Dungeon Explorer, one of the few multi-player games for the Sega CD, is considered in some gamers' eyes to be a classic on the Turbo GraphX system, but in my mind it is a huge failure.
The idea of multi-player in an RPG is a darn good one. When implemented correctly you have a masterpiece (such as Square's Secret of Mana series); however, when used incorrectly you have a complete disaster (such as Dungeon Explorer).
Dungeon Explorer's game layout is a very odd one. Instead of having an over world map (like Mana) everything is right near each other, heck the bosses place is right above you at the beginning, but you can't get to it until you've beat all the dungeons (there aren't very many). You start out at a hut where you can select your character from among such classes as ninja, beastman, knight, etc. Then, on the same screen there is a weapon shop (the only one argh!) and then below this screen there are different paths and each path leads to a different dungeon and that's the whole game layout. Pretty crappy, huh? They must have spent 5 dollars planning that layout *sigh*.
After getting over the major disappointment of the layout I started to play the game and found out quick that it was just as horrible. Where do I begin, everything is so awful in the game I can't think of a starting point? Oh well, I'll try my best.
Dungeon Explorer's story is weak, deathly weak. It revolves around a group of warriors who want to make it through the dungeons so the goddess of ambition will grant them a wish. That's it!?! Yep that's it, and there is no dialog between dungeons (or ever for that matter) to further an already boring story line. And since there's no dialog it goes without saying that character development is 0. The combination of 0 dialog and 0 character development is the recipe for an F in my book.
The graphics in Dungeon Explorer are terrible as well even by the Sega CD's somewhat low standards, they still smell rotten. I have played early Genesis games with better graphics. There is no sharpness at all in the backgrounds and very grainy, if any, detail to the characters or the enemy's. The backgrounds are boring and common with little flare and the dungeons are colorless and way too simple looking. And the cut scenes are a far off, grainy view of each dungeon for 3 seconds. Wow I'm impressed! The overall graphics are pathetic and nothing about the graphics makes you want to play the game, very sad.
As for the sound and music in Dungeon Explorer, don't make me laugh, Stephen King couldn't write a paragraph on it, it's disgraceful. In a nut shell it's a bleep here and a bleep there, here a bleep there a bleep everywhere a bleep-bleep. How was that for an explanation? Ok, so maybe its not that bad, but if the music in Dungeon Explorer was replaced with silence I wouldn't complain.
Gameplay *fights back laughter* is a total joke from top to bottom. The only cool concept this game has is that it's multi-player and you can choose from a bunch of different classes. When you (and your friends) choose a character you aren't stuck with that character for the whole game, if you want to change your character just go back to your hut and pick another. Now, if your friend wanted to play as that character all he would have to do is pick him at the hut and he would be that character and be at the level you left that character at. Very cool, too bad that feature is on this crappy game.
Most of Dungeon Explorer is played in Dungeons (duh!) there are no towns or lands to explore like in other RPG's. Nope, just plain old dungeons. In order to get to the dungeons you have to take one of the paths leading off the main road, and, after you do that, you'll have to go though about 2-3 screens to get the actual dungeon. Along the way you can kill monsters to get exp. and level up. Leveling up is very easy because enemies generate from a little ball somewhere on the screen, so the baddies keep coming until you destroy the little ball (it's very strange, all of the enemies are like that). Anyway, after you get to the dungeon you go though it, get some gold, some items, keys and beat it. And you just keep doing that 'til you beat the game *yawn*. Like I said before it's painfully below average to play and even worse to look at.
If you're looking for a bargain game to play on your Sega CD this is not one I'd recommend. The only person I would recommend this game to is someone who wants to get a lot of friends together and have a real good laugh. In my opinion that's all this little stinker is good for.