Back when I was just born, in the late 1980’s Hudson software released Dungeon Explorer for the TurboGrafx-16. So now in 2008 Hudson has released a newer version of Dungeon Explorer for the PSP and the DS titled Warriors of Ancient Arts. While both versions aren’t much different from one another we’ll be focusing more on the PSP version.

Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts is Hudson Software’s new release, which has strong similarities to a Diablo type game. Dungeon Explorer is set in ancient times when evil monsters terrorized the lands by coming up through dungeons. The inhabitants of the land banded together to fight off the demons, but after all the demons had disappeared they had to fight with something more powerful than demons. Hatred, greed and anger threatened to break the people apart. While everyone was fighting each other, the monsters below were feeding off this hatred and began multiplying so that one day they could come back and threaten the people once more…

If you’ve ever played Diablo before you’ll know the concept of this game. You begin by creating a character, everything from his name to the color of the outfit and of course attributes. Once your character has been created you go on to begin your first quest, creating a seal between the dungeon and the above ground. Once the seal is created you come back up to earth and the game begins. You run around a very small and linear town, which consists of an armory, item shop your quarters and the adventurers’ guild. The adventurers’ guild is where you go to find your next mission. The Guild Master will offer you several choices of quests and from there you pay a fee for each quest you select. Once the quest has been completed you will be paid much more than what you paid to enter the quest. With the money that you win you can go on to buy weapons, armor and items. Along with the normal quests there are also special quests, these can be completed once you complete a certain number of quests and have to do with the fate of the kingdom.

As for your character himself, you can select between five different types; fighter, hunter, monk, thief, shaman and a bishop. You can also choose between three races, each depending on what area you start with. There are six job classes E, D, C, B, A and S. To increase your job class you have to use Job Arts. You will be able to learn new job arts as the game progresses and even be able to change job classes. Your character can upgrade his skills with every kill of an enemy; skills include strength, intelligence, speed, dexterity, magic, luck, and stamina. There’s lots of upgrading to do, so the game will take enough time to complete. 

While in battle the game focuses, well, just mash the X button to attack, there are different types of attacks though. Some other attack types are Weapon arts, which involves special attacks with a tap of the square button. Job art is an attack that depends on your job type. Simply use art sight, which is a distance attack feature to lock onto an enemy and press the X button to do a special attack. The last is Big Bang arts, this involves a teammate and some good timing, and if executed properly a devastating attack will be unleashed. Also if you’re in battle with a teammate at times you will need to heal him or her, simply using art sight and giving him some potion will do the trick.

The dungeon is where all the action happens. As mentioned before, the dungeon is where all the evil demons come from, and where most of the fighting and quests occur. There are several levels to the dungeon but can only be achieved once you collect enough jewels, also some quests cannot be completed until a new level in the dungeon is unlocked. Once a certain quest is completed a rift is unlocked. A rift is like your quarters, it’s found in a certain area in the dungeon and here you can save/delete games and organize your items. Also in the dungeon you will come across generators. Generators are what create monsters and must be destroyed in order to stop the swarm of these monsters, and some quests require you to destroy them. Aside from the normal hit points taken off when hit by an enemy, there are also abnormal conditions, when hit by an enemy you may get poisoned, burned, frozen etc.

The graphics in Dungeon Explorer are actually very similar to those of Diablo, from what I can remember. Nothing too fancy, enemies move in perfect line paths, so at times you do have to worry about them making a sharp turn when your trying to flank them and attack from behind. Also when your running full speed with your character everything seems like a blur so everything may look like an enemy making you stop frequently. During a cut scene the other characters tend to move in an odd manner, almost like something out of The Grudge. The sound isn’t too bad, only problem is it’s always the same sound. Every enemy hit or attack performed sounds the same. When you talk to another character they always say a quick “yo” or make a strange sound which could have been done without. The soundtrack, well there is no soundtrack; it’s the typical adventure style game music.

Although I’ve never played the original Dungeon Explorer, I’ll assume that this new one isn’t at all like the old one; then again that’s what over 20 years of not releasing a sequel will do. Warriors of Ancient Arts has an interesting concept, and in small doses it’s a fun game. Nothing impressive at all with graphics and sound, but game play wise it’s a good game. Although there is an online multiplayer mode this is a game that’s enjoyed alone. I wouldn’t recommend this game as a rental, but then again I wouldn’t recommend any PSP game as a rental, but if you’ve ever played Diablo or a similar game then you owe it to yourself to give Dungeon Explorer a try. I’m not a fan of Action RPG games but I still managed to go through a few hours a day with it.

Gameplay: 8, Graphics: 6, Sound: 6, Innovation: 7, Mojo: 6. Final: 6.6 / 10

Reviewed by Chris G. | 03.26.08

  • Choose your Fighting Style: Learn hundreds of different kinds of fighting arts including “Big Bang Arts” that allow you and 2 of your friends to team-up and triple your destructive power in Multiplayer Mode.
  • Epic Battles: Wage battles against a legion of different classes of monstrous creatures, each with their own attributes. Strategy in battle and the right choice of weapons are keys to survival against boss creatures and their minions.
  • Choose your Hero: Over 70 different Warrior Types that vary in race, gender and class.
  • Choose your Weapon: Hundreds of variations of upgradeable weapons, armor, and equipment, enhancing them as you progress through your adventure.
  • Epic Multiplayer Adventure: Battle the underworld forces alone or join forces with up to 2 other friends via Ad-Hoc mode

Dungeon Explorer
Warriors of Ancient Arts

Hudson Ent.
Hudson Soft.
Action RPG
US Released
Feb '08