Dungeon Keeper level 18: Blaise End.

Difficulty: Very Hard.

Your Portal max: 60 creatures.

Starting forces: 10 Imps (1st level)

Starting gold: 10000

Possible minions:
Attracted through portal: Dragon, Warlock, Bile Demon, Troll, Orc, Dark Mistress, Tentacle, Vampire, Hellhound.
Can be found elsewhere in level: 2 Spiders (1st level), 2 Skeletons (2nd level), 1 Giant (2nd level), 3 Bile Demons (4th level), 2 Tentacles (1st level), 1 Dragon (3rd level)

Known at start: Basic Five.
Can be researched: All others.

Can research: Sight of Evil, Speed Creature, Call to Arms, Conceal Creature, Hold Audience, Heal, Lightning, Protect Creature.
Can be found elsewhere in level: Lightning (you can get this early if you know where to look), Destroy Walls.

Can be manufactured: All doors and traps.

Enemies: Heroes, led by tunnellers.

Oh dear.

That second Portal looks inviting, doesn't it? But it's a trap. It's surrounded by fortified walls that you can't break through, and if you dig towards it you'll only end up releasing the heroes that surround it.

And there isn't a lot of gold at your end of the realm. The gems at the other end are firmly under the control of the heroes.

Oh, and there are not only parties of tunnelling heroes, but a large number of "placed" heroes around that aren't part of the tunneller parties, but will nevertheless make a beeline for your Heart the moment they discover there is a direct line of path (no matter how winding) between you and them.

Of course, in realms where you're plagued by a lack of gold, an obvious solution has been to stick as many creatures as you can in your Workshop, and make and sell magic doors to get funds. BUT, that Portal to the southeast just won't stop spewing out creatures. I bet you thought that the more creatures you had, the better? Think again. When you've gotten that many and no steady supply of gems, you've gotten too many to fit them all into your workshop. In fact there's too many to fit into your training room too. The great danger is that you end up training too many creatures at once, and they're all too low level to cope with the heroes that come at you.

And because of the numbers on your side, there just isn't room to lock yourself in anyway. You're going to have to take the fight *forwards*, to the heroes, as soon as you dare, just to get living space for your minions. Otherwise you'll end up crowded for space, short of cash, and with your creatures at each other's throats and in no condition to fight the forces of goodness. Which really just wouldn't do, would it?

Your first target is the two large arcs of gold in the central area. You'll find out that if you dig too close to the central Portal, you'll let heroes in before you're ready. If you dig out the furthest-north tiles of gold, again you'll let heroes in, so you'll have to use that gold tile as a shield (heroes cannot dig through gold), and fortify the rest of the way down on either side of the Portal. Likewise, use one gold tile as a shield at the east and west edges, again to avoid letting heroes in. Along the way you'll pick up a Giant, two Skeletons and a pair of Spiders - compulsive trainers all.

Fortify along the bottom corners of the permanent rock that make up the "middle" and "outer" circles surrounding the central area. Make those into corridors, and trap them with Boulders behind Magic Doors. If you dig into the lake on the southeastern edge of the outer circle, collect the two Tentacles, bridge over it and fortify the far side as soon as you can (use Sight of Evil to avoid breaking through into space.) Train as far as you dare, until you're nearly short of gold, and then break out with an imp from the far end of your corridors. Let the enemies come to you, and either they'll fall under your boulders or you can deal with the survivors.

(Interestingly, the Tunneller Parties - marked on the overhead map even when you can't see them - aren't interested in YOU. Each party starts at one place, and makes its way to another, and stays there. But they may pass through areas containing other heroes, who will make a beeline for your dungeon as soon as they can see it's open.)

What you'll soon find is a pretty big influx of Thieves and Archers. A couple of Witches may show up - use Bile Demons against these. Look out for a pair of Steal Hero bonuses, one just north of the portal you can't reach and the other just west of centre, and a Lightning Strike spell somewhat to the northeast of that. Plus a few imprisoned Bile Demons that'll join your cause. And a couple of hoards of gold pots to west and northwest - bang down Treasure Room tiles underneath them to save your imps the trouble of carrying the treasure to your rooms.

And still those creatures keep on coming from your portal, clogging up your Hatcheries and depleting your coffers with their compulsive training habits. If you've imprisoned any of the heroes, chances are you've got Skeletons too, all wanting their place in the training room. Somehow, you've got to get through all of this in one piece, and build up to the most important issue: bashing through the front door of the northern Hero Castle, past several 6th-level Archer and Thief guardians, to get into the front room and at least have access to the front faces of the gems, either before your gold runs out, or at least before your creatures get angry enough to fight or desert when not paid.

Once you have the front faces of the gems, the rest of the realm is a cakewalk if you're careful. Take the door around to the left of the gems to face a few Archers, Barbarians and a single high-level Samurai, then you can get around the back of the gems to increase the speed of your income and cut the castle in two. Convert the whole area surrounding the gems into a treasure room, and you can now afford to train all your creatures. DON'T let your imps knock over any doors until you're ready. You might also want to claim the small Prison that has two high-level Skeletons in, but these Skeletons will be ungrateful and turn on you: it's up to you to show them the error of their ways.

Following the outside wall of the castle to the left, is an area where you'll end up fighting several high-level Wizards and find some trap crates ready to use. Beyond them, hidden, are a Reveal Map and a friendly Dragon who will join your side (of course, you can "persuade" the Wizards too, if you feel like it).

If you follow the outside wall around to the right, you'll meet more heroes - mostly archers and barbarians - and several boulder traps, on the way to a Resurrect Creature guarded by a pair of Fairies and a Dragon. This Dragon, unlike the one hidden behind the other corner of the castle, is not friendly - you'll have to teach him a lesson.

In the right-hand half of the Castle (again, beware of boulder traps), there's one area with another high-level Samurai, one guarded by Witches and Monks, and another guarded by Barbarians, plus the Destroy Walls spell - and an Increase Level, that you'll have to use Destroy Walls to get to. In the left half of the castle, follow just inside the front wall to find a second Prison in which is imprisoned a Vampire, who will be appropriately grateful for release.

But your main goal is the Heart, in the back left corner of the castle, for it is in the Heart chamber that the Lord of the Land and his minions reside. Guarded by many traps - Lightning, Word of Power, and even four that are "illegally" placed standing on the Heart itself - this Heart is well defended, even after the Knight and his party have fallen. But it must be destroyed - both the last hero and the white Heart must fall, for you to win the level. No tricks, no dodges, no surprises: this realm is just a hard slog, of one damn thing after another, but if you're going to be a champion, this is what you have to deal with.

(Perhaps the one redeeming feature is that heroes don't unlock doors that they themselves own, so you can take them on a few at a time. Unless, of course, you destroy the Heart itself too early, which destroys all hero-owned doors at once and you'll set the whole lot of them on you at once...)

(And that second Portal in the centre of the realm turns out to be useless. By the time you got up to the Destroy Walls spell so you could even get in, you won't need any more minions.

This, however, is almost certainly the realm in which there was SUPPOSED to be a fifth Locate Hidden World box somewhere, but it is missing. Because there are SIX secret levels, numbered "Map00101" to " Map00106" - Map00106 being the Full Moon level that appears once a month. The first four "Locate Hidden World" boxes, to levels 101-104, are found in levels 8, 9, 15 and 17, so the last one - to the otherwise inaccessible level 105 - should have been in 18, 19 or 20. This level makes more sense: it would explain the second Portal as being an appropriate place to find a gate to another world, especially as you have to jump through hoops to get to it.

Unfortunately you can't even use the official editor to place a Locate Hidden World box, the only way you can do this is with the unofficial editors "Adikted" or "Unded". The writer of this level guide has done exactly that, and made a patch which includes this "improvement").