Madou Monogatari 1-2-3 is a first-person dungeon crawler developed by Compile. The second episode was released in Compile's disk magazine "Discstation" in December 1989, while the game itself was released on June 15, 1990; both were for the MSX. The game received a PC98 port in 1991, and each episode was released separately for the Game Gear from December 1993 to Decemeber 1994. While the MSX original and Game Gear ports use super-deformed
artwork, the PC98 version features more realistically-proportioned characters. All versions of the game feature extensive voice acting.
The first game stars six-year-old Arle Nadja
, who must pass an exam by venturing into a tower and collecting three magic spheres. In the second game, a sixteen-year-old Arle is ambushed by Schezo Wegey
, and finds herself in another dungeon. In the final game, martial artist Rulue
attempts to get rid of Arle by sending a giant minotaur after the girl.
Unlike most RPGs, Madou Monogatari features no (visible) numbers aside from money; players must determine Arle's status by her facial expressions and the comments that she makes in battle. Likewise, enemy monsters make comments that the player must use to gauge their remaining health. Experience is represented by a number of spheres on the outer border of the screen; when they are all filled, Arle levels up.
Arle can use two attacking spells, Fire and Ice Storm, but also has a variety of support spells such as Diacute, Bayoeen, and Healing. Support Spells use "Magic" which, like other stats, can only be measured by Arle's comments.