Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon 2 by Squaresoft is a game that was by and large ridiculed by US critics. Completely misunderstood by the jaded gaming public, it was criticized for lack of depth, simple graphics, and repetitive gameplay. However, anybody who still has a copy of Nethack or Angband on their computer anywhere will probably love this game.

CMD2 is a a Roguelike game. While it is true that the game lacks the depth of the most advanced roguelikes available today, it has many other features unseen in its peers. Don't compare this to Final Fantasy, or Might and Magic, or any other such popular RPGs. For the unitiated, perhaps the best way to explain it would be describing it as a turn-based Diablo.
The main character in CMD2 is Chocobo, a flightless bird and staple character of the Final Fantasy series of games. There are also a number of sidekicks which will help you out over the course of the game, adventuring with you and aiding you in a manner similar to "pets" in the classic Hack and its variants. One of the unique features of the game is that a second player can take control of these sidekick characters, allowing two players to cooperate in the dungeon crawl.
This is a dungeon crawl, completely and entirely. Dungeons are randomly generated and long. To succeed in the game, it is usually necessary to flee and re-attempt each dungeon multiple times until you are strong enough to handle it. However, as you progress through the dungeon, you can collect the "essence" of the creatures you defeat, and forge it into new weapons and armor, enchanting your equipment. There is a strong element of discovery, figuring out what each essence will do. Another similarity to the roguelikes of old is that equipment must be identified or used before you know what it will do. Many cursed items exist, and woe to the careless adventurer who uses a card of amnesia.
Interspersed throughout the game are a number of high quality cut scenes, but the point of this game is the game itself, not the destination or story. That is the element that has isolated it from the American consumer. Unlike many contemporary RPG's, it is the gameplay and advancement of character (learning magic, gaining magical feathers, levelling, and forging superior equipment) that drive the game instead of the storyline.
In my opinion this game is well worth the time of anyone who still enjoys the occasional game of <insert your favorite roguelike here>. However, anyone who has never heard of Rogue or Moria will probably find the game tedious and lifeless, unless they can force themselves to really explore everything the game has to offer, rather than trying to push through it as rapidly as possible.

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