Its time for the first ever Nostalgia Trip. While I’m actually too young to remember Nethack in all its command line glory, I have found myself playing it in recent years using a modern GUI that was made for the Mac. You can still get Nethack for the command line, of course, and I had to try it for comparison sake. I have to say, I love this game. I will admit though, I almost always play using the graphical version. Its not even that I really need the pictures. The pictures are nice and all, but its the movement in the original that drives me crazy. Why would I move with J,K,L, and ; when I could move with the arrow keys. I understand the reason for the original movement scheme, but still. Why not add a few lines of code to recognize the arrow keys and make movement logical. I have a hard enough time with left and right without having to worry about which letter they’re now mapped to.
But about Nethack. I love the fact that this is one of the few adventure games I’ve played where your character actually needs food. Not only that but there are a million different things in the game to find. Remember how much I said I liked achievements in my post about World of Warcraft? Yeah, take their like 10,000 and multiply it by a few more thousand and you’ve got how many different things there are to find and do in Nethack. I also really enjoy the references you get in the legendary or magic items. Like Sting from the Lord of the Rings. Or Mjollnir the hammer from Norse Mythology, the hammer of Thor. I almost always play a lawful human valkyrie, so I’m well acquainted with the hammer of Thor and with Excalibur. The one thing that makes me very sad is just how hard Nethack is. I’ve done the Dungeons of Doom, Sokobon and The Dwarven Mines and never gotten farther than Mine Town. I usually die much earlier. But the difficulty just makes it more interesting. Especially since every time you play all the items are randomly generated so you can’t just remember not to take a certain item.
And so, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. For being one of the first and best RPGs out there with a many mechanics that other games should learn to use, with limitless versions available so you can play however you want and a difficult enough game that it will almost certainly take you a long time to beat, I award Nethack with 4.5 out of 5 Hearts. Well done, Nethack.