The past year has been very kind to Activision Blizzard’s 1996 classic, Diablo. After reappearing on GOG for purchase, RPG fans can now play the hellish game from the comfort of their browser window. Thanks to the work of Rivsoft, known for other Blizzard mods and creations, this new port of Diablo gives everyone access to the shareware build of the game fully playable from their browser. If you happen to still own the original copy — which is now much easier to do thanks to GOG — you can actually access the entire journey through Tristram.
This new port is based on reconstructed source code by two programming teams. It happens to retain all of the bugs and “badly written code” that the original version had. That’s what ensures compatibility with the original files, which are as easy to get running as dragging and dropping. You’ll simply need to navigate to the website for browser Diablo, copy all the files into your browser window, and you’re all set to go.
If you’re just looking for a trip down memory lane, though, the shareware version is actually quite substantial. Included in the free version are the game’s first two dungeons. Since Diablo was very far ahead of its time, the game uses a randomizer to create unique layouts for dungeons each time you enter them. You could technically sink a good 20 hours into the free version before repeating any content. It’s at least an interesting curio to kill an afternoon with.
Personally, I think preservation like this is awesome. Not everyone has a disc drive anymore, but making classics available in convenient digital form is something I can get behind. It’s especially great when they cooperate with modern operating systems, something that even the original versions typically suffer with. I’m tempted to try this out simply because I could really go for some dungeon-crawling RPG action.