Fatal Labyrinth (Genesis) review
"The scene opens in a small village set in the shadow of a huge castle; the castle Dragonia no less. Ghouls have come forth from this edifice and stole the holy goblet from the village, and so condemning the world to darkness. Panic is spreading around the town and residents are worried they won’t be able to hang their laundry out no more. So you have been chosen to venture forth into the castle to retake this goblet, and then slay the dragon that sits stop the tallest tower for good measure. "
The scene opens in a small village set in the shadow of a huge castle; the castle Dragonia no less. Ghouls have come forth from this edifice and stole the holy goblet from the village, and so condemning the world to darkness. Panic is spreading around the town and residents are worried they won’t be able to hang their laundry out no more. So you have been chosen to venture forth into the castle to retake this goblet, and then slay the dragon that sits stop the tallest tower for good measure.
The castle itself seems a small place at first, with no obvious exits from the room you are in. There could be a monster in there, or a weapon on the floor maybe, but no way out in sight. A quick search of the walls (possibly after disposing of the nasties) will often uncover a passageway or an adjoining room however. As you explore further, you’ll take in the bland decor, combining stone and slate in a quite unimpressive manor. Warm to it if you can however as it never changes. All this makes up one of the thirty floors you must conquer, finding the stairway up to the next on each. Though there is much to be found within these walls, hundreds of monsters lie in wait to send you to an early grave.
These monsters are an unsurprising bunch consisting of bats, slime and wizards of varying sorts, not to mention dragons later in your quest. The fairly small selection repeats itself over as you progress, sporting a new colour each time. As uncomplicated as this lot are however, the method for disposing of them is simpler. The button-less process consists of walking into your adversary where you slug it out until one of you is dead, (unless you choose to run of course). In this tete-a-tete, you’ll throw whatever you have at each other (and any other monsters in the equation) while you status bar at the bottom keeps you up to date on the damage being dealt. Though somewhat fitting, the whole system seems lacking both technically and in terms of any excitement.
Of course, you needn’t just rely on your trusty sword or whatever else you have entrusted your life to. Many things lay strewn on the floors of this castle including rings, scrolls, magic canes and potions which you can use to your advantage. Rings can boost your armour or healing rate, whist the magic canes can deal elemental damage to an enemy. Certain scrolls will power up a weapon of choice and potions can heal you to full strength. While all this is well and good, you don’t actually know what something does until it is used. Only the items colour will let you know for future use. Eventually, what will happen (and it will), is that you’ll used a cursed item resulting in something unpleasant. Luckily, most wear off or can be reversed!
While all this seems fun over the first few levels, it all becomes quite repetitive after a bit. By the time you are half way through the castle you’ll have grown bored. If you ever make it to the later levels, you will still be following the same routine albeit with tougher monsters. The fact that the floors are randomly generated making each game different has become a mere insignificance. By the time you reach the tower (labyrinth eh?) you’ll have lost the will to go on and won’t care if you find that bloody goblet or not.
Let them wither in their eternal darkness I say!
Community review by djy8c (December 30, 2004)
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