roguelikes of my own in QBASIC. So understandably, I’m happy its graphical reboot is kicking goals on Greenlight.

Like most roguelikes, Thomas Biskup’s ADOM is a fairly brutal experience, where progress is measured, paradoxically, in your willingness to start again with a fresh character. Can I enter this location without a fireproof blanket? Does this dungeon really go on forever? What is this damnable “Si” thing in my inventory and how can I get rid of it?

And just how many of these oozes are there?

It’s also presented in glorious ASCII, leaving it up to your imagination to fill the gaps. This isn’t the case with the reboot, which features a cartoon-flavoured tile set. It’s not one I’m enamoured by — in fact I think it does the game a disservice — but I’m sure it’s appealing to the right crowd, judging by its Greenlight success.

Speaking of Greenlight, the game is a certainty to make it onto Steam when Valve does its next round of approvals, having recently breached the system’s top 10.

I wish the game all the best but something has definitely been lost in the translation from this:

To this:

Either that, or I’m getting old.

ADOM (Ancient Domains Of Mystery) [Steam Greenlight, via Rock, Paper, Shotgun]


  • I gave this a go this morning, and I really don’t mind it. My first ADOM experience, and it is definitely a decent rougelike game. If you really want it without the graphics, those builds are available from the website.

    It won’t replace Dungeon CrawlStone Soup as my go to death simulator, but I’m sure to lose several hours in it.

  • Looks pretty good, my only concern is that when games like these use large tile graphics you lose the ability to see large sections of the map at once which can be really useful.

    It’s why I never play the Vulture version of Nethack.

  • You can turn noteye off, or download a version without it from their site. Glorious ASCII again if that’s what turns you on.

  • ADOM is probably my favourite roguelike ever. I played it to death years ago, really glad to see it’s coming up again for another generation of gamers.

  • While I do prefer ASCII mode, I have to say ADoM’s new graphics are probably the only set of graphical tiles for an originally-ASCII roguelike that don’t make me vomit and run in terror on sight.

    Seriously, why is it that 99% of roguelikes with a graphical tiles option have terrible, terrible graphics? And I don’t mean “primitive” graphics–a roguelike that looked like its graphics came from an NES game, or even something like Space Invaders with little one-color sprites on black background, would be just fine!–but objectively bad. Everything looking too similar because the sprites are just too damn small to see what anything is with the level of color/detail they tried to jam into them, and just not appealing at all.

    And being truly optional, rather than fused into the overall system of the game so that graphical bits ooze into your game even if you want text-only mode (*glares death at ToME 4*), definitely helps.

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