Run The Gauntlet: Epic Dungeon Review
By otakuman5000 On 27 May, 2011 At 03:12 PM | Categorized As Indie Spotlight, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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When downloading Epic Dungeon, it is wise to be prepared to give over a good few hours of your life to this game due to it’s addictive qualities.

Epic Dungeon from Eyehook Games, plays like a cross between Legend of Zelda, Gauntlet and an old 8-bit game called Dandy.  It is both a dungeon crawler style RPG but mixes in a blend of action which makes it feel more of an arcade style game than a traditionally more slow paced RPG type.

From the offset you are presented with a choice of four characters to play.  Each character starts out with a special ability but it is possible to rank up skills in other characters ability as you level up in the game.  You can chose from a Beserker whose special ability is a 360 degree weapon swing, a Tinker who can conjure an orb that can attack enemies, a Shaman who can freeze enemies and lastly a Gambler who can poison bad guys.  In addition to ranking up the special abilities, you can also rank up health rejuvenation as well which is highly recommended as Epic Dungeon is not the easiest game to play through.

In addition to ranking up the special abilities, the player can also rank up four standard statistics to enhance the players effectiveness.  These are Attack, Defense, Dexterity and Luck.  Access to ranking these up occurs every time you level up, whereas the special abilities only rank up once every so often.  It is therefore important to pay attention to how you raise the level of these standard statistics as they are going to have more effect on your ability to get through the game.

The moment you enter the dungeon you are besieged by the minions lurking down there.  Starting off with rats and giant spiders in the early levels, you should have little problem in dispatching these annoying critters.  Killing enemies awards you with experience which goes towards leveling you up.  Also some drop gold or useful (and some not so useful items) such as weapons, potions, jewels and armor.  Collected items go into your inventory and you can use these items to upgrade your current weapon and armor load out or alternatively you can trade them in for money at shops dotted around the various levels.  Shops also provide a good place to get the best weapons and armor so it is important to make sure that you keep a good supply of gold handy.

As you progress through the levels the enemies become more dangerous.  Rats and spiders quickly give way to orcs, goblins, skeletons, giant worms, giants and dragons – your typical dungeon fare.  Killing these tougher enemies yields a better experience reward enabling you to level up quicker.  It is worth bearing in mind that these enemies are far more deadly and so getting surrounded by them is not a good idea if you intend to survive through the 50 levels.  If that wasn’t challenging enough you also need to be on the look out for environmental hazards such as poison and lava pits which will sap your health away in next to no time if you are not careful.  In some levels there are also spike pit traps and spikes that shoot out from walls.  This dungeon is not to be taken lightly!

Monster, Treasure and Epic Dungeons!

Occasionally you will come across a portal that will enable you to access a bonus level where you can collect gold coins.  For these levels the view changes from the top down view in the dungeons to a side scrolling platform game.  The screen is constantly scrolling from right to left so you cannot  take your time here.  You need to time your jumps correctly in order to land on the platforms.  Fail to do so and the bonus round is over and you are taken to the next level of the dungeon.

From time to time you will also come across some gold question marks on the dungeon floor.  If you activate one of these you are taken to a text screen which describes the instance you have just activated and gives you a choice of actions to take.  Select the right answer and you may be richly rewarded, the wrong one can throw you in to combat or worse!

Epic Dungeon harks back to the old 8-bit gaming days, not just in the graphical style which is colorful and chunky and NES like but gameplay wise as well.  You have an energy bar which is depleted every time you take a hit from one of the enemies.  This can be replenished either via a health potion or by the health rejuvenation skill which is slowly recovers the players health over time.  The more ranked up this is the faster the heath bar replenishes although it is quickly diminished when the player is hit.  When this energy bar runs out, you die and it’s back to the start of the game.  There are no save points as such although you can save and exit the game.  On the easier difficulty setting you do get one extra life but once that it gone that’s it.  Die and it’s back to the beginning.

At times this can be infuriating especially when it happens in later levels so it is important to keep a close eye on your health.  Don’t take any chances, if your health is running low, use a health potion to heal.

Select Your Abilities Wisely Young Adventurer

Another old school trick is that the bad guys constantly re-spawn throughout the game.  Effectively you can never ‘clear’ a dungeon.  There will always be a constant stream of enemies being thrown at you.  This works both for and against you.  The most obvious way it works for you is early on in the game when the enemies are weaker.  It helps you level up faster and also helps boost your gold and equipment, however later on you can end up getting overwhelmed if you are not too careful.  This can be a minor annoyance, especially when you are trying to explore the dungeons but it is not enough to detract away from the games qualities and I suppose that if it was not there, the game would become a tad boring.

Epic Dungeon lives up to it’s name.  Completing this game really feels like an achievement but the gameplay is so addictive that it will keep you coming back for more.  It implements it’s own achievements as well so there is good replay value to the game too.  This is a brilliant old school dungeon crawler that is both addictive and fun to play and it well worth picking up for the 80 points on X Box Live Indie Games.

About - I am a 44 year old Gamer/Geek/Otaku who has been gaming and watching anime since the late 1970's. I am a passionate otaku who loves all types of games, anime and comics. I have been writing about games since I was a young man. I am an entertainment retail expert and an avid game collector. You can always find me playing or watching something geek related.

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