Format reviewed: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
Submitted by: Matt Gander
If looks could kill, Sega’s Fatal Labyrinth would be – pun fully intended – fatal. In fact, if somebody saw this running in the window of Rumbelows back in 1991 they’d probably think that the Mega Drive was no more powerful than the NES or Master System.
Sadly, Sega hadn’t focused their attention on gameplay instead of graphics – it played as bad as it looked. The dungeons were randomly generated so it was down to pure luck if you got floors (read: levels) with next to no enemies or with plenty of powerful weapons. Combat was similarity random and also mindless, requiring no skill whatsoever. Simply walk into an enemy and then continue to walk into them to cause damage. Hit points and damage taken were shown at the bottom of the screen, accompanied by an ear offending sound effect.
Even early enemies could kill in just a few hits, meaning that you’d spend more time avoiding enemies then engaging in combat. Like in most RPGs gold could be collected but there were no shops to splash the cash on. Instead, nondescript hero Trykaar received a better funeral once he had snuffed it. Easily the best idea in the game by a long shot.
It was fortunate for Mega Drive owners that a decent RPG wasn’t far behind – Shining in the Darkness was released the same year and showed the world how an RPG should be done.