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Dungeon Hunter (MSX)


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Dungeon Hunter was made by ASCII in 1989 for the MSX. It is a horror themed game in which the player walks freely around in 3 randomized maze like levels. Every level has several rooms which are filled with enemies. The aim in every level is to first get a key and then fight a boss. Key and boss can be found by luck in one of the rooms, but their locations are usually obtained by fighting enemies inside the rooms without using bombs, which causes them sometimes to drop a note, which then marks the relevant position on the map. Big enemies which chase the player are displayed on the map as yellow dots.


The map can be studied in two versions by shooting on the bottom left corner of the screen when no enemy is present. Shooting the same position while enemies are on the screen will cause the player to throw a bomb. Movement is done by shooting at one of the three movement boxes on the bottom. The player uses a semi automatic weapon with an infinite magazine but limited stock of ammunition. Ammunition is replenishing slowly over time. Overall Ammunition is scarce and therefore it is a major part of the game to watch the amount of remaining bullets and recharge in safe spots. If there is no safe spot the player may change directions in a dedicated manner to restock ammunition, as small enemies disappear and respawn when changing the orientation.


Sometimes enemies drop items when dying, such as health, ammunition, armor and bombs. The armor takes one hit and then disappears. The bombs are screen clearing weapons. A limited amount of continues lets the player restart form the beginning of the current level when dying. The boss fights are rather intense. Therefore I recommend to stock sufficient armor, health, bombs and ammunition before entering the boss rooms.


Personally I really like the game. The graphical presentation and the music are well made. The variety of enemies, the level randomization and the scoring system all ensure the game's replay value. The game is more on the difficult side, but I think this is adequate considering its short length. I think ASCII had a talent to produce unusual and creative light gun titles which were very solid games nevertheless. Best to my knowledge Dungeon Hunter was the first light gun game which allowed the player to navigate freely through 3D environments. The idea was picked up again three years later by Trojan with their game Cyber Assault. The genre got popular with the game Resident Evil Survivor in 2000 and later got its most impressive representative with Time Crisis 4 in 2007.


The game's label is beautifully drawn and represents the game very well.