Friday, August 17, 2018

Manual Stimulation: Double Dungeons (PC Engine)

I pretty much ignored first-person dungeon-crawlers until I tackled the original Etrian Odyssey back in 2007 or so.

Given my love of RPGs, that probably seems a bit odd. So what's the deal? I'm not sure, to tell you the truth. I've never really thought about why I tend to avoid (even today) first-person dungeon-crawlers. The only reason I can come up with at the moment is I like seeing my party members.

Did all of that change after I played and loved Etrian Odyssey? Not exactly--which is to say I still vastly prefer more traditional (Japanese) RPGs to these labyrinth-obsessed offshoots.

What prompted me to pick up Double Dungeons, a 1989 release that's about as "labyrinth obsessed" as you can get?

The main reason is I was on a real PC Engine kick when I picked up the copy that gave me access to the manual you see here. Also, it was dirt cheap, which always helps.

It's a good thing this HuCard can be picked up on the cheap, too, as it's not exactly the most stunning dungeon-crawler around.

Sure, Double Dungeons offers up an intriguing gimmick--two people can explore a level simultaneously (although not side by side, sadly)--but most who try it won't find it thrilling enough to overcome the title's otherwise-dull gameplay and graphics.

Still, you've got to give developer Masaya credit for attempting something unique with this typically staid genre.

You've also got to give credit to the artists and designers who worked on Double Dungeons' instruction manual.

It makes buying a complete copy of this game well worth the price of admission, as you're likely now aware.

I'm especially fond of the backdrop that frames Double Dungeons' story on the manual's second page.  I also like the strangely sweet illustrations that sit in the corners of pages four and seven.

Line drawings of the title's enemies would've made the package even more appealing than it already is, in my opinion, but that ship sailed long ago.

Plus, the folks who pieced together the Double Dungeons how-to booklet included the requisite--for me, at least--depictions of the game's items and accessories (see pages 14 and 15, above), so you won't hear me complaining too loudly about it being a stinker.

What do you think of this edition of "Manual Stimulation"? Is it the most delicious thing you've ever seen, or is it a total dud?

See also: 'the best PC Engine game manuals (I've seen)'