Okay, so I couldn’t just leave it at that with regard to Dragon Quest VIII, so here’s another set of screenshots showing later in the game. In particular: the Dragovian Trials – an unlockable quest in which you take on a series of ever more powerful dragons, for unique rewards at the end of the game.
There is no doubting that this 2004 release from Square Enix is the best JRPG on the PlayStation 2. At least, in my mind.
Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King is a colourful and detailed re-imagining of the Dragon Quest franchise, with Cel-Shaded graphics and tons of monsters – many of them familiar – to fight it out with in turn-based combat.
This is the one: Dungeon Master – the Atari ST original. One of the best games ever made, and probably my favourite game of all time…
Developed by FTL Games and released in 1987, Dungeon Master redefined what Role-Playing Games were – and video games in general – by combining real-time gameplay with a perfect balance of simplicity and complexity. Dungeon Master is easy to play, but difficult to master, and the atmosphere created by the graphics and sound effects is still quite brilliant, even now, some 30 years after release.
As a ‘dungeon crawler’, Dungeon Master is a non-stop roller-coaster ride through waves upon waves of killer monsters. The fact that you rarely get the chance to rest (the monsters follow you, some can open doors, and others will run away when they are threatened), is testament to the game’s amazing design.
Dungeon Master was ported to many other platforms, and some might argue that the PC DOS version is the best, but I’m sticking with the original ST version. It was the biggest selling game on the system by far (probably something to do with the game’s innovative copy protection, as much as the game’s quality), and showed that the Atari ST was more than capable of hosting killer apps.
Crypt of the NecroDancer is a smart modern, Indie retro game that crosses rhythm game mechanics with rogue-like dungeon-crawling. And it works extremely well and is a lot of fun to play. Crypt of the NecroDancer is like Ultima, but played to the beat of an Abba tune…
Graphically and sonically, Crypt of the NecroDancer is fantastic, with great pixel artwork, characterful enemies, and some varied, foot-tapping tunes. Sure: the music is a little bit “Ibiza Anthems” at times, but you can actually use your own music with it if you like (or at least: try to – it’s a bit hit and miss what will work and what won’t).
Even better: if the rhythm/dancing aspect of the gameplay bothers you, you can turn it off – in Bard Mode – and play the game like a regular Rogue-like adventure. And as one of those: it is one of the very best. In fact: there are so many unlockables and play modes (and achievements related to them), that this game is bound to keep any budding adventuring dancer occupied for quite a while. There’s even a local Co-op Mode for multiple players.
Crypt of the NecroDancer was developed by Brace Yourself Games and first released in 2015.