Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Manual Stimulation: Dungeon Explorer (PC Engine)

Dungeon Explorer is one of those PC Engine (or TurboGrafx-16, if that's how you swing) games I've always wanted to own, always thought I should own, but only recently picked up.

Why the long wait? The main reason, I guess, is that I've long thought of this Hudson-made Gauntlet clone as one that's only enjoyable when multiple people are playing it at the same time. (Dungeon Explorer famously allows five people to play through it together--assuming they have a multi-tap accessory and five PC Engine or TG-16 controllers.)

I still feel that way, actually, but a month or so ago I plopped down a few dollars on a used complete-in-box copy of Dungeon Explorer anyway because I went on a bit of an eBay binge and couldn't resist this game's top-tier cover art (see above) when I came across it.

It has to be said, by the way, that I didn't realize the content of Dungeon Explorer's instruction manual was on par with--or even better than--its cover illustration.

I especially like the grittiness of the art sprinkled throughout this HuCard's manual. Most manuals from this era featured art that was decidedly cute. Here, though, it's almost gruesome--or at least it's not as polished as what's on offer in the manuals that accompanied similar titles.

That the imagery showcased in Dungeon Explorer's instruction booklet is in black and white adds to its appeal, in my mind. That's not to say I would've minded if its designers had added a bit of color here and there, but I'm also not about to complain about its current look.

If you're looking for my favorite of this manual's many drawings, by the way, check out the squished, chibi-esque character illustrations seen in the spread below.

That said, I find the following illustrations of some of the game's enemies pretty thrilling, too.

Will all of this prompt me to get off my lazy butt and finally spend some real quality time with Dungeon Explorer? That's the current plan.

Of course, I have quite a few other games begging for my attention right now--like the 3DS remake of Dragon Quest VII, the just-released 3DS eShop title Chase: Cold Case Investigations, the Pokémon Sun/Moon demo and even Great Greed for GameBoy--so fitting it in this week or weekend may be tough. Still, I'll do my best to play at least a bit of it in the next seven days or so.

In the meantime, have any of you played either the Japanese or North American version of Dungeon Explorer? If so, what do you think about it?

See also: previous 'Manual Stimulation' posts

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