Octurbo: Double Dungeons

So the theme for week two is JRPGs, at least until I run out. My favorite genre is legendarily well represented on the Super Nintendo and fairly well catered towards on the Genesis too, but what about the TurboGrafx-16? Maybe it has some hidden gem that's the equivalent of Chrono Trigger or Secret of Mana. I mean, probably not, but it's worth checking what's out there anyway. Of course, I'm going to have to get a little creative with how I define a decent cut-off point in an RPG, but I suppose we'll fireball that slime when we draw near to it.

The first game on the list is NCS's Double Dungeons. I had absolutely no idea what to expect going in, so this ought to be a fun blog. Probably.

My Double Dungeons Get the Best of Me (Oooooh, Double Dungeons)

It's not Foreigner, but that's one hell of a rock n' roll logo. Of course, it gives nothing away about what this game is actually about.
It's a level select? All right. The color-coding, I would later find out, refers to the size of the dungeons. I'll talk more about that at the end.
I kept wanting to say "Double Dragon" whenever I was typing this game's title, so I picked a suitable name. The legendary martial artist Bimmy Lee enters the fray.
Ah, right. It's one of these types of games. The ol' walking around a maze hitting things type dealie.
I'll give the game some credit early on: combat is as simple as hitting the button until one of you is dead. It's a little perfunctory, but at least it speeds up these easy slime battles.
Of course, with the slightly tougher enemies like this Giant Leech here, I'd prefer a few more tactical options.
Well, that was fast, but because this game is built for speed (it's apparently a multiplayer game), you only lose your gold upon death. I retain all experience, levels and equipment. Convenient, unless I'm saving up to buy something.
Now I've gained a few levels, I can kill things other than slimes. This builds XP and gold faster. An odd quirk of the game is that enemies stay put, so if you simply remember where all the tougher enemies are you can go after them once you've leveled up a bit. The game doesn't have a map, though, so remembering where they are is kind of half the battle.
The game does go out of its way to warn you about tougher enemies. I can't get past this point in the dungeon without killing this snake, but it doesn't look like a pushover.
Yeah, definitely no weakling. I'll be back once I find better gear.
I eventually meet a sorcerer, but he doesn't seem like the friendly type. I love the dumb little warcries my character comes up with. I have to be the least intimidating warrior ever.
After beating the sorcerer, I find the Unicorn Key. It's Double Dungeons' equivalent of a Boss Key, and so it's usually guarded by a minion of some kind.
Skeletons are a bit tougher than most (but a lot easier than all these high-powered hawks and snakes) so he gives me the best XP and gold right now. For some reason, higher level monsters take longer to respawn, so I've had to fill up on green slimes in the interim.
What's the goal of all this fighting? Well, I need a certain amount of health and strong armor/weapons to take down the boss. If I can buy a crappy sword at this place, I can start killing the mid-tier enemies for some decent scratch.
You get this message whenever you back up into an enemy. Whenever I back up into an enemy in a game like Dungeon Master, it always seems like that one part in every Scooby Doo episode when the belligerent old man wearing a mask is standing right behind Shaggy and it takes the stoner's brain a minute to process the news. Protip: Always walk forwards.
So after a lot of dull grinding, I can finally afford the best weapon in this dungeon. I'll still take hits like a wet paper bag, but at least I'll be givin' as good as I'm gettin'.
For example. These hawks have been a talon in my side for too long.
And down go snakes, albeit not without taking a few chunks out of poor Bimmy first.
Still, when you go from 1 xp/1 gold per slime to this, it's worth a few venomous snake bites to the crotch.
Now that I have the best armor (really? Wood?), I can finally take on the boss. Wouldn't hurt to grind some more though.
There's also an Inn close to the boss, but it charges crazy amounts. I guess the fee is going towards all that monster repellent. You aren't allowed to rest anywhere else though, so if you need to recover a few hundred HP it's your best (and really only) bet.
I eventually find the boss door. Is level 10 high enough? I guess we'll find out.
I dunno, I guess Mimes are traditionally kind of tough for low level adventurers, but even so why have one as a boss instead of letting it be some fake chest that tricks you at some point? It's sort of like making a sentient spike trap the boss.
Anyway, after a long battle of attrition, I barely scrape through and get part of a password for my trouble. The password is meant to unlock the final dungeon, and you only discover it by beating the other 21 dungeons and putting the clues together.
I get a little epilogue for this particular dungeon. Apparently the Mime cast a spell. What spell, we may never know. Or care to know.

So that's the end of the first dungeon of Double Dungeons. Starting a new dungeon resets your level and equipment, as each one is constructed to be a standalone puzzle - kill weak enemies, go up levels, kill tougher enemies, earn gold to buy equipment, beat stronger enemies, buy best equipment, kill even more enemies, find the boss key and beat the boss. I can imagine this being utterly monotonous after... well, after the first dungeon, but it only gets worse:

Here's what the first dungeon (the one I just did) looks like. And here's what the final dungeon looks like. It's almost like one of those magic eye puzzles, only I don't have to stare at it for ten minutes before my brain starts hurting. That's a ludicrously enormous maze considering the required path to defeat is almost certainly identical to all the ones that came before it, at least according to those who have gotten that far.

Double Dungeons is an interesting idea. It reminds me a bit of Dungeon Hack, the Roguelike that uses Eye of the Beholder's engine, and Half-Minute Hero to an extent in that it kind of deconstructs the humble first-person dungeon crawler and turns it into some sort of odd puzzle game with a specific pattern to follow. But I can imagine that this would be a terrible game to try to play all the way through to the end, and an even worse one to LP. Moving on.

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3 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by ZombiePie

Are there double the dragons in this game?

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Edited by Mento

@zombiepie: I wouldn't want to turn the corner and see one dragon, let alone two. I had enough trouble with the damn snakes.

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Edited by Video_Game_King

Is it racist that I initially read "Bimmy" as "Blimey"?