CGRundertow FATAL LABYRINTH for Sega Genesis Video Game Review

Uploaded by CGRundertow on 05.11.2012

Sega were chameleons, back in the day. They could make platformers. They could make shooters.
They could make amazing tactical RPGs... and then that division broke off and became Camelot.
It should not have shocked me in the least that they’d try their hand at a roguelike.
No, what shocked me was that apparently, this game was originally part of an online multiplayer
system - for the GENESIS - that nearly made it to the states but was scuttled at the 11th
hour. Apparently, this port in the back, absent from later hardware revisions, could be outfitted
with a whopping 2400 baud modem (you heard me right) and used to play games like Sonic
Eraser - a re-branded Columns-esque puzzle game - and a series of eight text-based prequels
to Phantasy Star II. Oh, and Fatal Labyrinth.
As far as roguelikes go, this one’s fairly by-the-book. You move around, pick up stuff,
wear it, use it, or fling it at hostiles, who are distributed liberally about a randomly-generated
map. And then there are stairs and - in the greatest deviation from the standards of the
genre - you go UP. I know! Mind officially blown. Of course, this allows for pits to
drop you backward a level if you happen to stumble into them. Combat is handled by trying
to walk into enemies, until one of the two of you falls over... or, if you’re using
the sometimes-testy analog controls, you just keep doing donuts around your foe, catching
the occasional punch up the bracket. If you’ve ever played a roguelike, from Rogue itself
all the way down to Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, you’ll immediately be familiar with the
mechanics and you’ll soon be working your way through floor after floor, pausing only
to shove meat into your face. Unfortunately, as I learned the hard way, overeating can
lead to sluggishness (stupid mysterious dungeon tryptophan) and eventually death. IT’S A
I reiterate the first half of that last statement: It’s A dungeon. One dungeon, thirty floors.
That’s all there is to the game. And for the first ten floors, you’re going to be
seeing the same terrain tiles and hearing the same music over and over and over again.
And I wish I had more footage of the higher floors to show you, but unfortunately I was
kinda overrun so I let my instincts kick in... and I headed IMMEDIATELY for the bag of gold,
which it turns out was a mimic anyway. It would only be later that I’d realize that,
since you never actually get back out to the town, there’s no way to SPEND gold at all.
Apparently it’s only there to buy you a better funeral when you die. That’s awfully
cynical. And frankly, I commend them for it. I certainly won’t try to justify this game
as a retail release, though. Not even if they gave me more ninja and robots. I’m used
to ninja in my roguelikes, anyway. (Well, all right, I’m used to NINJASK in my roguelikes.)
As a side-dish on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, it’s a fine starchy vegetable
to the meatyness of a Vectorman or Comix Zone.