E3 06: Deep Labyrinth Hands-On

Based on a successful role-playing game for mobile phones, this first-person RPG for the DS has some illustrious talent working on it. We take it for a test-drive.

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LOS ANGELES--One of the many role-playing games on display at Atlus' corner of the Electronic Entertainment Expo is Deep Labyrinth, a first-person-perspective role-playing game for the Nintendo DS. Featuring in-your-face combat, a touch-screen magic system, and multiple storylines, Deep Labyrinth seems like it's going to deliver plenty of hack-and-slash dungeon-crawling for fans of this type of stuff. It's also got a couple of big names working on it, according to the press materials. The scenario deign is by Masato Katou, who previously worked on Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy XI; and the musical score is by Yasunori Mitsuda, who composed for such games as Chrono Cross and Xenosaga.

The game's controls are unorthodox but still easy to get into. You control your character's movement using the D pad, while the stylus is used for attacking, blocking, and spell-casting. Attacks differ depending on how you drag the stylus across the screen, and in practice, the system gives a pretty good feel for things like chopping up slimes and giant bees and other such monsters. The premise of the game seems to be based on the underlying concept that this was once a game for mobile phones. Your character suddenly awakens in a fantasy world, is beset by foes, manages to find a sword...and the rest is about finding a way out of the place. Some interesting-looking characters populate the world, including various anthropomorphic animals that seem helpful but also confused at your human presence in their weird world.

Deep Labyrinth's presentation seems well suited to the DS, but don't necessarily expect mind-blowing 3D. Visually, the game resembles classic PC first-person shooters like Doom, though the fully 3D characters look a lot better than the bitmapped messes from olden-tyme first-person shooters. The Electronic Entertainment Expo isn't the best place to hunker down to enjoy a good action RPG, but from what little we played of Deep Labyrinth, it seemed interesting and left us wanting to play more, leveling up our skills and making progress. The game's release date hasn't been announced as of this time, but stay tuned to GameSpot for further coverage.

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