RPG Review #114: Deep Dungeon 3

You know what the deal with this now. I said I would do a trio of games called Deep Dungeon and I'm on the third iteration, the first one that is not on the Famicom Disk System, but on the NES itself, Deep Dungeon: Yūshi he no Tabi (The Journey to the Hero). So let's see how we did. Or rather, WHAT WENT HORRIBLY WRONG WHEN I PLAYED IT!

Gameplay: Deep Dungeon 3 offers multiples of stuff now. We have explorable towns, something that was never in the previous games. It also features more than one party member, and you can recruit others in the dungeons as well, each with classes of Hunter, Priest, or Wizard. That being said, they also have magic spells and MP now, and you can learn more in certain town locations for a price, along with item and equipment shops. You then get to fight multiple enemies now, in a 3x3 square with the front row usually taking up all the hits (except the hunter who can hit other rows with ranged weapons, as well as spells being cast). Unfortunately there's Final Fantasy I-style combat in this case, right down to the "attack an empty space" issue. But perhaps my biggest grievance with this game is HOW combat goes, the evasion rates are skewed again, except well in the enemy's favor. High evasion enemies can avoid being hit by all four members of my party for basically the whole battle. Spells are somehow worse because they almost always fail. Enemy offensive spells always fail against me for some reason, while my spells have a dumb tendency to fail a lot. The worst case are the buff spells which are supposed to be used for bigger fights, but NEVER WORK FOR SOME REASON. WHAT GIVES THERE? There is actually no magic stat besides MP, which makes me wonder if that's the case behind it. But boss fights are impossible without cheating thanks to the weird mechanics.

The dungeons themselves are pretty much the same thing as before, first-person perspective, you can stay in place and an enemy can come to you. A few neat things like using a rope ladder to go two floors below and then a lamp to light up the darker areas are neat, but that's about it. You do get gold after battles this time around as well, something you couldn't do back then. There's one final insulting mechanic this game has (one that's fixed in the fan translation, but somehow the translation creates a number of other problems I mentioned above), and that is there is a chance the character can "fumble" and somehow drop their weapon IN BATTLE. BUT WHY? This game needs to be playable properly. Grade: D-

Plot: Again, skipping characters because guess what, there's no characterization. Your main character is a travelling swordsman, a young boy from a small village who wanted to be as courageous as the protagonist from the first Deep Dungeon game. He journeys to Deiriju, sleeping in an inn along the way and a storm comes, walls come up, the town he's in is isolated, and a random guy dies but mentions the underground is full of monsters. That's pretty much the gist of it. How boring.

So from the first town you go through the underground, get a hint to go to the next town, deal with the tower and its main guardian, then get a fancy tablet and a ball of light, go to a cave, fight the underworld leader and get a ball of darkness. Then you go to the castle. You find the king, find out the princess has gone crazy, then go to snap her out of it, then finally defeating a very textbook big bad evil guy and that's it. Wow, even the plot is very standard. Grade: C

Music: Well what can I say, the different floor themes are always nice, and the town theme is too. The battle theme I can easily do without though. It's the WORST one, almost sounds like nothing but random noise, plus it resets after spells are cast for some dumb reason. When even the music is bad, the game is bad too. Grade: D+

Overall Grade: D+

This is perhaps the lowest rated game I have played since #21, and that says quite a lot. It gives way to good improvements but nets more frustration than fascination and that ultimately made this insufferable to go through. Was it because of the fan translation actually modifying certain things for the worse I wonder?