Friday, April 15, 2011

Amazing Game Music: Shiren the Wanderer

Woo, had a bit of work this week, so no new art or anything today. Instead, I come bearing the gift of music!

Shiren the Wanderer is practically a Japanese icon and has been since the Super Famicom era, but the Mystery Dungeon series of rogue-like RPGs have only recently made their way stateside. These punishingly hard dungeon crawlers are known for their steep difficulty, but standout due to their uniquely Japanese flavor and gorgeous music.

Without further ado, I present Wanderer's Fantasy, a beautiful orchestral arrangement of themes from Fushigi no Dungeon 2: Shiren no Furai.

There's something weirdly comforting about dungeon crawlers. Despite the fact that they seem totally impossible at the outset, the methodical, resource building nature of the games is surprisingly relaxing. Despite the fact that you literally lose EVERYTHING every time you die (although Shiren 3 allows you to keep MOST of your exp), eventually this stops being discouraging at all. Yes, you may lose all your items, but you inevitably find new ones. Dying just becomes part of the experience; you plan for it, expect it. I rarely enter a dungeon with the intention of finishing it, and when I do end up reaching the end I'm usually shocked.

Mystery Dungeon certainly isn't for everybody, but there is an undeniable appeal in making progress. Whether you're climbing Table Mountain or ascending Karakuri Mansion, every new level you reach is satisfying. Gamers with either a Nintendo DS or Wii console can enjoy Shiren's only two localized adventures for relatively cheap, and although the games can be a bit hard to find at retail, online services like Amazon offer reasonable prices and wide availability for both titles.

Considering I'm probably going to be trying to beat Shiren 3 for a the next few weeks, expect occasional dungeon updates!

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