I may only be two levels in but oh the time I have already dedicated to this title. I had no real problem in the first stage, and it immediately became clear that the more I upgrade Salena, the game’s protagonist, the easier the stage will probably be to finish if I come back to it later on. Considering all the achievements in this are clear x amount of quests with the quests being certain tasks like kill two enemies at once or a certain boss, completing specific levels, as well as obtaining the best rank possible on each stage, what seems like a cake walk could actually take a lot longer than first thought.
But then the second stage started, and the urge to whip my controller across the room rose quickly. Enemies just out of reach on platforms that require specific timing to hit, birds and bats that swoop in like the Medusa heads from early Castlevania titles that are the bane of my existence to this very day, not to mention pistons that come up from the ground, ceiling and walls to crush you turned a stage that should have taken ten minutes max into a forty minute plus first class ticket straight into the depths of gaming Hell, the kind that Dante never would have seen coming. I enjoy a challenge, but a lot of this simply wasn’t fair and immediately reminded me of the indie title now Xbox One game Aban Hawkins & the 1000 Spikes. The difference is, while that one relied more on guessing and memory to advance any further, this one’s most challenging segments focused on timing so precise that, really, it becomes more dumb luck than anything.
The second stage’s very last puzzle (if you can call it) requires you to jump down a large corridor filled with fast crushing pistons that move much quicker than some of the trailers make them out to be. Towards the top is an indentation that is outlined by the schematic on the wall before you plunge to your imminent many deaths. Chances are you’ll be as frustrated as I was before even taking the dive, but even if calm and collected before hand you’re still going to get crushed, pure and simple. The reason being that you need to time everything just right and hope you don’t accidentally graze or land on one of the piston casings because, if it happens, well, nice knowing ya. This is exactly what happened to me time after time after time. Just finishing this stage was honestly a case of dumb luck since I just barely escaped being crushed half way down. Had I jumped a millisecond later would have nicked my foot and sent me shooting back upwards.
One of the games I loved from my childhood was Ghosts n’ Goblins. Hell the entire franchise was great, especially Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts. While this title does remind me of those experiences from back in the day, it just doesn’t live up to the intense difficulty. Instead of providing a true challenge, if what I experienced at the end of level two is much like the rest of the game then developers Scientifically Proven are another group who miss the point of what made nineties games so frustratingly blissful. There’s a major difference between difficulty and near impossible situations, and this title has already showed me enough to fear that it’s mostly the latter, killing my desire to continue. Hopefully my theory is right about the upgrades possibly makin things easier because, quite frankly, when not mercilessly handing me my ass over and over without thought or reason because I was a split second or less off, it is rather enjoyable, especially visually.
I appreciate the game’s hand drawn Tim Burton-esque Gothic meets American Manga art style, which was aesthetically pleasing during the bouts of homicidal rampage the title almost induced in such a short amount of time. To be honest, this was what caught my eye the most when it came to the decision to pick this one up. The only thing that could possibly make the scenery more engaging for me would be turning the characters into marionettes to become more of a horrific puppet show inspired bed time fairy tale. The characters alread have the slow moving fluidity to them so it would make sense if they did.
It’s unfortunate that the game hit me so hard with the Hail Mary shots only excusable by the fact you seem to get unlimited lives. If it were like the old Nintendo or Arcade games of the eighties to nineties we would have had three lives if lucky at a quarter to fifty cents a play, maybe even a dollar with no check points. It does bridge the divide between the money hungry gimmicks of back in the day with modern story progression tactics and it works well enough to make Blood of the Werewolf a title you can at least progress in, even if it does take a long while to do so. I will slowly make my way through this little Gothic fairy tale, but more as a side venture than anything else considering the number of top notch games out there that don’t make me pull my hair out constantly to keep from smashing my console with a hammer and checking myself into anger management classes. Again…