Blood­stained: Curse Of The Moon

Games TM - - CONTENTS -

Stretch goals rarely ex­tend be­yond the realms of ad­di­tional plat­forms and added modes, but Inti Cre­ates had much loftier am­bi­tions for its sur­plus funds, promis­ing to con­jure up a stand­alone 8-bit mini-game should the crowd­fund­ing masses con­trib­ute enough coin to­wards their beau­ti­ful ac­tion-plat­former Blood­stained: Rit­ual Of The Night. that prom­ise ma­te­ri­alised as Blood­stained: Curse Of The Moon, a de­light­fully retro spin-off set in the same uni­verse and featuring the main game’s cast as playable char­ac­ters.

Curse Of The Moon dis­cards all mod­ern bells and whistles in favour of an ex­pe­ri­ence that looks and feels ev­ery bit like a bona fide nes-era Castl­e­va­nia ti­tle. Able to switch be­tween the game’s four char­ac­ters at will, you are tasked with travers­ing a labyrinth of gloomy gothic set­tings, do­ing battle with all man­ner of demons, from gi­ant bats to bowwield­ing skele­tons. each mem­ber of this quixotic quar­tet has their own spe­cial abil­i­ties and sec­ondary weapons; some add ex­tra oomph in battle while oth­ers al­low ac­cess to dif­fer­ent routes through the eight stages of this peril-rid­dled plat­former. Miriam’s whip at­tack and en­hanced ath­letic prow­ess make her in­valu­able, as does Alu­card-like Gebel’s abil­ity to trans­form him­self into a bat and sail over the game’s pre­car­i­ous plat­form­ing sec­tions with care­free ease, while Zangetsu’s lack of range and al­chemist Al­fred’s lower health means they’re largely left sit­ting on the bench.

Inti Cre­ations has per­fectly cap­tured both the look and feel of a game that’s near­ing its 30-year an­niver­sary, and, as such, can be pun­ish­ing for the un­trained thumbs and dulled re­sponse times of a mod­ern au­di­ence. there is a less gru­el­ing set­ting for those unini­ti­ated with games from the days of yore that grants a never-end­ing sup­ply of con­tin­ues. For a true taste of the past, how­ever, Vet­eran mode in­cludes the all but de­funct no­tion of lim­ited lives, also, get­ting hit means you get knocked back, lead­ing to more than a few in­stances of char­ac­ters plum­met­ing straight to their deaths as en­e­mies pro­vide a re­lent­less as­sault and the plat­form­ing el­e­ments re­ally come into play dur­ing the game’s later lev­els.

In true retro fash­ion, char­ac­ters feel slow and slug­gish and have lim­ited movement when it comes to at­tack­ing and evad­ing, while these el­e­ments can cause oc­ca­sional frus­tra­tion, there’s also an un­de­ni­able charm to Curse Of The Moon’s staunchly old-school style. It’s a lov­ingly crafted, bare-bones ap­proach that pays homage to the plat­form­ing greats, re­ly­ing on the chal­lenge of its lim­ited yet solid me­chan­ics rather than va­ri­ety and flair.

Ad­di­tional modes and mul­ti­ple paths through lev­els grant a lot of re­play value to what’s oth­er­wise a short­lived side-scroller, and while it might feel too out-dated for some, for fans of gam­ing’s more ar­chaic era, it’s a chal­leng­ing and nos­tal­gic ex­cur­sion that serves as a fit­ting warm-up for Blood­stained’s main event.

VER­DICT 7/10 a De­light­ful AND DE­MAND­ING trip Down mem­ory lane

Each of the game’s stages cul­mi­nates in a spec­tac­u­lar boss show­down. Con­fronta­tions with these for­mi­da­ble foes in­volve a lot of trial and er­ror as you learn their at­tack pat­terns and the tim­ing for land­ing blows in re­ta­la­tion.

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