READ! READ! Or something like that.
"Out From Under The Rug"

-By Stephen Kelley-
-Presented by DMG
-Originally published 10/25/2006-
-Presented 04/20/2007-

Well…..well, long time no see!  It seems that my column got wrapped up in a little thing called “life” that pretty much has eaten up all of my free time.  That does not mean that I have not been gaming at all.  I have basically been glued to my DS lately, and with the insane amount of games coming out lately, I have to choose wisely in order to not get too swept up in the flood of games.

A game I have recently picked up was “Deep Labyrinth” for the DS. DL is a game that I feel has been unjustly swept under the rug, where it should not be.  The game is not spectacular, but I think a bit of bad press has pretty much sabotaged its success.  All of the sudden when I started asking about this game many people would say something like “Oh! That cell phone game, X-play said it sucked.”  I special ordered it anyway, and apparently they made such small quantities, that I had trouble obtaining it.  Truth be told, the main reason I wanted it was because I trust Altus quite a bit as a game company which is more than I can say about many game companies.

What apparently happened is that X-play crapped on the game mercilessly, and their entire “review” was basically saying “It’s a direct cell phone port, and it sucks.”  What actually sucks, is that people are listening to G4s blatant lies.  I am not sure who did the research on the show, but DL started out as a phone game, a VERY successful phone game, I might add.

Deep Labyrinth is notable for being the first 3D RPG released on Cell phones in Japan.  It was a no brainer that it would end up on either the GBA or the DS just because of its nature.  The cell phone game featured only one of the scenarios found in the DS version.  In fact, the cellphone story is more of a bonus than anything. 

The DS port included reworking the control scheme to work with the DS's touch screen and the Shawn and Ace scenario. As a result of being made exclusively for the DS, the Shawn and Ace scenario features more extensive use of the DS's fuctionality, including microphone support and more creative uses of the touch screen, than the original scenario, such as blowing on the microphone to open a secret passage.  The Shawn and Ace scenario also has anime cinematics created for it that the original did not have.

What X-play did would be like me trashing on Ninja Gaiden for the X-box by saying “it has no original content, and is an exact port of the NES game”, just because there is a port of the original on there.

Now that I have set the record straight, Deep Labyrinth has some issues that keep it from being really good, but it’s enjoyable.  DL is the only hand held game in a while to play somewhat similar to old first person dungeon crawlers that used to thrive on the PC.  These RPGs are what eventually became favorites like “Morrowind” and “Oblivion”. 

I remember really loving games like “unlimited Adventures” that were insanely easy to pick up, had lackluster storylines, and simple graphics, but delivered to the nth degree with fun.  The exploration was always huge, and you always had a good time playing.  For this, the main problem I see with Deep Labyrinth is that it came 10 years too late. 

But, that is the beauty of the DS.  It seems that developers have really embraced the system because it picks up “dead” genres like text based adventures or surgery simulators and breathes new life into them. 

DL has two very distinct stories:

The first is the story I referred to as the “Shawn and Ace scenario.”  It tells the story of a boy named Shawn who, while driving with his parents happen upon a mysterious house.  His parents have been quarreling lately and Shawn fears the worst.  His dog Ace is clearly upset by something inside the mansion, and leaps out of the car to investigate. Shawn's parents follow Ace, but don't return. Shawn follows only to be drawn into another dimension where a monster is feeding on dreams and memories. 

The second, and original Cellphone, story Involves a troubled man talking on his cell phone, who gets sucked into a warp hole. He awakens in a labyrinth, and needs to get out. As he journeys through, he is forced to reconcile the past, and realize what it is that traps him in the labyrinth.

  • Exploration is fun!
  • Really colorful.
  • Not bad 3-d graphics reminiscent of Playstation 1.
  • Simplified inventory system.
  • Magic system is rewarding.

  • Some “features” seem tacked on, like blowing in the mic.
  • The story is kind of weak.
  • Touch control isn’t perfect.
  • A tad repetitive, like any dungeon crawler.
  • The more colorful characters sometimes make you wonder what the developers were smoking.

While I can not recommend Deep Labyrinth to everyone out there, I will say that it is not as bad as G4 would like you to think.  If you were ever a fan of exploration games, and don’t mind some clunky controls, this game may be one to check out.

-Editorial by Stephen Kelley-
-Property of