Coinciding with the Japanese Virtual Console release of Mysterious Dungeon 2: Shiren the Wanderer for the SNES, GameSetWatch columnist John Harris has posted (the first half of) an exhaustive writeup of the game. His @Play column, about roguelikes, is consistently excellent even for those of us who are completely oblivious to the genre, and we're glad to have an excuse to mention this especially involved entry.
It's probably a good idea to read this before you jump into any roguelike (except for maybe Pokemon Mystery Dungeon). Shiren the Wanderer and other Mysterious Dungeon games are a little bit simplified, but still ridiculous in their complexity. Random items must be identified, monsters gain levels if they kill something, and it can take multiple playthroughs of a game to level up a weapon to satisfaction. Even containers are random and may turn out to heal you or destroy your items.
We have limited experience with the Mysterious Dungeon series-- we played the first few floors of Nightmare of Druaga, and then quit before it got into the serious stuff. After getting killed, of course. We don't know if we're brave enough to try another one.
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