Shiren DS 2 Starts With A Dungeon Escape

By Spencer . December 8, 2008 . 10:48pm

image Mystery Dungeon Shiren the Wanderer DS 2: Demon Castle in the Desert begins with a weary Shiren wandering in the desert. After Shiren collapses he is dragged away by guards and chained to the wall in a dungeon. Koppa is bound too so it looks like there isn’t any hope of escaping until a mysterious princess climbs up a hidden staircase and unshackles them. Shiren’s first goal is to escape the desert fortress by making his way through six floors.




With no items in his inventory Shiren is helpless against the chain of guards chasing him. Instead of opening with a tutorial level the first stages of Shiren have players navigate through a winding dungeon littered with mines. The only way to get through safely is to use the R button to clear corners that the guards snake around. If the guards catch up to Shiren they whack him and deal one point of damage.


You don’t get armed with weapons, shields, and bracelets, which are now common items in Shiren DS 2, until you enter the first real dungeon. Pekeji, Shiren’s “brother”, introduces it to you claiming there is treasure to be found. At night Shiren follows Pekeji in and the dimwitted Pekiji falls right into a trap. Now Shiren has to save him.


image For the most part Mystery Dungeon Shiren the Wanderer DS 2: Demon Castle in the Desert feels like Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer. However, instead of making the sequel tougher Sega made Shiren DS 2 more friendly. In general, important items are much more common. You aren’t going to walk through five floors unarmed. Shiren easily finds swords on the ground. Also unlike the previous Nintendo DS Shiren game you can teleport out of dungeons. Shiren DS 2 has a single town that acts like a hub and central resting place. If you think Shiren is in trouble you can escape a dungeon and retain all of your equipment by using a teleport scroll. Since teleport scrolls are common to you won’t die in Shiren DS 2 nearly as much if you’re careful. Once you’re in town you can pawn your precious items in the town store or store them in a warehouse. However, if Shiren returns to town he starts at level one and has to start the dungeon from scratch. I know this might sound frustrating, but it sure beats the alternative – returning to the beginning of the game with empty pockets.


Shiren DS 2 doesn’t feel like an endless journey either. Progress in Shiren DS 2 is tangible partially because Shiren DS 2 has a story to follow and multiple dungeons to complete. Compare this to a subtle system of powering up a single sword and shield over the course of replaying the same areas that eventually make Shiren a killing machine. My initial impression is Mystery Dungeon Shiren the Wanderer DS 2: Demon Castle in the Desert much more accessible than the previous game. Unfortunately, Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer got off to such a slow start in North America it’s hard to imagine Sega USA publishing the sequel here.


image So what’s do veteran Shiren fans have to look forward to? More mamels and new monsters. One of them in the first dungeons is an evasive monkey that moves diagonally backwards to dodge your attacks. I also beat a boar that rammed Shiren and knocked him back a few steps. Of course you don’t need to know Japanese to figure these things out, but you will need to have some grasp of the language to figure out how to use your items and understand the story in Mystery Dungeon Shiren the Wanderer DS 2: Demon Castle in the Desert.


Images courtesy of Sega.

  • Bandersnatch

    I just completed the main dungeon of Shiren the Wanderer a few days ago. Really enjoyed it, hope Sega brings the sequel over. Guess I still have the extra dungeons in the first game to complete.

  • teasel

    you know i’m really really really annoyed that they bring izuna 2 but they won’t bring this… either atlus doesn’t care about money,people don’t care about quality,or all you need you make a game break even is to put cleveage in the boxart instead of an angry samurai out of the 80

  • R


    #2, I wager. Izuna’s working the anime (and Atlus) fanboy angle and is much easier than Shiren — both aspects that make it more saleable to an audience that doesn’t really care for roguelikes. Plus Atlus seems to have localizaion deals going with Success, so…

    But IIRC, neither of the Izuna games sold all that well either. Pretty sure Izuna 2 dropped to $20 at GS faster than Shiren did.

  • jarrod

    As far as getting Izuna over Shiren, I’d also guess the former is probably a bit cheaper to license.

    It’s really a shame how many Chunsoft games we’ve missed out on…

  • Lord Gek

    I just started in on this last night and already in the middle of the last of the main story dungeons. The “Scroll of Escape” definitely prolongs one’s longevity! I guess the difficulty ramp is a bit more gradual in this one but it’s hard to judge as I’m already pretty experienced in Shiren DS 1, other than having to deal with a new cast of baddies, most of the items are the same.

    In the first three of the four story dungeons (not counting that escape deal at the beginning) all items are IDed and even in this fourth dungeon only the wands and pots are un IDed. I also gather that while this sequel adds quite a few tweaker creatures (monsters that can stick a lot of status ailments on you or mess with your items), most of them are reserved for the post story dungeons. You’ll still have to deal with some heavy hitters but very few of the tricky ones.

    My biggest gripe so far is that there are quite a few “Mystery Dungeon Pokemon” style cutscenes. They may make for an engaging story but I hate being forced to sit through these cheesy little soap opera bits.

  • John H.

    It’s much less of a roguelike if you can take your items into another run through the dungeon. Roguelike standard is that each dungeon trip is actually a separate game, so starting with extra items is akin to starting with a cheat code. It also allows players to build up their state over time, which also detracts from the need to play smart and carefully.

  • Lord Gek

    True enough, John, but almost every Mystery Dungeon game has at least one “Final Dungeon” which is a 99 level dungeon where all items are unidentified, you start at level 1, and can’t bring any external items…so pretty damned close to a REAL roguelike experience and clearly the best part of these games.

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