July 21, 2013

Deep Dungeon II - Ranking

Story & World

Having a multi-leveled castle complete with towers sitting on top of a regular dungeon is pretty nifty.  Having Ruu, the villain from the first DD, show up again is always nice to see in a sequel (even if they did just reuse the same graphic).  Too bad there wasn't any crazy plan this time; I'm not even sure what the Dark Emperor ever intended to do.  Heh, maybe he wasn't planning anything, just lazing around, minding his own biz, making some bacon pancakes, before I busted in and ruined his breakfast.  3/20

Character Development

Being assigned points to allot to various stats is a big improvement over the nothing that the first game had.  I think I did break the game a little by focusing so much on agility but, hey, if the game doesn't like it then it shouldn't give me points to use.  There are actually a few less magic items in this sequel but it's not that big a loss since all the most useful ones are still present in some form.  5/20

Combat & Monsters

Exactly the same as the first Deep Dungeon, except that the healing Breads are now called Veggie Soups.  Oh, and magic items cost more than one hit point to fuel (it's a whopping three this time).  3/20

Graphics & Sound

A modest gain in both categories.  It would have been nice to have the castle and tower walls look significantly different from the dungeon levels but at least the colours are quite different.  While the music isn't that great on its own, it is better than before and there is also a lot more of it.  4/20

Gameplay

I never did find a place other than the town where I could spend golds, so the economy was broke after about a tenth of the game was completed.  Enemies on certain floors would almost always give up an item that could be sold back in town for hundreds of gold.  It only took one such trip before I had more gold than I would ever need.  For shame.

Again, my maps lost more and more detail as I hit the extreme upper and lower levels.  This was partly due to spinners which would sometimes turn me in such a way that the screen visually remained the same (e.g. 180° in a straight corridor) and I would unknowingly continue mapping erroneously.  After reaching a point where it became obvious that something wasn't quite right, I choose to just scribble in basic details instead of redrawing the entire level (not worth the extra effort).

Overall, this second deep dungeon was just as devoid of things as the first.  Some areas never even got explored as I knew there probably wouldn't be anything important in it.  Still, it's a short romp, much like the first, so it doesn't drag too much.  3/20

Final Ranking:  18/100

July 14, 2013

Deep Dungeon II - End Game

Though most of the slight changes made from DDI to DDII are improvements, there are some that I consider to be more of a hindrance.  As I delved into the deepest layers of the dungeon, the high frequency of the random encounters got more and more tiresome.  In the first Deep Dungeon, I lauded its low encounter rate as it allowed me to explore quite freely (even though I complained that there wasn't much to find while exploring).  Here, the fights come much quicker, often with a random monster popping up immediately after dealing with a static encounter.  Since combat itself is so boring and repetitious, this can get quite annoying.

Though I do like how this Mage is
totally air guitaring his magic staff.

Thankfully, after I reach a certain experience level, random encounters cease to pop up for a specific dungeon level.  It really only got annoying on the bottom floor, where the randoms are always on.  Strangely enough, I reached the bottom floor of the dungeon without having fully explored the upper castle levels.  I had been tipped off by a friendly NPC who told me that I needed six items to get to the demon king.  I didn't have most of the items but decided to map out the level while I was down here anyway.  Imagine my shock when I stumbled across the demon king's unlocked room.

Even more shocking was how incredibly
easy it was to beat this puss.

As I rained blows into the demon king's face while he continued to miss me, I started to surmise that this wasn't going to be the final boss.  My detective skills proved to be correct as I soon found the real boss in another room.  It was none other than Ruu, the villain from the first Deep Dungeon!

Who hasn't bothered to even change his
clothes during the last few decades.

Though I found it strange that I was here beating up the final boss without having the majority of items that I was suppose to have, I thought nothing of it.  He put up more of a fight but, in the end, he just couldn't handle so much Shen.  With his death, I warped back to town only to be greeted by the greatest victory screen fakeout ever.

I must have missed about three somethings.

After restoring and checking my maps, I found a door that I had previously marked as locked now unlocked, although I did not have a key.  I had an "A-ha!" moment as I realized that it probably opened up after I defeated a mini-boss rather than requiring an item to open it.

Like this guy, who I defeated ages ago.

Well, this opened up all the castle levels which were now incredibly easy thanks to all the levels I had gained while in the dungeon.  Eventually, I got all the required items and made my way back down to the bottom dungeon level.  I got stuck here as I just could not find the correct route to the true final boss.  There's a few spots where there's a hidden warp but these just led to the areas where the fake final bosses were.  I had to backtrace it to the previous levels and try to find a way to pit drop down to where I needed to go.  Battles at this point were completely pointless as I had already reached the maximum level of 20.  Thanks to my super high agility, I rarely took damage from any encounter and reached the Dark Emperor in peak condition for final boss battering.

He might have been tougher if only he
had used his Force Lightning attack.

The ending scene (for reals this time) was revealed but still decided to leave things open for the inevitable sequel.  In any event, this ending was a lot more satisfying than the fakeout one.

See, the font colour is tan, which
makes it way more epic.

And so we bid adieu to the FDS, which may be a good thing considering the overall quality of these two games.


July 04, 2013

[Game 038] Deep Dungeon II: The Hero's Crest (FDS - 1987)

Translation by KingMike & snark

Unsurprisingly, the Deep Dungeon formula remains pretty much intact for this sequel.  Even though I ranked the previous game quite low, I appreciate it when a series stays true to the spirit and concepts of its predecessors while still giving enough slight tweaks here and there to keep things interesting.  Monster depictions are the first noticeable improvement in DDII; I spent far less time retching than the first time.

Just look at this swell Gel... well, look at it!

The setting is also different in that, in addition to the titular dungeon, there is also a castle and some towers available to be explored.  Functionally, it still just looks like one big dungeon but I suppose the maps do look tower-ful.  The prologue was one page long and I've already forgotten what it is about; I think I'm a descendant of the Shen from the first Deep Dungeon.  One change I noticed right away was that I could no longer use the B button to cancel my way out of menus; I was forced to scroll to the menu bottom and exit from there.  A major improvement came in the form of not only increasing the number of character stats but allowing the player to spend a few points every level in a stat of their choosing.

Two points is still better than no points.

I've been dumping most of my points into Agility with a few left over for Luck (about a 75/25 split).  Weapons and armour increase AP and AC, so I haven't bothered putting any points in those yet.  So far, this strategy has worked well as foes miss with their attacks the majority of the time.

You know, Shen, you don't have to dodge
ALL of the time. (hubba hubba)

Not only are the regenerating chests from the original present here but foes also drop items with an alarming frequency on certain levels.  I hadn't even fully explored the second level of a single tower before having enough loot to fund the purchase of the best of everything in the town shop.  It would have taken forever to buy anything if I had to rely just on chest drops.

Did this really necessitate using a chest?

Acquiring the town's best equipment isn't as great as it seems as most pieces ended up being quickly replaced with found items.  Perhaps there will be another shop where I can spend all my stash at.

K, I'm going to have to stop here or I'll likely have nothing to talk about in the End Game post.