June 30, 2013

Deep Dungeon - Ranking

Story & World

As with most dungeon crawlers, Deep Dungeon isn't going to win any awards for riveting storyline or immersive world.  There are a few friendly NPCs that give obvious hints and I appreciate that I had the option to fight them as well as listen to them.  I will also be granting an additional point for Ruu's original, if not horrendously flawed, master plan.  3/20

Character Development

As basic and linear as one would expect from such an early crawler.  New equipment just adds on to the existing attack and defense stats.  In fact, the equipment pretty much drives said stats as increasing in level adds very little other than increasing HP.  The magic items at least injected a tiny modicum of strategy into otherwise tedious battles.  3/20

Combat & Monsters

Mash A button.  Repeat.  Repeat more as both character and enemy alike dodge multiple times in a row.  Be prepared for wildly variable damage, regardless of monster difficulty or character level / equipment.  Rage as the last two healing breads decide to randomly give barely any HP back.  Rejoice that magic items only cost one HP to fuel and use them liberally.  Recoil in disgust at the ugly monsters but have fun trying to guess what the hell they are.  3/20

Graphics & Sound

While I focused more on the poorly drawn monsters, some of the others weren't all that bad (druid, Ruu).  The game did rely quite a bit on palette swapping, though, both for monster sprites and the dungeon levels.  Music was atrocious and ended up being disabled for most of the game.  Part of the problem also lay in the lack of variety in tunes.  Props to the developers, though, for including a way to turn off the music with a single button press.  2/20

Gameplay

The economy might just be the strongest point of the game (which still doesn't say much).  Winning a battle doesn't always give a monetary reward and even when it does, most monsters give a paltry amount.  The amount of gold found in treasure chests or trash piles are random and usually on the low end.  It's only after finding large, respawning caches on the lower levels that money becomes less of an issue.  I only exploited the respawning feature so that I could purchase and experiment with all the magic items, most of which I ditched anyway (due to space limitations).

Even for someone such as myself that doesn't mind hand-drawing the maps for any grid-based dungeon, I found the level of detail decreasing sharply in the late game.  My map for the final level is just a couple of lines showing the general direction where to go.  Contrast this with my Wizardry maps where every single square on every single level is accurately drawn and places of interest annotated.

In order for a dungeon crawler to be successful, the dungeon needs to be packed with stuff to do and discover.  There's none of that here.  Thankfully, Deep Dungeon isn't that long of a game but it sure will feel like it.  4/20

Final Ranking:  15/100