Back to the Labyrinth Again

Etrian Odyssey – I know they did a remake of this a few years back, but I just started playing the original, which I’ve had for a while now. It’s an old-school sort of dungeon crawler in many ways, at least so far focusing on exploration of a labyrinth full of monsters and treasures instead of plot.

It’s also a bit on the frustrating side, as while you can restore your health and revive dead party members, it takes kind of a lot of money, and the costs go up as you raise your levels. And killing monsters doesn’t directly give you money, which I guess makes more logical sense, as why would a giant hare or nasty deer be carrying around currency? Instead, you get various items, and you can sell them at the store in town. One difficulty I’ve found is that this means you don’t know whether you’re going to earn enough money to heal your party, or whether you have to go back into the labyrinth again with a weakened group. I do like that the shopkeeper sometimes uses the raw materials you bring her to make new items. It gives more of a sense of how your exploration affects the local economy.

I’m not sure what kind of accent that’s supposed to be, but I like her.
You can also take on various quests that result in rewards. You can custom-make your party, in terms of which classes you include, what they look like (to an extent, anyway; you have a few choices for each class), what skills you choose to raise.

I was going into it without much knowledge, but I did try to balance out my party somewhat. I’m using a protector, a landsknecht, a dark hunter, an alchemist, and a hexer, those last two being basically this game’s version of white and black mages. Another old-fashioned aspect to the game is that you have to make your own maps, although you do so in-game instead of on paper. In fact, your first mission is to completely map out the opening part of the labyrinth. I’m a little confused as to how to use some of the icons, but I did eventually meet the guard’s standards.

There are certain particularly dangerous monsters that are visible on the map, and they’re able to take turns moving when you do, even counting in-battle turns. They often take a set path that you can try to avoid, but sometimes you just can’t get away from them. I was able to defeat a few of these on the first two levels of the labyrinth, albeit with at least one party member dying each time; but one on the third totally kicked my ass. That’s as far as I’ve gotten as of yet.

In terms of other video game playing I’ve done recently, I did get through a bit more of Final Fantasy IX, but I haven’t been able to reach Esto Gaza. I’m sure I’ll get back to it at some point, but I don’t have as much computer time now that I’m working again. I’ve also been playing The Sims 4, which remains a time-suck, but an entertaining one. It’s rather more relaxing than the original Sims, although there are some bugs involved with the interactive careers.

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