By Jeriaska . October 12, 2008 . 7:40pm
The reception of the Final Fantasy Fables series has proven stronger on the Nintendo DS than on the Wii, which might explain the reasoning behind the port of Chocobo’s Dungeon for the portable console. In Japan it carries the elaborate title “Cid and Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon: Labyrinth of Forgotten Time +”. However, as not much has changed in terms of the basic concept behind the title, the synopsis of the home console version generally applies.
The game has been broken down and built back up so that the graphics, gameplay and music can be accommodated by the pocket-sized game system. Songs by Nobuo Uematsu, arranged by Yuzo Takahashi of Joe Down Studio, now have more of the chiptune quality of Chocobo Tales. The art by series illustrator Toshiyuki Itahana, outside of the full-motion video sequences, has more noticeable pixels. The most significant changes are that Cid is now playable and the Chocobo can equip the popular (?) red mage job.
The player starts out by selecting between normal and hard difficulty settings. As in the Wii version, you are then treated to a full-motion video of Cid and Chocobo racing through the desert and entering a tower full of traps and enemies. The location, whose background music is the moody Crystal Tower theme from Final Fantasy III, serves as a tutorial. Occasionally Cid’s voice cuts in, saying encouraging phrases like “Let’s begin our adventure!” Making your way through the winding corridors, the chocobo will come across furnaces. These will do some minor damage if you walk across them, though the character will quickly recharge its lost HP while also finding gysahl greens on the ground. You can keep tabs on your HP and SP on both screens, with gil and current level listed on the top.
A small purple map will appear on on the touch screen as you explore the dungeon. All traversing is done via the D-pad, as the stylus is inoperable. Your chocobo will be teleported to other areas of the tower, while climbing NES-era stair icons on its way to the top. Suddenly surrounded by a mob of werebats, Cid will stand back until you run low on HP, then heal you.
Running from these enemies is pretty much futile while they have you surrounded, as they will stop you in your tracks if they catch you from behind. Vanquishing the enemies, the Chocobo makes its way to the top of the tower to discover Irma, the antagonist of the Final Fantasy Fables series, waiting for you. Soon after, the introductory credits play, with more full motion video of Chocobos and puzzle pieces, accompanied by the theme song “Door Crawl.”