The Mystery Of Dungeon

By Alec Meer on November 20th, 2009 at 8:58 pm.

Oh you bastards

Confession time! I have never played a game by mad-brained indie wunderkind Jonathan ‘Cactus’ Söderström before. No idea why – despite Jim regularly giving his games an approving nod, in that stern, stoic Jim Rossignol way of his, I’ve managed to miss every single one. Dungeon, his collaboration with one Arthur ‘Mr. podunkian’ Lee (what is it with these names? I’ve gotta get me one. Call me Alec ‘Windows Sound Recorder’ Meer from now on, if you will), rather confirms my opinions from afar – that the chap is making splendid but oddball independent videogames that will please anyone who doesn’t scream “pretentious!” the second they’re faced with something even slightly artistically-minded. Not that Dungeon is necessarily artistically-minded – it has another agenda…

It’s a platformer. It’s a hard platformer. It’s a retro platformer. It’s a very short platformer. It tells a story in novel fashion. It will make you swear, a lot. It’s a bit naughty (not sex-naughty. The other naughty). I like it.

To entirely appreciate why I like it, you’ll need to play bonus mini-game Clarity after (seriously – after. Please don’t do it first) you’ve got as far as you care to. All will make sense, and you’ll either chuckle or scream when it does.

To those who finish/decipher it, please avoid spoilers of any kind. You might want to leave your number, though.

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118 Comments »

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  1. Jacob says:

    04, and I am master of the first jump, thank you very much. But I never made it past the red lion before I gave up.

  2. pimorte says:

    I got 6.
    I also beat the cake level.
    doesnotcompute

  3. drygear says:

    Mine was 14, so I managed to get through the entirety of Dungeon. Then I played Clarity and didn’t get it because until I read this thread I didn’t know the number it gave you corresponded to which game you played.
    That was supposed to be easier? :-o

  4. Weylund says:

    07. Fucking spikes. I swore a lot.

  5. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    06. Yeah, managed to beat the Cake level too. After a lot of deaths and crying and timing the momentum of the run and jump just right.

    But, I have to ask, is there more than one ending?

  6. quadeh says:

    08, though I felt a bit stupid considering how long it took me to get the ending :).

  7. Saul says:

    I got 11. Hella, hella laggy, but then it all made sense.

  8. Vinraith says:

    01

    Which, let me tell you, makes for a darn short game.

  9. j says:

    05. Which wasn’t too big a deal.

  10. Ade McC says:

    02 haha now I understand

  11. Simon says:

    Am I the only idiot who can’t jump over that first hole in the floor?

    • Vinraith says:

      It’s important to read Alec’s entire piece above, and do as it suggests.

    • Simon says:

      I’m just not getting the point, if there even is a point? Feeling dumb today :S

    • Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

      As Vinraith says, go read Alec’s post more carefully. Said post suggests that, since you can’t get any further, you should go play Clarity. This will explain everything.

    • Simon says:

      Well in v2, I made the first jump like nothing… I wasn’t stupid, it was a bug (see changelog).

    • Simon says:

      Ooor… Clairty provides clarity :P

  12. Alexander Norris says:

    The one problem I have with this as a video game is that it isn’t “hard” or “oldschool” – it’s just shit. IWBTG is hard, and its controls are very accurate. This? This feels like floating through some sort of mystical matter made of combined molasses-and-ice or something. The controls are stupidly unresponsive, and that makes the game artificially hard instead of it actually being hard and giving the player the tools to beat it.

    Edit: oh, alright, the number’s in the other one. 09, then. Guess I came off easy.

    • Dominic White says:

      Also, don’t forget that this was a two-day experimental project. I don’t think there was any balancing, tuning or tweaking planned. Almost the opposite, in fact, as you are now aware.

  13. kai says:

    he’s Cactus, not Catcus…

  14. Doctor Doc says:

    No. After I got past the lava sperms and fell straight down on the next level I’m not doing it again. I did not give up, I’m not just doing it. The controls are not worth it.

  15. woppyce says:

    I played it to the end. 13.
    But I could swear I got 8 too.

  16. Dox says:

    06 it seems. Which is odd, because I beat the cake level on my fifth try.

    Unless the cake was a lie… I’ll just take my coat and leave now.

  17. Thingus says:

    Is it me, or does 14 take a bit of the impact awayfrom the whole thing? Ho hum.

  18. Hazelnut says:

    Did you play v2 by any chance?

  19. Hazelnut says:

    That comment was for Dorian Cornelius Jasper & pimorte BTW.

  20. Ed says:

    09. Completed it twice because I was sure I had missed the point first time round.

  21. mr. podunkian says:

    copy and paste this into notepad or something to read what i’m saying as it may be a spoiler!:

    ‘clarity’ wasn’t released until after around 24 hours or so of the game’s release, and until that point, many people had argued about x level being easier than y level, or that the game was impossible vs. how easy the game was (which is what 14 did). the best example of this is shown in the tigsource forum post. the post here SORT OF (very narrowly) misses the point, as it reveals the twist of the game (which is almost impossible to not do since ‘clarity’ was released), rather than letting the discussion take its unfortunate course.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Interesting note to take from the first page of that forum post – you can change rosetta by running the game in compatibility mode… I get 7 in WinXP mode which is even more drastically different to the 2 I usually get than I expected. Haven’t tried other modes yet but maybe I can see some more effects. They really need to release a “choose your own rosetta” version.

    • brog says:

      oops, that’s not what i meant; that’s the ‘bug-fixed’ version. see the end of clarity for the choose-your-own-rosetta.

    • Alec Meer says:

      Mr. Podunkian – it’s deliberately missing the point, trust me. Or, at least, reskewing it in the light of Clarity, and not especially wanting a thread full of people bitching.

  22. faelnor says:

    Lucky with a 7, which made the first run through so much more interesting. Great.

  23. fuggles says:

    Got 06, finished it.. Is this lies?

    Slippery controls + pussy == nightmare.

    Out of context that actually looks quite wrong :z

    • reindall says:

      Even without slippery controls I sucked at Pussy!

    • fearian says:

      I died on pussy over a hundred times. it must have been.

      Jump. Die.
      Jump. Die
      Jump. Die
      Jump. Die
      Jump. Die
      Jump. Jump. Die.
      Jump. Die
      Jump. Jump. Die
      Jump. Die

  24. fearian says:

    04 and I beat the game. what was 04?

  25. Elyscape says:

    I had 02. Which made the Great Bat Tango impossible.

  26. underproseductor says:

    The game is annoying as fuck even without, er, those numbers (btw, I had 06; and 00 with XP mode)

    Cool idea, bad execution.

  27. The Unbelievable Guy says:

    05, and I hate this Cactus man.

  28. Ed says:

    I should have known this was a Ludum Dare 48 hour compo entry – http://www.ludumdare.com/compo/minild-14/

    I dunno why, but I find that most LD48 entries have a certain vibe about them.
    It probably has something to do with sleep deprivation…

    …not to mention that 99% of the devs in the LD community like their games bastard hard.

  29. An Innocuous Coin says:

    …but the first jump wasn’t impossible. D: It was easy, even.

  30. Paul says:

    4 For fucks sake. I read Alec’s post as don’t play clarity until after you finish the game, and spent ages coming back every few hours. What a huge waste of time. :/

  31. Nobody in particular says:

    14 … But I played directly the v2.0 (unaware of what the corrected “bugs” were)
    Now I’m probably the only one feeling sorely cheated for playing the bugfree version.

    Pussy was aaarrrrghh!

  32. JonFitt says:

    Also 1. Dammit.

  33. disperse says:

    5

    And the “self doubt” level seems impossible… other 5s concur?

    • Glove says:

      I concur, it did SEEM impossible. When I got over the second spike, I was genuinely taken aback. 5 made “Pussy” a right pain in the arse.

  34. Andrew says:

    I also had 04 T_T

    The Leap of Faith screen was how far I got before trying second version and playing Clarity.

    04 = No Checkpoints. Harsh.

  35. wiper says:

    12 – just thought the game was unusually punishing ^_^

    Did finish it though – despite the frustration towards the end!

  36. mister k says:

    yeah, got stuck cause I had 10, then changed and discovered the controls were still annoying enough to make me not want to play it… kind of a practical joke of a game really.

  37. Juhkystar says:

    02.

    I spent ages on the Bat level trying to jump through thinking I was just really bad at timing.

    Gaaahhh.

    Brilliant!

  38. Donut says:

    I played the bug-free version. Then I read the TIGSource thread.

    Brilliant.

  39. Lightbulb says:

    Ok I played this for about 20 seconds. I need to go to work now but could osmeone please tell me this:

    What the hell button is jump?

  40. Cooper says:

    Cooper love cactus

    cactus make simple but fun and interesting arcade games

    Ad Nauseum 2 is the pinnacle of pick up and play SHMUP games. Also it has an evil vagina on a pin up model which shoots medical paraphenalia at you as the boss

    Cooper loves cactus

  41. Lightbulb says:

    Thanks pimorte

    Well what a waste of 5 minutes THAT was…

  42. Kavika says:

    14. Fucking Cactus…