Sunday, March 09, 2008

Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer: The First Hour Review

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I managed to try out Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer, a turn-based dungeon crawler for the Nintendo DS yesterday. Fans would know that this is a remake of the old Japanese SNES title, Fushigi no Dungeon 2: Fuurai no Shiren. In fact, both games practically look the same.

If you must know, the SNES ROM for Fushigi no Dungeon 2 runs excellently on the SNEmulDS, a SNES emulator that runs on the Nintendo DS.

So, another day, another dungeon crawler. Turn based gameplay aside (more on that later), Mystery Dungeon share some of the same gameplay elements as the perennial PC favourite, Diablo. Maps are randomly generated, and you'll never play the same map over again, should you restart the game. There's also an option in-game to regenerate a map in which you are currently playing on.

This flexibility results in quirkiness, such as the exit being right next to your starting point, being commonplace. Walking around a map, you'll encounter monsters, items, spell scrolls, money and another RPG staple, traps.

Gameplay, as mentioned earlier, is turned-based. Each movement, or hit on an opponent, constitute a turn but thankfully you'll never really feel the grind as the game takes a rather fast pace at almost anything, except conversations. Maybe it's because of your talkative companion, a weasel (!).

2D-graphics are the order of the day for Shiren, and the game looks like it hasn't aged a day since its SNES days. Fans of the old classic will find themselves at home while new gamers will have an opportunity to play a classic that was previously available only in Japanese.

Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer is available at Play-Asia for USD 34.90. Click here for purchase information.