Mystery Dungeon

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Mystery Dungeon
Mystery Dungeon logo as seen in Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.png
The Mystery Dungeon logo used in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon
Genre(s)Roguelike, Role-playing
Developer(s)Spike Chunsoft (formerly Chunsoft)
Publisher(s)Spike Chunsoft (formerly Chunsoft)
Creator(s)Koichi Nakamura
Platform(s)Super Famicom, Nintendo 64, Wii, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, WonderSwan, Dreamcast, mobile devices, Windows
First releaseTorneko's Great Adventure: Mystery Dungeon
September 19, 1993
Latest releaseShiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate
December 2, 2020
Parent seriesDragon Quest
Spin-offsPokémon Mystery Dungeon
Shiren Monsters

Mystery Dungeon[a] is a series of roguelike video games. Most were developed by Chunsoft (later Spike Chunsoft), and select games were developed by other companies with Chunsoft's permission. The series began when co–creator of Dragon Quest, Koichi Nakamura, was inspired by a fellow developer's experience with Rogue and a desire to create an original series. It began on the Super Famicom, progressing to almost all of Nintendo's and Sony's home and handheld consoles, WonderSwan, Dreamcast, Windows, and mobile devices.

The series has inspired other entries in Japan and has moderate popularity, mostly with the Torneko's Great Adventure and crossover entries with the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, and lesser with the Chocobo games based on the creatures from the Final Fantasy series.

Games[edit]

Release timeline
1993Torneko's Great Adventure
1994
1995Mystery Dungeon 2: Shiren the Wanderer
1996BS Shiren the Wanderer
Shiren the Wanderer GB
1997Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon
1998Chocobo's Dungeon 2
1999Torneko: The Last Hope
2000Shiren the Wanderer 2
2001Shiren the Wanderer GB2
2002Torneko's Great Adventure 3
Shiren the Wanderer Gaiden
2003
2004The Nightmare of Druaga: Fushigi no Dungeon
2005Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red and Blue Rescue Team
2006Young Yangus and the Mysterious Dungeon
2007Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon
2008Shiren the Wanderer 3
2009Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Adventure Squad
2010Shiren the Wanderer 4
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate
2011
2012Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity
2013
2014
2015Etrian Mystery Dungeon
Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics
Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon
2016
2017Etrian Mystery Dungeon 2
2018
2019Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!
2020Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate

Although all games in the series bear the Fushigi no Dungeon moniker somewhere in their Japanese titles, only the Shiren the Wanderer games contain original characters; all other license their characters from other role-playing game franchises. The first game, Torneko no Daibōken: Fushigi no Dungeon stars Torneko, a shopkeeper character from the same developer's Dragon Quest IV. Mystery Dungeon games are among the few console games in the roguelike genre. Chunsoft has also started several lines of branded Mystery Dungeon games, starting with one features the Chocobo from SquareSoft's Final Fantasy series in 1997, then Bandai's Gundam,[1] Konami's TwinBee and Namco's Tower of Druaga series in 2004, Game Freak's Pokémon series in 2005, Atlus's Etrian Odyssey series in 2015, and One Way Heroics is the latest crossover as of 2015. Other games who are not developed or published by the company but uses the same moniker would also appear throughout the years, namely the Touhou Project series with its spin-offs titled Fushigi no Gensokyo.

Spin-offs[edit]

The franchise had its first spin-off game in 2004 titled Shiren Monsters: Netsal. It is only one game based on the monsters from the Shiren the Wanderer series.

Gameplay[edit]

Most Mystery Dungeon games center around exploring a dungeon with randomly generated layouts and fights. These are in a turn-based manner, where the player's every action such as attacking or walking, is met by the opponents' action.[2] Chunsoft described the gameplay as being like chess.[2] Escape from the dungeon is usually only allowed in certain places, or through the use of certain items. When the player loses the game, the player loses all money and half the items in the more forgiving variants, or loses everything and has to start from scratch in others. An effort has also been made to expand the series' gameplay features, such as adding job systems to some games, and giving each dungeon a different feel and goal.[3][4] Features distinct to the Shiren the Wanderer series include the "Melding Jar" which allows players to synthesize items and weapons into more powerful ones.[5] The Chocobo games further simplify the genre's difficulty to appeal to a wider and younger audience.[6]

Development[edit]

Koichi Nakamura, founder of Chunsoft and co-creator of the Dragon Quest series, conceived the series as Chunsoft's first original work.[7] After the launch of the Super Famicom and finishing development for Dragon Quest V, they ceased working on the Dragon Quest series and began working on the Mystery Dungeon series.[7] The series was based on the game Rogue, which has spawned its own genre called roguelike.[7] For a week Nakamura played Rogue at the recommendation of a staff member, trying to understand the game's appeal, and concluded the high degree of challenge made the game very rewarding.[7]

Nakamura explained that the appeal of the Mystery Dungeon series is that every game is different and that players skills are constantly being challenged, which helps the player feel deeply involved.[7] Seiichiro Nagahata, who supervised and planned the development of Shiren the Wanderer DS, explained that the Mystery Dungeon series is all about "tension" and "reasoning".[8]

Music[edit]

Though the franchise is divided with numerous crossovers, the majority of its soundtracks were composed by Koichi Sugiyama[9] and Hayato Matsuo[10] for the Dragon Quest crossovers and Shiren the Wanderer series. Koichi Sugiyama made use of East Asian elements for the Shiren the Wanderer series, compared to his more European-styled Dragon Quest compositions, using instruments such as a shakuhachi flute.[11] This theme would remain for the next games of the series. Other composers such as Yuzo Koshiro[12] for the Etrian Odyssey crossover or Keisuke Ito and Arata Iiyoshi[13] for the Pokémon crossover have frequently contributed in the franchise.

Reception[edit]

The Shiren the Wanderer series has generally favorable ratings in Japan and throughout the world. Famitsu awarded a 36/40 to Demon Invasion! Shiren Castle! and a 38/40 to the original release of Magic Castle of the Desert, the highest score the publication had given to a Game Boy Color game.[14][15] The series has been both praised and criticized for its difficulty, and generally noted for the uneven quality of the randomly generated levels, or "floors", the games produce.[3]

Sales[edit]

As of 2020, a grand total of 23.18 million copies across the franchise have been sold, the majority of which are in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.[n 6]

The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series is known to have high sale rates among the franchise, surpassing one million copies for most of its games like Blue Rescue Team and Red Rescue Team and its remake Rescue Team DX, and Explorers of Time, Darkness and Sky alone.[2][47][48][43] Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity was the 18th best selling game in Japan in 2012, with more than 373,000 copies sold.[49] The Chocobo series is thought to have had middling success, with strong launch sales but not a huge popular response.[50]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fushigi no Dungeon (Japanese: 不思議 (ふしぎ)のダンジョン, Hepburn: Fushigi no Danjon)
  1. ^ Torneko's Great Adventure series:
    • Torneko's Great Adventure: Mystery Dungeon: 800,000 by February 2013[16]
    • World of Dragon Warrior: Torneko: The Last Hope: 759,251
      • Torneko: The Last Hope: 578,227 by December 1999 (Japan)[17]
      • Torneko's Great Adventure 2 Advance: 181,024 by December 2002[18]
    • Dragon Quest Characters: Torneko's Great Adventure 3: Mystery Dungeon: 653,796
      • Torneko's Great Adventure 3: 513,796 by November 2008[19]
      • Torneko's Great Adventure 3 Advance: 140,000 by November 2004[20]
    Other:
    • Dragon Quest: Young Yangus and the Mysterious Dungeon: 340,000 by November 2006[21]
  2. ^ Shiren the Wanderer series:
    • Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer: 524,591
      • Mystery Dungeon 2: Shiren the Wanderer: 229,539 by December 2010[22]
      • Shiren the Wanderer DS: 195,052 by December 2007 (Japan)[23]
      • Shiren the Wanderer (iOS/Android): 100,000 by September 2020[24]
    • Shiren the Wanderer GB: Moonlight-Village Monster: 103,238 by December 2010[22]
    • Shiren the Wanderer 2: Demon Invasion! Shiren Castle!: 283,991 by December 2001[25]
    • Shiren the Wanderer: Magic Castle of the Desert: 275,877
      • Shiren the Wanderer GB2: 172,578 by December 2001[25]
      • Shiren the Wanderer DS2: 103,299 by January 2010[26]
    • Shiren the Wanderer Side Story: Swordswoman Asuka Arrives!: 50,750 by December 2002[18]
    • Shiren Monsters: Netsal: 25,274 by December 2004[27]
    • Shiren the Wanderer 3: The Sleeping Princess of the Karakuri Mansion: 139,091
      • Shiren the Wanderer 3: 107,718 by January 2010 (Japan)[26]
      • Shiren the Wanderer 3 Portable: 31,373 by December 2010[28]
    • Shiren the Wanderer 4: The Eye of God and the Devil's Navel: 114,030
      • Shiren the Wanderer 4: 96,002 by January 2011[29]
      • Shiren the Wanderer 4 Plus: 18,028 by December 2012[30]
    • Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate: 147,152
      • Shiren the Wanderer 5 + Chunsoft Selection: 81,710 by December 2012[29][30]
      • Shiren the Wanderer 5 Plus: 65,442
        • PlayStation Vita: 25,848 by September 2015 (Japan)[31]
        • Nintendo Switch: 19,594 by December 2020 (Japan)[32]
        • Steam: 20,000 by December 2020[33]
  3. ^ Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon series:
    • Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: 1.34 million
      • Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: 1.17 million by December 1998[34]
      • Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon for WonderSwam: 175,678 by December 1999[17]
    • Chocobo's Dungeon 2: 592,730 by December 1999 (Japan)[17]
    • Chocobo's Dungeon 3: 314,721
      • Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon: 170,423
        • Japan sales: 100,423 by December 2008[35]
        • US sales: 70,000 by September 2008[36]
      • Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Labyrinth of Forgotten Time DS+: 74,054 by December 2009[37]
      • Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon: Every Buddy!: 70,244
        • Nintendo Switch: 39,273 by April 2019 (Japan)[38]
        • PlayStation 4: 30,971 by April 2019 (Japan)[38]
  4. ^ Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series:
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Red and Blue Rescue Team: 5.85 million
      • Red Rescue Team: 2.36 million by December 2014[39]
      • Blue Rescue Team: 3.49 million by December 2014[39]
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Darkness and Explorers of Sky: 6.37 million
      • Explorers of Time and Darkness: 4.88 million by December 2014[39]
      • Explorers of Sky: 1.49 million by December 2014[39]
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity: 1.37 million by December 2019[40]
      • Japan sales: 468,000 by September 2015[41]
      • US sales: 298,000 by September 2013[42]
    • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon: 1.65 million by December 2019[40]
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX: 1.26 million by March 2020[43]
  5. ^ Etrian Mystery Dungeon series:
    • Etrian Mystery Dungeon: 90,696 by December 2015 (Japan)[44]
    • Etrian Mystery Dungeon 2: 38,653 by September 2017[45]
    Individual series:
    • The Nightmare of Druaga: Fushigi no Dungeon: 67,295 by December 2004 (Japan)[27]
    • Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics: 15,059
      • PlayStation Vita: 10,059
        • Japan sales: 5,059 by December 2015[44]
        • US Sales: 5,000 by September 2016[46]
      • PlayStation 4: 5,000 by September 2016 (North America)[46]
  6. ^ Mystery Dungeon series:
    • Dragon Quest Mystery Dungeon series: 2.55 million[n 1]
    • Shiren the Wanderer series: 1.66 million[n 2]
    • Chocobo's Mystery Dungeon series: 2.25 million[n 3]
    • Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series: 16.50 million[n 4]
    • Smaller and individual series: 0.21 million[n 5]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]