Dungeon Explorer 2 [Japanese Release]
Starting with one of the best intro sequences you'll ever see on a PC Engine or TurboGrafx-16 game, Dungeon Explorer 2 delivers a storyline of epic proportions wrapped around a very enjoyable action game.
The game plays a lot like the Atari classic Gauntlet, except that it's attached to a deep storyline. You and up to four other players can choose from eight characters, each with his or her own starting attributes and magic spells. Most of the gameplay consists of action shooting sequences reminiscent of Gauntlet, but you can pick up special items along the way to increase your character's attribute levels. This gives you a lot of flexibility in character development, making Dungeon Explorer 2 feel a lot like a traditional role-playing game.
Your initial choice of character has an impact on your initial strategy and approach against monsters, but from there you can develop your character to suit your playing style. In a single-player game, you'll be picking up every item you come across, so the only real opportunity to choose how your character develops is through the upgrade gems. The bard character has the weakest attack power, but is second only to the thief in terms of agility. You could enhance his attacking ability so killing monsters is easier, or you could build on his already impressive agility attribute to make evading enemies even easier, but at the cost of having to hit each enemy more times to kill it. You could even build on his magic ability, which is the third best in the character roster, to make him a magical powerhouse.
In multi-player games, though, things get a bit more interesting, as you have to make a decision as a team on how you want to develop the characters. Do you give the wizard all the attack power-ups so he can contribute more during the levels? Or do you give him the magic power-ups so he can really unleash his magic on the bosses? Enjoyable as the single-player Dungeon Explorer 2 experience is, the multi-player game really shines by requiring players to engage in active teamwork.
Dungeon Explorer 2's graphics are a slight update over those from the original. The characters and monsters are small enough that you can see more of the screen at once, but they all show adequate detailing. Animation and screen-scrolling are quite smooth. Most stages have a lot of lush coloring and look really vibrant, although there are a few places in the game that look plain. When you come across the cinematic sequences, you're treated to beautiful and well-drawn full screen cut-scenes with great voice acting. The in-game music sequences are also great. There's a lot of variety to the tracks, and they all tend to complement the game levels beautifully.
Dungeon Explorer 2 provides a very enjoyable single-player experience with an epic storyline. But its strength is in its great multi-player game. You'll have a game that's a lot of fun when your friends come over but is also enjoyable to play by yourself. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Most of the game has lush coloring, but the characters and monsters are fairly small and only adequately detailed. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
A variety of songs that really complement the levels, plus great voice acting. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Really fun as a single-player experience but great as a multi-player game. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Each of the game's eight characters feel very different, and the upgrade system makes for a lot of replay value. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide
Average documentation. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide