Review by coocoo66
RPG and beatemup action come together for a great combination
Dungeon Magic, created by Taito in 1993, is an arcade RPG. Yes, RPGs are generally not that common in the arcades, but I always love the results. I have always felt they were meant for each other. Taito has made tons of great arcade games, but beatemups have not historically been their specialty. Enter Dungeon Magic, which has a fine beatemup engine and an RPG feel.
In Dungeon Magic, you choose from 4 different character classes, which include an archer, knight, magician and ninja. Once you choose your character, you are off to save a princess before an evil group of monsters can sacrifice her. Dungeon Magic is part dungeon exploration and part beating up foes. Your characters can gain levels by collecting experience items, and they can also pick up a variety of weapon upgrades. Each character can eventually get a "most-powerful" version of their weapon. As far as moves go, you can jump, dash,grab enemies,or use a charge attack or magic attack. The character you choose determines your style of play.
Dungeon Magic is entertaining because of its good use of different gameplay elements. Your characters have a variety of moves, and their animations are fluid. This is Taito's best beatemup engine, and it measures up to efforts from companies like Konami and Capcom. The dungeons feature many diverging paths and some simple puzzles, and your location is shown on a useful automap. There are several large sections of the game, and you know where a boss is at the beginning. You can either take the quick route or you can look for treasure and experience. Additionally, there are numerous useful secret area. Few arcade games provide this much depth, and the fact that Taito managed to create an adventure like this in a 1-1.5 hour experience is quite a feat. A less primary aspect is the game's story. The story is a typical RPG story, and it is a good amount of story for an arcade game, thought it will not get in the way of the game.
Graphically, Dungeon Magic is solid, characters animate well, and the isometric graphics are well drawn. The music in this game is epic. The riveting music is very fitting for a noble RPG quest.
Controls in Dungeon Magic are competent, though sometimes your character movements are a bit sluggish, and occasionally it is a little tough to align with an enemy to get him in your range. Jumping on platforms is the weakest aspect, but if you are careful, it will not be too problematic.
I have an affinity for arcade-RPGs, and Dungeon Magic brings an RPG experience to the arcade, and it features none of the watering-down we may sometimes see in RPGs. Especially today, arcade manufacturers are afraid to bring in different genres. It seems like arcades(non-Japan ones) are dominated by fighters that take so long to learn, or expensive gadget games. Games like this are why Taito has a cult following. Dungeon Magic will not require tons of quarters if you are skilled, as there are many health refills, and the enemies are not cheap. Just remember to LIMIT THOSE CONTINUES, or this game might seem like a long and boring chore. If you can get some friends together, that will make this game even more fun. So grab some buddies, and go out to save that princess. And if you see original games like this in the arcade, reward those developers with your quarters : )
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Dungeon Magic (US, 12/31/93)
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