Current version: 15.3 (Oct 15, 2013) - download together with NotEye
Hydra Slayer is a Roguelike game focused on one thing: slaying Hydras. It is inspired by Greek mythology,
Dungeon Crawl, MathRL seven day roguelike, and some mathematical puzzles about brave heroes slaying many
Hydra slaying has a long history.
First explorers who have met hydras were completely unable to do any harm. As they cut hydras' heads,
two new heads always grew in place of each one cut.
Some of them started using clubs instead of swords. However, this was only a temporary solution. A club may
stun a hydra, and make it temporarily less dangerous, but not kill it. When time comes,
it will wake up and attack further. Hydras remained indestructible monsters.
Some mages have been employed to research methods of slaying Hydras. The first thing they have invented
were Runes of Decapitation, which could kill a completely stunned hydra, or permanently destroy some heads of a
non-completely stunned one. Another thing were Runes of Cancellation, which could remove hydra's regenerative
abilities. However, both of these Runes were one-use items and very expensive to create, and thus not practical.
Then, a report came, claiming that heads won't regrow if the sword was put on fire. Apparently all Hydras
in some region were killed using that method. Their meat was found extremely
tasty, their blood good for healing wounds (due to hydras' natural regenerative abilities),
and their scales good for improving armors.
Mages tried this method. Unfortunately, it did not work for them, though. However, they have experimented with
other kinds of magically imbued weapons. It turned out that some enchantments will reduce the number of heads
regrown. Possibly even no heads will regrow. Some hydras could be slayed after these findings, but not all.
It is rumored that some mage long ago created a weapon which could slay any Hydra without regrowing heads, but he got
overconfident and killed, and the secret was lost.
Mages experimented with their magical weapons even further. And they had a new result: weapons which could
cut (or stun) several heads at once. If they cut all heads, the hydra was killed. If not, the Hydra would usually
regrow the same number of heads as if only one head was cut. The mages were happy with that major result.
Of course, some new hydra slaying weapons and magics were created later, but they were nothing compared to the
previous major achievement. The numbers of Hydras kept decreasing, and finally, they disappeared, and were almost
forgotten... And less and less people became acquainted with the hydra slaying techniques, as other people laughed
at them, because their profession was completely useless in these times.
Now you, a young student, have heard about a manifestation of hydras in so called Hydras Nest.
Apparently some brave knights came to kill the Hydras... Brave, but stupid. Even if they equipped themselves with
mighty hydra slaying weapons, they had no knowledge about how to use them correctly. What use is a mighty sword which can
cut ten heads in one swipe, against a Hydra which has only 9 heads? All these knights have been killed.
You are more clever. Since your earliest
years you have had an unnatural ability to count people in an instant, and
your great grandfather has suggested you to pursue the Hydra Slayer career,
and learn the forgotten art of Hydra
Slaying. Now, you will show people that it is not just an useless funny thing.
You take two small magical weapons and some magical items, hoping to rob better
ones off dead bodies of these stupid knights, and head to Hydras Nest.
Of course, not that you are one of these clever guys who are too scared and
weak to be useful in a battle... you could also wield a two handed weapon with
The game counts various statistics about your character.
I think the game is quite challenging, but not enough to require you to use
up all your resources, so after winning once, you can try to win again with
using less items, or taking less wounds, or using different strategies.
The game has two victory conditions (called "winning a battle" and
"winning a war"). After obtaining the first one, you can try the second one
(which should be winnable even without using one of the Potions of Life).
You can try optimizing your play in both games. After winning
the war, you can still go down, although the enemies get tougher and
you gain less and less health, and items are not sufficient, so you will
eventually have to stop.
Hydra Slayer currently features:
- a unique (AFAICT) gameplay mechanics (although the main idea is based on old mathematical puzzles).
To defeat a Hydra, you have to choose your
attacks carefully, just bashing it with your "best" weapon is not likely
to be a successful strategy. To win the big game, you have to choose your
set of weapons wisely, and use your resources efficiently!
- a theme which mixes Greek mythology and mathematics
- open source (compiles on Windows, Linux, MacOS), and also an Android version
- traditional roguelike ASCII graphics, or tiles/3D display
- 5 player character races with very distinct tactics:
- Human - easy to play, hard to master
- Centaur - equipped with the unique Bow weapon
- Echidna - slow and easy to wound, but able to deliver mighty ambidextrous attacks
- Titan - can carry lots of weapons, but no other items
- Twins - control two characters instead of one
- 28 enemy types:
- 10 basic types of elemental hydras (each of them has two special variations)
- 8 types of special enemies
- harmless mushrooms for strategic advantage
- 28 types of equipment (not counting material and size/power variations)
- 15 weapon materials:
- 10 elements corresponding to basic hydra types
- 4 gem types for non-elemental equipment
- 1 mighty special material
- 18 types of non-equipment items:
- 7 powders to be used on your enemies
- 3 scrolls to be used on equipment
- 8 potions to empower yourself
- 3 game geometries to choose before the start of game:
- traditional 8-directional
- 4-directional for laptop users
- hex board
- 8 level topologies (including the Mobius strip and Klein bottle)
- 11 level generators
- 2 endings:
- a small one for compatibility with the 7DRL version and for short challenge games
- a big one for those who want more hydra slaying
Hydra Slayer is included with NotEye.
Download NotEye 7.3+Hydra Slayer 15.3 here.
GNU General Public License, version 2.
As such, it comes with without any warranty.
The package contains a Windows executable, and source, which compiles on Linux and MacOS X
(and should compile on anything similar). For the Android version see
its homepage. You can play Hydra Slayer for free, but
if you like it, you can consider
(Note: savefiles and scoreboards from Version 7.0 and up are not compatible with previous versions.)
See this page for the version history and beginner's guide (no longer really
necessary, because the game has a tutorial now).
Thanks to the following people on RogueTemple:
Also thanks to:
- Ancient, for lots of bug reports, suggestions, RogueBasin entry, a
review, and other feedback
- Xecutor, for information about MacOS (see the discussion thread)
- JLC, for creating an ArchLinux package
- sbluen and cephalopid, for bug reports
- Legend, for some interface improvement suggestions
- Game Hunter, for his
Let's Play videos
- CommentLurker, for his old Let's Play videos (4 parts for now:
- Rogue Bard, from where
Hydra Slayer takes music (The naive Bard by Bushy (a cover by Mingos)
and Azog's March by jice)
Before 13.1 Hydra Slayer was pure ASCII, but you could get graphics and
other features by playing through my frontend, NotEye.
Since 13.1 NotEye is integrated into Hydra Slayer.
the animated hydras GIF
Note: some of the screenshots above are outdated.
You can also watch a Hydra Slayer video (very outdated).
Updates about Hydra Slayer are published on my blog.
You can discuss Hydra Slayer in the
RogueTemple forum thread,
or by e-mailing me (email@example.com).
If you like Hydra Slayer, you can consider
See my other games and things
Thanks to Slashie for hosting this at RogueTemple!