A port of an obscure Taito arcade game, 5200 Space Dungeon marries the intense action of Robotron with the adventuring of games such as Venture. Requiring two-fisted skills, Space Dungeon uses twin joysticks to control the round craft (one for movement, one for 8-way firing) and to blast aliens while grabbing treasure in a series of 99 levels. Each level is composed of a grid of 6x6 rectangular rooms with randomly placed doors, treasure, and foes. A detailed overhead map and a 'collect bonus' directional aid assist you to help keep your bearings.
Space Dungeon is anything but linear. In each level's 36 rooms, you are only required to do one thing -- enter the clearly marked exit room. You don't have to kill anything or collect any treasure -- but you'll want to! Many times I am tempted to check out 'just one more room' before I jump into the Collect Bonus door -- and if you are skilled or lucky, you are often rewarded for playing an adventurous game. As you progress you'll meet new enemies and find more valuable treasures. Each unique enemy must be dealt with in its own way -- some (like Defender's Pod ships) are more dangerous after they are destoyed; others steal treasure; still others require you to blast away continually at their shields before they are destroyed. Additionally, some rooms have laser traps in all 4 corners of the room. Great stuff!
Control Issues -- the 5200 controllers' looseness and lack of responsiveness make the game harder than it needs to be, but certainly do not ruin the fun. Space Dungeon would be great with twin digital, tight sticks. Still, you'll need to invent some way to hold your controllers together, if you don't own the original pack-in plastic brace. Personally, I grabbed a rectangular box (which was a replacement ballast box for my basement's overhead lights), and with some scissors, a utility knife, and duct tape, I now have a nice functional homemade brace. Once again, duct tape solves the world's problems!
Sounds in the game are pretty average, but they are also quite functional in their use. Usually the game is a bunch of laser shots (think Defender's laser shot sound) and high pitched chirps here and there representing enemies.
I think Space Dungeon is one of the top 5 games for the 5200. The game's gratuitous and shrapnel-filled explosions, deep gameplay, and twitch gaming appeal make it a surefire classic. The action is intense at times, with tons of stuff going on at once. Also, this is one of those rare games, one that is great fun but hasn't been ported to every other system in history.