Dungeon Explorer on Turbografx 16

in #gaming3 months ago

When I was writing my past blog about this i realized that there were so many more games that I wanted to talk about for this system. Despite the fact that TG-16 was wildly unpopular in the USA I feel as though it was actually better than Genesis and SNES in a number of ways.

If they had just had more buttons on the controller, and thus enabled more complex titles, I feel that the system would have fared a lot better. Even though many of the games were much better than their Sega and Nintendo counterparts, they severely limited themselves via lack of buttons. For example: Street Fighter 2 actually did exist on the TG-16. The arcade version of this game has 6 buttons but the Turbografx controller only had 2 buttons... how is that gonna work? We'll it's simple: It didn't work.

But here is one of the games that I really did feel like it worked and was one of my favorites of the entire USA library for TG-16.

Dungeon Explorer

I will admit that a great deal of my affinity towards this games comes from my childhood and dumping pretty much all of my paper route money into the Gauntlet arcade machine at my local Dairy Queen. I couldn't get enough of the random design of the level and on the rare occasion that I did have 3 other people to play with, having that many characters on the screen at once was a dream come true.


Dungeon Explorer and Dungeon Explorer 2 were essentially the same thing as Gauntlet but if you had a turbo tap and enough controllers (and friends) you could play with up to 5 players at once. I only had 3 controllers but when we would get 3 people together this was just awesome because there wasn't much to the game and the noob could stay in the back and provide support while the expert players could sort out a lot of the more difficult stuff.

Plus Dungeon Explorer unlike Gauntlet had bosses.


I wouldn't say that any of these bosses were terribly difficult and you really didn't have a whole lot of offensive options. The forward attack was always ranged and it didn't really seem to make much of a difference which class you chose outside of your potion options which was activated by the other button. Each character would have a different something or other that happened with potion use such as the Bishop would heal and the bard would change the music (which was a really dumb spell since the music that played didn't affect your abilities in the game at all.)

The team shared a pool of lives and continues and when those were exhausted you would be given a password that would save your character's abilities and attributes which increased over time. Therefore, there was a tremendous incentive to continue to level up each individual character to see how strong you could get them.


One of the best features of this game aside from the rather new concept of leveling up multiple characters (which was a pretty novel feature at the time) was the fact that this game had infinite replayability since the levels were randomly drawn each time you started up. It would never be exactly the same twice.

The only limitation of the game was that to some people the gameplay seemed a bit repetitive. Again, i suppose it depends on whether or not you appreciated dungeon crawling games like Gauntlet to begin with.

This game and Dungeon Explorer 2 (which i never had the pleasure of playing) are going to be included in the TG-16 mini system that was already released but hasn't seen much global distribution thanks to corona-virus. It will retail for around $100 US and I for one will be more than happy to shell that money out.


I certainly hope that the controller is either wireless or has a slightly longer cable on it.

Some of you hardcore gamers might remember that the cable for the NEC systems were horribly short (like 3 feet) and this was almost certainly intentionally done in order to force us to buy the extension cable.

I have no doubt that my interest in Dungeon explorer would probably not be as great today as it was years ago and there are many instances in my life that I have gone back to play old games only to quickly realize that I should have left it in my memories rather than try to relive my youth. This will almost certainly be one of those experiences but for some reason, i just can't resist.


i also loved Gauntlet and it is funny you would mention Dairy Queen because I played in in a similar place but it was the ghetto version of DQ called Tastee Freez... which I don't think actually exists as a company.

I would consider buying one of these mini machines because the games look simple enough that they would probably hold my interest and could be fun for me and my friends who like video games but don't have the patience to get involved in something that involves 12 buttons to memorize.

Tastee Freez! ha! I remember hearing about those but never saw one with my own eyes. Our Dairy Queen was basically an arcade. I probably cried the day i went in there and saw they had taken the Gauntlet machine out. I was young, it was allowed.

There's definitely an ideal number of buttons in there somewhere. I had great fun with my Commodore 64 and still consider it one of the best systems for playing games ever, despite games only using one button joysticks for the most part. Two buttons weren't quite enough in the 16-bit era. Six seems to be pretty ideal. I liked the layout of the SNES controller with four buttons plus two shoulder buttons though this wasn't necessarily the ideal layout for Street Fighter 2. These days I feel console controllers have too many buttons. More than 6 buttons and it just becomes a chore to use...

SNES really stuck it to Genesis / Megadrive when the doubled the amount of buttons that the genesis had. But i suppose that is what happens in the industry. It was very surprising that given that having more buttons was the name of the game back then that NEC would just basically make a black NES controller and call it a day.

It was a long time ago but i want to say that I actually played this. Was there a boss in it named "Natas?" (Satan backwards) ?

you probably played it. Natas was the final boss.

brings me back to my youth. My friends' kids play PS4 and Xbox 1. I'm not trying to be a grumpy old man here, but while it does look impressive (the games) There are way too many buttons going on with the controller for me. This is more my speed.

It really isn't an overload of buttons as long as you stick it out with one game. THe problem is remember 12 different buttons for a bunch of games all at once and this tends to be my downfall since I rarely play just one game at a time.

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