Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Double Dungeons

NCS/Masaya / NEC

Yeah, the concept is simple: bumble around a maze, level up a bit, purchase some equipment, find the key to the boss's room, and beat the boss. And yeah, the game is very repetitive, as you do the same thing in each of its twenty-two labyrinths, all of which look the same. In spite of those facts, I actually like this first-person dungeon crawler a lot, for a number of reasons:

- The gameplay is incredibly fast paced. You practically fly down the hallways, traversing huge segments of dungeon in mere moments; and with turbo revved up, you can rapid-hack right through almost every fight.

- The title-screen music rocks. Granted, the track sounds somewhat, uh, warbly in the middle, but the drums just never let up, making the number awesomely sinister.

- The dungeons employ a pseudo-scrolling hallway effect that works extremely well. It's accomplished via a very simple trick, but it looks so much smoother and better than the chop-chop-along movement in a lot of other old first-person games.

- I like most of the monster sketches, though they aren't fine works of art. There are some surprisingly huge/grotesque creatures to deal with...

...and it's always fun to find out what sort of beast resides in the boss room of a given dungeon.

- The text messages that pop up as you explore the dungeons (e.g., "ZOUNDS! IT'S DANGEROUS HERE.") are pretty amusing. And the dungeon prologues/epilogues are even more entertaining, as they relay eloquent tales like...

Good stuff.

- The game is an absolute blast in two-player mode. Having another person around with whom to take on the bosses, solve the mazes, and laugh at the text bits makes DD so much more fun to play (even though I like it quite a bit when going solo) and inevitably leads to memorable late-night sessions. And for whatever reason, I always get a kick out of encountering the other player (the two warriors begin play at separate spots and are never actually obliged to cross paths).

- Most people probably don't, but I dig the US version's box art.

Double Dungeons is a neat game that all Turbo owners should grant a fair shot, ideally in two-player mode. Give it a try and you might end up surprised at how addictive and entertaining it can be.

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