Some old games are worth revisiting once in a while for no other reason than to savor the warm rush of nostalgia, but other games should be left to rot in the annals of video game history. Double Dungeons for the TurboGrafx-16 is one of the latter games. It's an extremely crude dungeon crawler that originally appeared on the TurboGrafx-16 in 1990 and has now been revived on the Wii Virtual Console with a price of 600 points ($6). That might not seem like much money to blow on any game, but for Double Dungeons, it's way too much.
The setup for Double Dungeons is almost nonexistent. Before jumping into the first maze in the game, you're given a sentence about a king who wants you to find a treasure in a dungeon. That's it—just a generic character searching a generic dungeon for a generic "treasure." It doesn't get any more involved from there. You enter a dungeon and move around a large and complex maze looking for the key that will open the door to the boss of the dungeon. Once you beat the boss, you can move on to another dungeon that looks identical but has a different layout. There is no map to guide you through these dungeons, and there are no landmarks or visual cues other than the enemies you encounter.
The enemies include such role-playing standards as skeletons, spiders, and blobs, but fighting them is dull. You run up to an enemy, hit the attack button, wait to get attacked by an enemy, then attack again until one of you dies. There's no strategy or thought involved in battle in this game. Heck, there isn't even any animation. You just see a picture of an enemy and some text telling you what happened. Needless to say, it's extremely boring. You do gain experience from killing monsters, so eventually you level up to dish out and absorb more damage, which enables you to kill some of the tougher enemies blocking your path. But your level and items don't carry over to the next maze, which makes all your work seem pointless. There are 22 mazes in all, and many of them are ridiculously complex, so much so that you could easily waste hours aimlessly wandering around hoping to stumble upon the right path. Of course, you can map each dungeon yourself, but there's a much better solution: Don't play this game.
The only interesting aspect of Double Dungeons is that it can be played by up to two players. When playing this way, the players start at a different points in the dungeon and can work together or alone to conquer all of the enemies and eventually kill the boss. It sounds like an interesting concept, but usually you'll both end up lost, dead, or bored stupid—just like in the single-player game.
Double Dungeons doesn't look good either. All of the mazes look the same, and the handful of enemies are all so horribly pixelated and blurry that you'll hardly be able to tell what you're fighting. In the single-player game, all of the "action" takes place in the upper-left quarter of the screen, with the rest of the screen being taken up by plain and useless text. This text shows your level and how much gold you have, as well as a large Double Dungeons logo so you don't forget what game you're playing. In the multiplayer game, the screen is split vertically down the middle, but the character menu and game logo have been removed. The sound in the game is no better than the visuals, with some distorted sound effects and repetitive music to assault your ears.
There are no redeeming qualities in Double Dungeons. It's about as much fun as watching an even lower-fidelity version of that awful maze screensaver that came with Windows 95. The game looks bad, but it's also frustrating and pointless. Although it will take you a long time to clear all 22 dungeons, you certainly won't have fun doing it. There's absolutely no reason to waste your time or money on Double Dungeons.