Nightmare of Druaga: Fushigino dungeon

November 23, 2004

[floatleft][/floatleft]I do not pretend to be a saint. We started Snackbar with creating a large community in mind-something for the people. Call it an investment in karma, or what have you. We often get a few thanks, and it gives us warm fuzzies. We dig it. But you must take the good with the bad; the bad being we have to review some terrible games from time to time. Thus, I began playing [i]The Nightmare of Druaga[/i], and thus I began hating video games that much more.

One would assume that game developers take formulas that have been proven to work in the past and build on them to achieve innovation. At the very least, game developers can stick to a proven formula to at least achieve mediocrity. More often then not, we are privileged with games that are mailed in from the get-go-this game is a shining example of one of those games.

[heading]It’s all in the gameplay-ahhh, who am I kidding?[/heading]

It is hard to pinpoint an exact moment when the game got bad; I think it was, however, around the first five minutes. You are treated to some dialog then venture forth to the meat and potatoes of the game: dungeon crawling, with an emphasis on the word crawling. The dungeon crawling is based on a grid system where you guide the hero from square to square. You must guide the hero from area to area, finding keys and items along the way. Finding these items is the real incentive in progressing. You get some fancy weapons and items that give you some advantages in battle, or cool actions you can execute. Most of it is pretty tame against the standards of today’s video games. Did I mention this game sucks?

[floatright][/floatright]You will, of course, encounter monsters along the grid and fight them in a turn-based hit fest. We are talking the most simple of systems as you literally exchange attacks back and forth until either you or the monster emerges victorious. Should you in fact die in one of these dramatic battles, it will cost you everything you have found. You cannot just up and save to preserve your goods-the game has a way of making sure you don’t. Trust me on that one. Once the monsters are taken care of, you must find the key and move on. Mix this formula and repeat until you beat the game, assuming you stick around that long.

[heading]Circa 1998[/heading]

The game’s character design brings me back to a time when games such as these were flooding the market. Developers and publishers were quick to release just about anything, and this is a terrible reminder of those less than perfect times. Slightly anime inspired with a twist of fantasy is the call for the day. The animation is as good as your little guy hitting a monster with his weapon. Some bells and whistles include some shallow particle effects for when you execute an ability, the lighting effects that reveal the wondrous surroundings of yet another dungeon, and finally the amazing sound effects as you hit a monster and wait for him to hit you back.

[floatleft][/floatleft][heading]You have been warned. But you kids don’t pay attention to warnings anymore.[/heading]

Time for a bit of honesty: I was so unimpressed by this game that I had a few movies playing on my computer as I trudged through playing the game enough to get a good feel for a review. I did not stick around to beat it; I had plenty of other things to do. Namco has been good to us with some of its better published titles, but this is a no-brainer. Do not even waste your valuable time in thought pondering whether to rent this game or-worse yet-purchase it. The only reason I could think of someone wanting to test the waters is the fact that you enjoy being tortured with monotonous, simple gameplay shelled onto a disc and sent out to the masses. Besides, you kids play to many games, mix in a book every so often, or at least an RPG with the words [i]Fantasy[/i] and [i]Final[/i] in the title, but not necessarily in that order.