Pitman (aka Catrap) was one, until recently. Painter Momopie was another--as were Noobow and Hoi Hoi (Stop That Roach! in the States) and a whole slew of others.
It makes a good bit of sense that most of the above-mentioned titles avoided catching my attention, of course, as they either were Japan-only affairs or were given such low-key releases in North America that they likely avoided catching the attention of the majority of this continent's GameBoy owners, too.
How on earth, though, did I fail to become aware of Cave Noire until sometime last year, when I read about it on Kimimi's now-defunct blog? (Thankfully, she still can be found over on shinjuforest.blogspot.co.uk--occasionally.)
I mean, it was made and published by Konami, for crying out loud. Granted, the Konami logo doesn't mean a whole lot these days--unless you're a really big Metal Gear or football (soccer) fan--but back in the early 1990s, which is when Cave Noire hit Japanese store shelves, it meant quite a bit to folks who had any interest at all in the hobby known as gaming.
Whatever the reason, I was completely unaware of this portable roguelike until recently, as I just finished saying. As for why that's a shame: well, for starters, its packaging is really awesome--as the photos included above and below should make clear.
Cave Noire's manual is pretty great, too. Unfortunately, I was too lazy to snap more than a single photo (below) of it for this post. (Don't worry, I'm going to devote a "Manual Stimulation" write-up to this sucker soon.)
The real star of the Cave Noire show, though, is its gameplay (check out some video of it here), which is refreshingly unique even today--23 years after it was first released. In fact, I don't think I've ever encountered a roguelike that plays like this one does, as it basically consists of bite-sized chunks of roguelike goodness.
Just like pretty much every example of this niche genre in existence, Cave Noire focuses its attention on the crawling and conquering of dungeons. (I believe the ones here aren't completely randomly generated, as is the case in most roguelikes, although I may be wrong.) Where this portable offering differs from its genre counterparts, though, is that it's broken up into four different dungeons. Two of them task players with collecting various amounts of gold or orbs, one forces them to kill a certain number of enemies and another involves freeing caged fairies. Accomplish the task at hand and you're allowed to exit--after which you're given the choice of diving back in or heading to one of the three other dungeons that are at your disposal.
Most treks take just a few minutes--as in, five or 10--by the way, which makes Cave Noire feel a lot less tedious than some roguelikes I've played. Plus, it's perfect if you have the attention span of a mayfly, as I seem to these days.
Sadly, I'm pretty sure Cave Noire is M.I.A. on all of the 3DS' regional eShops, so the only way to experience it at this point is to track down an actual cart (which shouldn't set you back too much dough) or download the ROM and then play it using your favorite emulator. Whichever option you choose, though, you shouldn't walk away disappointed.
See also: 'What can I say, I've always been a sucker for games that feature enemy flan...'