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RELEASE DATE (NA): August 21, 1991 GENRE: Rogue/RPG
// review by Stingray

Getting lost has never been so much fun.

Fatal Labyrinth was originally available on the Sega Meganet, which was an online multiplayer gaming service in 1990 for the Sega Mega Drive. In 1991, it was remade for the Sega Genesis.

The evil Dragonia Castle has risen once again to cast a shadow of darkness over the town. A ghoul has stolen the Holy Goblet, the source of light for the town, for the evil Dragonia that now sits atop his massive, looming castle. You wander into town as a nameless character in the hopes of being the hero by climbing to the top of the castle. The first 29 floors are randomly generated, the 30th floor is were you will find the Holy Goblet, and the 31st level is the top of the castle were you will face off against Dragonia.

You start off in the town shadowed by the castle. Most of the townfolk are scared of the impending darkness, but one boy wonders if there will be school tomorrow... someone has his priorities straight. As you head through the city. you will see a path and and an old man standing next to it. As you try to pass, he warns that many have tried and failed. If you press, he will let you pass, and you head into the castle with a head full of hope and only a measly dagger in hand.

Fatal Labryinth is an interesting combination of game types. Basically, it is a action/adventure game, but it also has elements of an turn-based RPG and a rogue-like with experience to gain and dungeons to crawl. Each time you move one square, either horizontally or vertically, the enemies get a chance to move. Some enemies have ranged attacks and can attack if they are lined up with you. The levels consist of a number large of rooms connected by twisting corridors. While the levels are not really big enough to get lost in, the twisting corridors can lead you back to the room you just left and the stairs can sometimes be tricky to find.

If you get lost in this labyrinth, it could be... yep, you guessed it: fatal!

Each level is populated by various items and enemies. The items can be simple weapons and armor or magical potions, staffs, and scrolls. But be careful: some of the items are cursed. The enemies that you will find as you climb the tower are interesting and unigue including a shark type enemy that pops out of the floor in a Jaws type style. Although there are some stronger, reskinned enemies in the higher levels, I appreciate the game not taking the standard orc, goblin, goul approach.

I really enjoyed playing this game. The controls — especially how to attack — were a little difficult to figure out at first. To attack a enemy next to you, walking toward that enemy will initiate your attack turn. After you make your attack, the enemy gets to counter attack. The menu, brought up by the C button, seemed a little overwhelming at first but was easy to get used to. Each item type, of which there are nine, have their own section in the menu. When facing an enemy, you can used ranged attacks with spears and magic, but also armor can be thrown which I thought was a funny addition to the game.

The graphics were not bad but nothing outstanding either. The level design was well done and fit the title of "Labyrinth". I liked that the enemies would respawn if you spent too much time on a level, giving you the opportunity to grind. The number of enemies on each level were reasonable but not overwhelming, giving you a slice of tension without being too difficult.

Overall, this game was surprisingly fun to play. The RPG and rogue-like elements were well-balanced. It did take me a few levels to get into the groove of things, but once I did, the game seems to come together very well. With the mess of different game types, I feel that a wide range of players would enjoy Fatal Labyrinth.

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