I’ve been making notes toward this writeup for some time now, but the disaster of Blizzard’s announcement of Diablo: Immortal prompted me to hurry it up a bit. I’m sure that Diablo fans need it!
If you’re a Diablo fan and haven’t played the Diablo 1 HD mod, you have a total delight in store. It’s an amazingly detailed and enormously expanded version of Diablo 1, updated for modern displays and Windows versions. It’s also rebalanced to make it effectively more than four times bigger than the original Diablo 1.
Oh, the mod is also named Belzebub (sp). I’m going to call it Belzebub below to avoid confusion. But it is, in truth, the original Diablo 1 game - with huge improvements.
The graphics are, of course, the originals. They look a bit better, but they’re still not anything close to modern. But it wasn’t amazing graphics that made Diablo 1 a genre-creating game anyway. Unlike Diablo 1, Belzebub will run on Windows 10 (and Windows XP, and everything between those OSes). You can set it to as high as 1920 x 1080 resolution, allowing you to see a much larger area of the game. You can also zoom in and out within a large range by using your mouse’s scroll button.
Now let’s talk about gameplay improvements.
Storage has been enormously improved. Your own character’s storage is still the same with 40 individual slots. But you now have a private stash in the village which contains 50 tabs with 100 slot each - 10 x 10, for a total of 5,000 slots!
What’s more, you also have a trade stash. This is ten tabs of 100 slots each. It works like normal storage, except it can be accessed by any character that has been run on the same system. In other words, you can effortlessly trade items between your characters.
Items in these storage containers are saved with the game. You can exit and come back later, and they will still be there. There’s also an additional storage option, but that’s connected to Crafting. I’ll discuss that later on.
Gold has also been made much more convenient. Rather than being limited to 5,000 gold per slot, the limit is now a million gold per slot. You can also put gold in your private and trading stashes. If my math is correct, that means that you can have a total of - wait for it - 6,400,000,000 gold - that’s over six billion!
Installation is a breeze. All it takes is copying the files to a drive, and running the Belzebub executable. Make a shortcut to the executable, if you want, and you’re good to go. The total size is 560MB. That’s not a typo. Five hundred and sixty megabytes. And you won’t need the Diablo 1 CD to play the game.
There are several places that you can download the game. You can Google “Diablo 1 HD mod Belzebub”, or just use these links:
The mod files can be downloaded here: https://diablo-hd-belzebub.en.uptodown.com/windows
Make a new folder (I call mine Diablo 1 HD Mod) and unzip the files into that. Also download the DIABDAT.MPQ file here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0GjgCzh8BBgTVpXU3NIbVdtNlE/view and put the DIABDAT.MPQ file into the same folder as the other files. It makes a Diablo 1 CD unnecessary.
Saving has changed. It’s no longer a snapshot of the second that you saved; rather, it saves when you exit. Waypoints that you’ve opened will remain open, but levels will be re-generated and re-stocked with monsters. So it’s now the same as Diablo 2, in that regard.
Oh, I’ve heard that Multiplayer play is possible over a LAN, but I haven’t had a chance to try that yet.
Character classes have been expanded. You can play the original Warrior, Rogue, and Sorcerer classes, but now you can also play a Barbarian, Necromancer, or Assassin. I should note that I’ve only played a Sorcerer so far, so I can’t yet provide class-specific tips for the other categories.
Skills have been fixed and expanded to increase class differentiation. The Repair skill of the Warrior and the Recharge skill of the Sorcerer have been made actually useful, by making them only have a chance of success, but without the risk of reducing the maximum durability or charges of the item. Better still, new character-specific skills have been added, for a total of five per class. I’ve only played a sorcerer so far, so I can’t talk about the skills of the other classes yet. But in addition to Staff Recharge, Sorcerers now have access to Elemental Drain (which temporarily increases your ability to penetrate resistances and immunities), Mana Shield (which is no longer a spell, but acts as one), Etherealize (reducing the damage you take for a short time), and Temporal Slowdown - which slows down the rest of the world for a short period, from your perspective. Mana Shield also no longer goes down when mana reaches zero; if you restore mana with a potion before all your hit points are gone, further damage will go against the mana again.
Permanent effects have been fixed. Remember the shrines and cauldrons that could ruin your character forever by reducing maximum mana? Those are now timed, temporary effects. They can be canceled by simply clicking on an icon in the upper right corner. On the downside, characteristic-increasing potions have also been nerfed. They work for nine minutes, and don’t stack. But to balance that out, the permanent hit point reduction cause by the Black Death zombies has been eliminated.
Spells have been greatly increased. There are now six levels of spell with seven spells in each level. In addition to the old familiar spells, there are new spells based on Diablo II spells - including cold spells, more area-effect spells, and convenient new spells such as Warp, which teleports you to the nearest entry or exit point within range.
One spell has been seriously nerfed: Stone Curse. It now has only a chance of turning a target to stone, and can be resisted. What’s more, if it’s successful the target gains a very high damage resistance while it’s petrified. That makes it more a spell for crowd control, rather than the ultimate spell that it was in Diablo 1.
Waypoints have been inserted from Diablo 2. There are still the usual 16 levels, but there are now waypoints on every second level. That’s Cathedral levels 2 and 4, Crypts 6 and 8, Caves 10 and 12, and Hell 14 and 16. The Waypoints must be activated just as with Diablo 2, of course.
Quests which were planned for the original Diablo 1 but were deleted before release have now been completed and implemented. They include two village-based quests, as well as quite a few additional quests underground. Some of these take you to new areas which are effectively areas in themselves. For example, the Butcher is no longer in the usual room; once you’re there, you have to find a way to get to the Butcher’s lair, which is filled with a lot more demons before you get to the Butcher himself.
There are two quests which require a bit of explanation. An Arcane Sanctuary quest has been added to the Crypts; you reach it when you find three Ancient Tomes in two squares and a rectangle. There’s also a quest in the caves which requires you to stand on four stones in the correct order. A hint: it’s always best to consider what’s new, or what’s snew!
Bosses and mini-bosses are now much more difficult. They tend to have more resistances and to be generally much tougher; it’s no longer practical to just spam a mouse button. Strategy is necessary. For example, the Valor quest is much as it was before, except that the end boss is a killer. He’s not just more powerful; he actually uses spells such as Firewall against you, too.
Death has become less painful. That’s good, because you’re likely to die much more often - or at least, I did. Rather than dropping your equipped gear, you simply drop some gold when you die; a substantial enough amount to hurt, but at least you come back with all your gear!
Items have enormously increased in both number and variety. Again, this seems to be based on Diablo 2. There are set items which show in green; so far these all seem to be the same as in D2. There are uniques, and rares, with prefixes and suffixes. Many items have quite a few properties! Qualities which were once given in absolutes or with a limited number of possibilities now have their improvements listed as percentages, which vary quite a lot. For example, hit recovery speed is now a percentage, and can be increased by multiple equipped items at once. The same is true for speed of attack.
There are also items which can increase Spellpower. These generally increase damage for all spells by a percentage. Items which increase spell levels (either for individual spells, all spells, or both) also still exist.
Tristram itself has changed a bit. There’s a couple of new NPCs, including one from Diablo 2. NPC locations have been made a bit more convenient (especially Wirt), and more characters give quests now. Vocals seem to have been recorded for the reinstated quests when D1 was created, so you can hear some interesting new comments from old favorites. As I mentioned earlier, there are some quests which are now village-based.
One thing that seems minor, but that really makes a difference is NPC movement. Some NPCs still stay in place, but others now move around the village; they seem to be talking with each other. It gives the village a more real feeling, somehow.
Refreshment has been added at Adria’s. Just as Peppin the healer will heal you for free, Adria apparently offers free drinks; these restore your mana to full. It’s a nice idea.
Crafting is a major addition. It’s not quite like crafting in D2 or D3. It can only be started once you’ve successfully completed the Anvil of Fury quest. The Anvil is then set up next to Griswold’s forge. You can use it to Salvage magic items that you don’t want to sell (including items which have zero value - they generally don’t produce much, but they will produce something of value), creating gems, oils, tokens, and symbols. At about the same time that you finish that quest, you’ll start finding recipes occasionally among treasure. They look like scrolls, but they are listed in orange text. These are learned by simply right-clicking on them once they’re in your inventory. Once you’ve learned a recipe, it disappears - but you now know the recipe permanently.
Using the Anvil you can put ingredients and items together to create powerful new class-specific items. Recipes include random powers along with specified ones, so you can redo a recipe if you don’t like the result. There are higher levels of recipe which produce more powerful items, but these are only available in higher difficulties!
Oh, one more tip: the area of the Anvil where the gems/oils/tokens appear from salvaged magic items is another durable storage area. The items in it persist from game to game.
Difficulties have been increased by one: there’s now Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Torment. However those levels are seamless. Difficulty has been rescaled, making the higher levels feel more like extensions of the whole game. There are many items, spells, and skills that you can’t attain in Normal. That makes the game itself feel more than four times bigger!
To get specific for a moment, Golems have been changed a bit. They don’t seem to be quite as aggressive any more, and they’re less liable to open doors on their own. They’re not affected by attack spells, although they can still be injured and destroyed by standing in firewalls or lightning walls. They can be healed with Heal Other, which is handy.
One drawback to golems is that sometimes they can block a doorway or narrow space. If you move towards them, however, they move a little away from you and you can get through.
Although the game has been enhanced to a remarkable degree - it’s really impressive - it’s still the original Diablo 1 at its core; the classic horror CRPG that created the genre.
And it’s a hell of a lot better than any mobile game, you can bet on that!
[I was originally planning to include images, but don’t have time for that now. I may add them to the webpage of this writeup later.]