June 22, 2013

[Game 037] Deep Dungeon: The Heretic War (FDS - 1986)

Translation by KingMike & satsu

So Deep Dungeon III was recently translated (also by KingMike) and DD IV was already in the master list so it got me curious about the first two installments of the series (I always prefer to do a series in order if possible).  Turns out that both of these were released only on the Japanese-exclusive Famicom Disk System.  Since the FDS is an add-on for the Famicom itself, the two games technically still count and so have been added.  Unfortunately, Deep Dungeon IV was coming up in a few games so there wasn't a lot of space to spread the games out (like I was able to do with Dragon Quest).  So it'll be a string of dungeon crawlers for the next while.  A fitting punishment for not being more thorough in the beginning (I won't even try to blame the Cyber Police this time).  To add to the punishment a bit, the major advantage of the FDS to be able to save a game without using a password has been rendered useless by modern emulation.  However, the big drawback of using floppy disks is still in full effect.

Ahh, this takes me back.

After entering one's name, the game wastes no time in getting the preliminaries out of the way with just a line or two from the king.

Load Generic Quest #001 - Princess Rescue.

A few equipment purchases later and it's off to start mapping and exploring.  The levels are a decent size (30x30) and mapping has been pretty easy so far.  Most sections within a level have an innate sense of symmetry and there's little in the way of orientation-confusing traps.  While battles are turn-based, the encounter rate itself is not.  Standing in one spot will eventually see a monster stumbling in and initiating combat.  Strangely enough, hitting the Start button to pause the game gets rid of the music (which is horrible, btw, and never changes) but doesn't prevent battles or movement.  It's just there to stop the music.  It's like the developers knew people would only be able to take about five minutes of that isht before turning the volume down but wanted the music off option so that players could still hear the three or so shitty sound effects.  Accessing the menu actually acts as the pause function here.  Pausing to map isn't really needed as the encounter rate is very low and gives plenty of time to map n' explore.  It's just too bad that there isn't much to discover.  There's a few fellow adventurers who give a fairly unhelpful one-liner and piles of trash to look through (resulting in either finding a monster, less than ten golds, or nothing).

Oh game, you don't even
know how right you are.

Speaking of trash, I've encountered about eight different monsters so far and they're all terribly drawn.

This monster passes as a bear, but just barely.

Damage in combat has a high variance for both player and monsters alike and this can lead to a quick death if not paying attention (not that I wasn't paying attention... *cough*).  Expensive bread is needed to heal while out in the dungeon and a few unlucky hits from an enemy can get costly (damage healed by bread is also variable).  There is no guarantee of finding gold after each fight but, when given, the amount of gold is the same for each monster type.  The weapons and armour available to be purchased at vendors straightforwardly increase Attack Power or Armour Class.

From the looks of this guy, I'm
surprised the items weren't cursed.

There isn't much more to say.  Deep Dungeon is like Wizardry but without the multiple characters, high difficulty, cool loot, combat tactics, or deadly traps.  You know, anything that might make the dungeon interesting.  There are some pricey items I haven't gotten around to purchasing yet (focusing on armaments) so maybe those will add a little flavour to this otherwise very bland gruel.  I've just started level four but have a sneaky suspicion that not much is going to change for the rest of the game.  *raises glass* Here's to hoping for less than ten levels!  Cheers!