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Dungeon Crawls


matt0
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Got the platinum trophy on Stranger of Sword City yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Definitely a 9/10 for me.

 

Went back to Dungeon Travelers 2 and forgot how bastardly brutal and unforgiving it is! My team gets annihilated so I'm resorting to save scumming while I level up. Can't see myself doing any of the post game stuff on that one. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 29/08/2019 at 17:36, Klatrymadon said:

 

Another big fave is Soul Hackers, the Shin Megami Tensei game that was originally released on the Saturn but localised for the 3DS a few years ago. Sadly copies sold on eBay seemed to go from next to nothing a few months ago to around £50 overnight, but the digital version can be had for under a tenner. If you haven't played an SMT game before, their main gimmick or hook is that instead of building a party that remains fixed throughout the game, you attempt to convince or bribe demons to fight alongside you using an in-battle dialogue system - it's essentially a precursor to Pokemon. Soul Hackers also adds the notion of "demon loyalty" to the mix: rather than levelling them up, you increase your demons' loyalty by giving them gifts (e.g. jewels or booze) which in turn makes them more reliable in battle (a neglected demon will often refuse to carry out your orders at the worst possible moment). Apart from learning how to game these systems, if you've played any other crawlers before you'll be right at home. One of the most impressive things about the 3DS port of Soul Hackers is its commitment to the original game's aesthetics, not just in terms of keeping the original soundtrack and visuals etc, but as much of the package as was possible, right down to holding onto the original compressed-to-fuck FMV cutscenes/boss battle transitions and including them essentially untouched. The game really nails a specific Gibson-esque conception of cyberspace, and I'm so glad that the 3DS update leaves its very mid-90s aesthetics completely intact, because they're irresistible.

I like how off-kilter the gameplay is, too, the demon loyalty system being such that if a boss fight is proving too tough, it's less a matter of levelling up and more a matter of finding the right pals and getting them drunk. The demon dialogue/negotiation is a fair bit more robust than in most of the other SMT games, too. They're still just talking in weird non-sequiturs most of the time, but you haven't exhausted their lines after three battles. Thanks to this and the trippy nightmare-spaces you encounter them in, the battle situations never get old.

 

I bought a 3DSXL essentially because of this post making me want to play this game, and it hasn’t disappointed. 

 

I haven’t really got much of a clue what’s going on but the whole 90s cyberspace vibe is just catnip for me, and it’s a cracker for £8.99. (Plus console! :rolleyes:)

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Glad you're enjoying it! Remember to keep your demons happy with gifts etc. Also, you don't want all of them 'summoned' while you're exploring a dungeon, since they all cost a certain amount of MAG (or whatever that energy is called) per step. Early on you'll be able to create this guy, who doesn't consume MAG and is levelled up through demon fusion. You'll do fine with just him and Nemissa outside of boss fights - obviously, you'll want a full team for those. :)

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Dungeon Master is still one of my all-time favourites, I go back to it, or Chaos Strikes Back, or Dungeon Master 2, which I think are all excellent, every couple of years and always have a new adventure. Which is pretty amazing for games of that vintage. I've been longing for an Android port for a long time. I think it would work brilliantly on a phone with a touch interface. I also haven't been able to help myself daydreaming about how awesome a Switch or 2DS port could be. Unfortunately I don't think a legit version will happen any time soon - apparently the original authors/ copyright holders have been very unresponsive towards anyone who has approached them to talk about re-releases or new versions of the games on modern platforms.  

 

Luckily there's a pretty active fan community online. Has anyone played the epic fan conversion/ extension, Conflux? It's an entire new, enormous dungeon, which probably outstrips the originals in terms of size and complexity, and does a whole load of new things with the engine like new graphics sets, gameplay mechanics and suchlike.

 

 

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Went back to Demon Gaze 2 the other day on PS4. If anyone new to the DRPG genre has a PS4 and a Vita, I'd recommend going for the PS4 version. A bug means you get significantly more gold per battle than on the Vita, which makes buying gems to farm gear much easier and thus, the difficulty pales compared to its baby brother port. 

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Started Sorcery Saga on Vita yesterday and it's a cracking little game. Glad I bought it when I did though as it seems to have vanished off PSN in Europe which is weird, it's still on the US store as far as I can see. Noticed it fired up some DLC stuff at the beginning so was looking to see what it was on the store.

 

Still playing Persona Q2 and Etrian Odyssey Untold. Untold can be hard as nails, I think I have made some mistakes in levelling skills so was getting hammered by an early boss, back to some grinding for XP I think. I do think it's weird that the EO series didn't take some of the quality of life stuff from the Persona crossovers. Simple stuff like rotating the map as you walk makes it much easier to navigate and draw, and the map icons are better (the shortcut icon in PQ and PQ2 shows the direction of the shortcut and updates it when you use the other side). I know the big thing of the EO is it's stripped down hardcore basic style, but when they put that stuff in the Persona games I figured it might cross over.

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  • 6 months later...

Over the last few months I've finished a couple more Vita crawlers. 

 

Aoki Tsubasa no Chevalier which is Japanese only and a port of Entaku no Seito/Students of Round, is a prequel to Stranger of Sword City. It's an absolutely fantastic game, despite the language barrier and it's such a shame it will never get a western release.

 

The story starts with heroes facing the last boss, only to get annihilated. Fast forward a hundred years and the hero has been reborn. He then sets out on a quest to finish the job properly. 

 

If you played any other Experience Inc games, then the systems used will make it playable despite the lack of English, as long as you can understand basic katakana. 

 

Once you reach a certain point, you can assign a sub class to gain new skills. These can be changed at any point and keep their levels. 

 

The story was about 40 hours long, but the post game and grinding for the secret weapons took my play time to nearly 100 hours. 

 

Also finished Mary Skelter Nightmares last night after about 45hours. I honestly have no idea how this commands the prices it does. It seemingly shot up from about £20 to £50+ overnight. Plenty of class change options, but the difficulty is non existant up until the last chapter. I actually finished the game without any class changes and just got through it by spamming one move on mobs and using brute force on bosses. Really disappointed with this one and if you were thinking of picking it up, go digital as it's better value at £8.99 on PSN. 

 

Just need to finish the post game dungeon for the platinum and move on to the next crawler. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just noticed the SF first-person dungeon crawler StarCrawlers is 90% off (£1.49 here) for another couple of days. I haven't spent as much time with it as I'd like but it's an easy recommendation at that price - it has a nice dip-in, dip-out mission-based structure, lots of stuff to do and party synergies to suss out, etc. It's perfect for anyone who's interested in the genre but doesn't have the time to spend several days completely bamboozled by an Elminage map.

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1 hour ago, Klatrymadon said:

Just noticed the SF first-person dungeon crawler StarCrawlers is 90% off (£1.49 here) for another couple of days. I haven't spent as much time with it as I'd like but it's an easy recommendation at that price - it has a nice dip-in, dip-out mission-based structure, lots of stuff to do and party synergies to suss out, etc. It's perfect for anyone who's interested in the genre but doesn't have the time to spend several days completely bamboozled by an Elminage map.

That looks really good! I'm going to try it out, thanks for the tip :hat:

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  • 1 month later...

Starcrawlers is decent, but you really have to get lucky with good loot (a lot of the weapons you find will be absolute trash and the shop never has anything good) and take your time to understand how each character's skills complement each other. You also need to grind, because enemies hit hard and your healing options are very limited.

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@moosegrinder You need a team, definitely. I'd say give it a chance once you've got a team in place - there can be something satisfying about setting up an attack chain for big damage - because it does make combat more interesting.

 

With that said, whilst I liked it, you probably have already seen everything the games has to offer in terms of structure (though I did like the fact I could load it up and do a quick couple of missions in not all that much time, meant I could dip in and out in between other games).

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  • 8 months later...
  • 2 months later...

Apparently the English script from the vaporised iOS port of SMT1 is now available in a patch for the GBA version. I'd love to be able to play every non-SFC iteration of the game at some point (I own the PCE CD and PS1 ports despite their being impenetrable to me), so it's nice to realistically be able to dive into one of them sooner than expected.

 

https://twitter.com/romhackingnet/status/1404174998705565700?s=19

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  • 5 months later...

The Steam release/update of Wizardry Gaiden: Itsutsu no Shiren is still on the way, and should be available as an early access title next week!

 

https://store.steampowered.com/news/app/1308700/view/3119303141141300520

 

(It's difficult to keep them all straight in my head but I believe this is the last Gaiden game, and that it comes with an editor for creating your own full-length campaigns.)

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Very nice that this thread got bumped now of all times. The last few weeks I have been absolutely hammering Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux on my 3DS.

When everyone talks about SMT now they often talk about games like Nocturne, IV, the recently released V or spin-off series like Persona but it's only when you start talking to the more hardcore SMT fans that you really get into the series dungeon crawler origins.

 

I know people who have gone back and played translated versions of SMT I & II and they found a lot of enjoyment in them. For someone like me who personally prefers something with some modern quality of life considerations Strange Journey has been a great gateway into that side of the series after playing SMT IV. My 3DS is now full of dungeon crawlers thanks to them going on sale often so once Strange Journey is over I'll still have Devil Summoner Soul Hackers and multiple Etrian Odyssey games to try out.

Also I need to say that I absolutely adore the box art they used for the original DS version of Strange Journey. It's imposing and invites intrigue as it doesn't fit typical RPG conventions.
image.png.43f840f1ccc0270020d731df7877c69e.png

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Excellent choice, Strange Journey is great (and, as you say, has a wonderfully odd cover). I'm really glad you're enjoying some modern(ish) classic dungeon crawlers :)

 

I also commend Soul Hackers as a choice of follow-up; that's my favourite of the SMT spin-offs thanks to really nailing its atmosphere. I honestly think a lot of its success there is due to it being a port from the 32-bit consoles; the setting and the design sensibilities and restrictions of those machines really mesh well, the game exuding an oppressive, clinical sense of wrongness throughout.

 

It says something about it that it's a game that, any time it's mentioned I get the urge to play it again. Even when I'm e.g. having a great time with SMT V/trying to convince myself to give this new Halo lark a go.

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I just finished Strange Journey Redux. Getting through the end game was a bit of an ordeal so I’ll keep it brief with a few thoughts even though there is a lot that can said about the game.

 

1. The game end bosses are brutal and I had to turn the difficulty down. Looking online this game apparently has some of the hardest end bosses in the series and I can believe it.

 

2. The story is bleak and very political. Even the base story from 2009 nails how absolutely doomed the human race’s future is. Alignment is easy to control, got neutral without a guide.

 

3. This version adds new endings on each alignment. My impression is the story writer knew the original neutral ending didn’t actually resolve anything and was a doomed ending so it needed a new ‘good’ ending for reasons that are obvious in the story.

 

4. Mitama’s kinda busted wish I’d figured them out before the endgame. It didn’t click with me at first what they were good for.

 

5. Do everything you can to not miss optional field apps, get them asap the game is significantly better with them. 

 

Hard one to sum up, my rating constantly fluctuated between a 7 & a 9.

 

Part of me wants to jump onto Soul Hackers now but Strange Journey was a 70+ hour ordeal for 1/6 endings and that gets exhausting if you try to burn through it like I just did.

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  • 2 weeks later...
8 hours ago, Klatrymadon said:

Soul Hackers is £4-odd on 3DS at the moment. A steal for possibly the best game in the series, and a highlight of the genre, imo. Treat yourself - it's Christmas!

I’ve been checking 3DS eshop frequently for sales. I already have it but now I can spread the word. Thanks.

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Oh wow my 3DS really choose tonight to break. Power cuts if it is more than half open, guess it finally gave out after I dropped it from the bed and cracked the hinge months ago.

 

Good thing I already have the games so I can system transfer but damn.

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  • 8 months later...
On 29/08/2019 at 18:36, Klatrymadon said:

Yeah, first-person dungeon crawlers are pretty much all I play outside of STGs now.

 

The Dark Spire on the DS is one of my favourites. Most people will probably find it a little too similar to classic Wizardry in terms of its mechanics - it has none of the quality-of-life concerns of something like EO - but I think it's worth playing through even just to look at it.  It has a really unique kind of charioscuro you don't often see in games - I've never seen anything use colour quite like it. Part of this is due to the DS screen itself, I think, which lent itself to a lot of strong visual choices in all of the Atlus dungeon crawlers (e.g. one thing EO, Strange Journey and The Dark Spire all have in common is beautifully crisp fonts - even the menus are a pleasure to look at).

 

 

Cost me an arm and a leg, but I finally have added this to my collection.

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