Etrian Odyssey was unlike any game I had ever played before. I was never part of the old school dungeon crawling scene as a kid. I had my Mario, I had my Bionic Commando and I had my 1942 and that kept me happy. When I heard of Etrian Odyssey it appealed to me because it gave me a chance to explore a genre I never really knew. My past gaming experiences taught me that enough brute force could solve any problem. I had heard that EO was difficult and this was something that appealed to me. I grew up on one hit kills and I miss those challenging days.
So I popped EO into my DS and off I went. I looked around at the different classes the game offered and decided to bulk my self up with pure strength. It was a rather crude approach but I felt that I could strong arm my way through any situation. So with a muscle bound team of Landsknecht, Protectors and a Dark Hunter I ventured off into the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. Although the storyline was interesting I simply wanted to rush in and get some action.
The first enemy I faced was a humble Mole. I realized that this Mole was putting up a bit of a fight but I was feeling brash so I continued to cut him down and the Mole was defeated. I felt confident after defeating my first enemy and it appeared that my muscle bound strategy would serve me well. I continued through the first stratum and enjoyed myself as I drew out a respectable map. I continued to find items and cut down FOEs with only an occasional need to head back to town. With each step and each new corridor mapped I was feeling content and ready to take on the deeper stratum.
The enemies were growing in strength but so had my characters and I was still able to hack my way through any trouble I encountered. I had brought a modest amount of supplies with me but had decided to not purchase a Warp Wire in hopes of saving up for something shiny. I was cutting through Rabbits and Fenders with little regard for my health. I always kept track of how close I was to the exit so I felt that things were under control. Then I reached the third stratum and my good friend the Roller was there to greet me.
This first battle against the Roller left my party in ruins. All that remained was a Protector, a Landsknecht and three heavy corpses. At this point, my one goal in life was to escape the Labyrinth and save the tattered remains of my team. I had spent a great deal of time mapping and earning experience and I couldn't let that effort go to waste. I rushed as quickly as I could through each stratum, escaping fights and cutting down the lesser FOEs. I had now made it the the first stratum and was starting to feel optimistic. My Landsknecht had fallen during my escape but my Protector was alive and he had a decent amount of HP remaining. So I rushed to the exit in as few steps as I could manage. My only focus was on that glorious set of stairs but every other living thing in the Labyrinth seemed focused on my flesh.
I was two steps away from the exit when I ran into a group of Moles.
Was this the family of the first Mole I had killed? Their thirst for my blood seemed insatiable. I attempted to escape the battle while they continued with their relentless attacks but to no avail. I decided to turn and face my FOEs but at this point it was too late. I stood my ground and fought with everything my Protector had left but in the end...
I was taken down by a single Mole.
It was at this point that Etrian Odyssey taught me something. I learned that brute force and a cavalier attitude were not enough to survive in this harsh world. I was going to have to change my ways or accept defeat. With almost any other game I would have called it quits but I wanted to prove something to myself. I actually cared about this journey and I cared about the game. I wanted to complete the challenge EO had presented me and it was at this point that a tiny DS cart transformed into an experience that I will never forget.