Let’s talk about Data East for a second. I consider Data East one of the greatest video game developers to ever exist. This is because they made two of the greatest game ever made. Karnov and Trio the Punch: Never Forget Me.
Karnov is a game about soviet strong man who breathes fire and goes on an adventure for no reason, and Trio the Punch is a game that defies reason and explanation. Google it.
The reason these are great games is because they were made without the involvement of anyone from marketing. I doubt Data East had a marketing department. No one pitched Trio the Punch and there was no target demographic for Karnov.
People made these games because they felt like it. Legend of Dungeon is a game like that.
The game is a Rouge-like which I guess means the game is like Rogue which is a game almost no one has ever played, yet somehow it continues to influence game development pretty much across the board because it’s full of a bunch of really cool ideas.
If you find yourself in a room full of game developers, but suddenly feel the incredible urge to be in a room full of liars, ask how many people play Rogue-likes.
If that doesn’t work then ask how many people like board games, but if someone uses the word analog-game in a sentence then you’re going to have to kill them to restore balance to the universe. It might seem a bit harsh, but that’s just how it goes. I don’t make the rules.
Anyway, Legend of Dungeon is a Rogue-like. This means that dungeons are randomly generated and there’s perma-death. There is no saving, there are no continues. There is only the endless black and the still silence of death.
When you die, you state the whole game over. Everything is new and different. Two things happen, either you realize that this is a game of infinite replayability or you realize that you have just lost everything. This will depend largely on your own character.
Legend of Dungeon differentiates itself from other Rouge-likes in two ways. It’s played from a side scrolling perspective, and it’s weird as shit. How weird is shit? There’s a coffee cup that makes you run faster. It doesn’t make you faster when you drink it. You can’t drink it. You just hold it, and you can run faster.
I also found a skull that fired skull projectiles, but also sometimes fired cats. The cats didn’t do anything, but when I picked them and tried to use them, I wore them like a hat. This didn’t do anything either. Since there were no stat bonuses for wearing a cat, I put my birthday cake back on. Also, this one time I found a pen. It was mightier than any sword I have found thus far, and when you drink potions you will sometimes vomit rainbows.
There’s also procedurally generated music. The game strings together a bunch of trance and techno beats while taking into account your current situation with regard to how deep you are in the dungeon, your current condition and the number of enemies on screen. I can’t say too much about because it was mostly faded into the background of my mind, but when I did notice it, it was rather great.
There are things I didn’t like about the game namely the inventory system. You have to scroll through it one item at a time. This become rather bothersome when you have a lot of stuff and you need one particular thing. It’s annoying.
Legend of Dungeon has personality. I have no idea why you regain most of your health by eating disturbing amounts of apples, or why there are some many cats when the cats don’t do anything, but I’d put money on one or both of the games developers have a dangerous fondness for apples and a deep abiding fondness for cats.
On a final note, the developers of Legend of Dungeon sold their house and moved into a solar paneled tree house so they could work on their game full time. I want you to remember that the next time you hear some big AAA developer like talk about making sacrifices. I bet they’ve never considered a tree house.