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I love RPGs... I love love love 'em. I even used to play Dungeons & Dragons - you know, with complicated number tables, sheets of paper, thick hardback rulebooks and d20s (20 sided dice). And not to mention a notepad of graph paper, for easy drawing of dungeon maps.
What's even more tragic, is that when I was 13 I would spend hours preparing dungeons and storylines for my friends to adventure through - and then 30 minutes in to actually playing, the whole game would inevitably collapse as my friends got bored and decided that their characters would slice eachothers fingers off, or wear eachothers clothes, or what have you.
So I've always loved computer RPGs. Because in computer RPGs, you can stay immersed, and don't have to rely on having a group of equally geeky friends to play with!
Deep Labyrinth is a first-person dungeon crawler style RPG, in the same vein as Ultima Underworld. Control is fairly intuitive - the top screen contains the map, and then bottom screen contains the action. The D-pad allows you to navigate around the winding corridors, and the stylus allows for further interactions, as well as melee-combat and of course, casting spells!
Combat is fun, but the more hectic it gets, the more repetitive it gets. Different stylus movements create different attacks, and magic spells can be cast by drawing actually fairly intricate magical symbols on the screen. In a frantic battle this can be quite difficult, and even a magic-lover like myself ended up using the sword most of the time. This is a shame, because the magic effects are pretty cool, and the spells are satisfying to cast - the system is surprisingly deep, and it's a pity that it isn't that beneficial to use it.
There are two different storylines to play through. Both are actually based in the present day, but involve your character (and his dog in one case) getting dragged into some sort of alternative reality. A bit of a change to full fledged swords and sorcery, I guess, although lacking in the 'epic' feel that I usually go for (geekiness showing through...)
The dungeons are, to be honest, a little bit dull. When I compared this game to games such as Ultima Underworld, I meant it - for the most part dungeons are long-winded mazes of meandering corridors, each textured in a bland way. When you're slaying monsters and getting experience, though, this is certainly less noticeable.
The graphics are pretty cool, though. It's all geniune 3D, and they really stand out during boss fights. Some bosses take up 2 screens, and they're all nicely detailed and well animated - the whole '2 screen' thing is perhaps a cliched DS technique by now, but it always appeals to me!
Overall, for an RPG fan I think this is a fun way to spend a week or so. It's not really a 'must-have' though, as some of the gameplay is a little bit repetitive, and some of the environments are dull. However first person RPGs are rare on the DS, so ESPECIALLY if you've played some of the retro ones like Ultima Underworld, I would recommend at least having a go at Deep Labyrinth.
A boy and his dog, a drive through the countryside, a mysterious castle?and an epic adventure. Explore a world populated by magical creatures and monstrous foes. Descend, if you dare, into the dark heart of the Deep Labyrinth!