Review by Trixter800
Double Dungeons was released on the unfortunately overshadowed Turbografx16, back in the era just a sliver before the Genesis and the SNES. The game featured a first-person view with a computer, text RPG feel with the basic elements of things like equipment such as Leather Armor, and Short Sword as well as consumable goods such as Apples, Bread, and Healing Potions. The game also poses a great challenge, which, can be either a good thing or a bad thing, a laughable translation, and, though not bad music the first few minutes, gets annoying hearing the same thing with little breaks throughout the entire dungeon.
Double Dungeons' story is also pretty laughable. It's cliched to death, with you as a Warrior, and going through random dungeons to clear the area of troubles or to save the Princess. You get a small dab of text before entering the dungeons, and a bit after slaying the boss. The first gives you a prompt to enter, with usually rather unnecessary reasons to go in and clear it, and after you clear the boss, you get a not very satisfying conclusion. Of course, story was not a strong suit in the games of the late '80s, and was, and was a lot more better than "The princess is in another castle". The game, though, boasts a rather poor translation.
The game also features a pretty unique first-person view, which, though, these days that's about all you'll find, it's a nice break from the typical third-person view. The graphics aren't perfect, and you'll notice various errors, such as doors only appearing when you're not in motion, and often flickering enemies, and the graphics aren't too great for a game of the time either, it was a decent step into the 3-D world, a bit ahead of it's time, especially for a console game.
As you first step into the game, you'll find yourself using a pretty easy to navigate 3-D land-scape. You'll then come across a green slime, which you can slay by pressing the attack button. The enemy will then take a set amount of damage based on your level and equipment. It also has a chance to dodge. After you attack, it attacks back and inflicts harm to your HP, or health. When it runs out, you die, and lose all your coins and start back near the beginning. Once it's HP runs out, it dies. All the while, you'll get messages such as "OH DEAR" when you're near a strong enemy, or, "THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY!" when near a weak one. Pretty easy to understand formula. When it dies you'll lastly get a set amount of EXP, which, when you gather some, levels you up, giving you increased attack and defense, which comes back around to defeating more enemies. You'll also get some gold, and after some running out and conquering enemies, you can get a fair amount and head to a Shop, which is, for some strange reason, located in the middle of the dungeon, sometimes there are multiple shops. You can then spend your hard-earned gold on equipment. You can equip one weapon and one armor, and the more expensive, the better quality. Better quality enhances your attack and defense, and in turn, effects how well you can defeat enemies. You can also purchase potions, which increase your health, as well as Speed Rings and Defenders, which increase your attack and defense respectively - and you can purchase unlimited amounts.
The game requires you to find a special Unicorn Key, usually behind a tough enemy, in a treasure chest. You can then go out and hunt for the boss door, which requires the Unicorn Key. These are tough bosses that require very high levels to conquer, and require lots of "grinding". This grinding is what makes the core part of the game. Sadly, the entire game pretty much consists of defeating enemies, leveling up a few times, purchase the highest grade of equipment, grinding for a half hour or so, then report to and conquer the boss. And even after, the game doesn't let you keep your levels after dungeons. Once you've completed a dungeon, you're given a password, and the game pretty much restarts, and you enter your password to gain access to the next dungeon - you start at square one, or in this case, level one. This just adds more and more "grinding", and after a while it starts to get boring. There's not even a real complicated battle formula - you're either strong enough to defeat the enemy or you're not, usually few exceptions at the beginning where you're faced with a borderline decision, but often when you're at the grind point, you're strong enough to pretty much beat anything, boss severely aside, and just makes you run around more.
Even worse, the entire dungeon is pretty much a maze. The games consists of running around with twists and turns all over the place, and with the only navigational tool being a box that says North, East, South, or West, and your brain. I find myself, especially in the enormous final stages, resorting to a map to complete, and even the very first level, I had to dash around randomly for about ten minutes just to find the boss, only to figure out that I needed to get the Unicorn Key. The game is also extremely difficult. I also consider it a challenge, even getting past the first stage ... without using a user-made map. Personally, it took me a couple of hours, not to mention there's 22 more.
Luckily, though, on both the Turbografx and the Wii version, it controls smoothly. The control pad lets you glide across dungeons and turn properly. The Wii even has the button that essentially acts as a "turbo", meaning, you just have to hold the button down and it attacks for you as well as clears the text boxes quickly. The item navigation is pretty much non-slippery, meaning that user-error aside, you don't have to worry about accidentally using your sacred Refresh before the boss, or things like that.
The music isn't that great either. Though you start out with some pretty awesome title screen music, you'll enter the dungeon with a pretty nice theme with some awesome bassline. It would be fine, if the problem was, you heard the same music for just about the entire game. The entire game. The entire, freaking, game. It gets old after a while, and with the only break being the shops, and the boss, which you'll only heard for about 30 seconds a visit, it makes you just want to crank up the radio more than anything. The sounds consist of bleeps and beeps, for the most part, but they are rather useful thanks to their distinct sound. A ping for a dodge, beep for a successful attack, and the like.
Overall, Double Dungeons is a playable game. It has a pretty unique first-person view and the fun, text-based RPG formula we know and love. However, it has a laughable, yet lovable translation, as well as though decent, very, very, repetitive music. It also boasts a heavy-grinding style of gameplay, and gets tedious over a while. However, considering it's only $6, or 600 Wii Points on the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console, it's not a bad deal if you're looking for some cheap fun, or have an extra 600 Wii Points to burn.
Product Release: Double Dungeons (US, 03/12/07)
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