Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nerdicus Genesis Review #31: Blades of Vengeance

Title : Blades of Vengeance

Publisher : Electronic Arts

Developer : Beam Software

Genre : Action Platformer

Players : 1 / 2 Players

Release Date : 1993

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $15-$20

What can I say? I'm a sucker for fantasy platforming games. There is just something so extremely satisfying of taking your axe and burying it into the skull of a goblin, or casting a fiery explosion spell and watching a horde of skeletons burn to the ground into a pile of ash. What? I have a vivid imagination.

Check out that box art - I'm practically drooling. That's a D&D dream right there. And why do women never wear armor? I don't understand it. Is it to move quicker? Or is it to just flaunt their goods in order to distract their enemies. I shall never understand.

I'm actually quite upset, because I don't remember playing this game when I was a wee lad. In fact, the only time I remember seeing this was around 10 years ago when I was in my friends dorm room and he had his sega genesis hooked up to a 13 inch CRT. We were game-hopping, and we did happen to stumble upon this one. We didn't play long, but I DO remember wanting to keep playing. 

Can't really expect less from Electronic Arts, am I right? Back in the day, I feel like they were capable of so much more. Now all you hear from them is...E..A..SPORTS...its in the game (God, I hate that)

As with any fantasy games, the plot of course revolves around some evil dark lord or something over the kingdom and it's up to a few select few to save the day. As usual, you've got the warrior, the wizard and some amazonian ranger-esque. Typical Gauntlet or D&D fashion, no?

Unsheathe your sword. Things are about to get bloody.

I'm going to say, one of the ONLY things I hate about this game is this damn title screen. The magenta, on pink, on red does NOT work. I can't even read the damn title, and that font is absolutely unbearable. It's giving me a headache looking at it, so let's skip it as soon possible. It is interesting to note, that this game does offer some CO-OP which is always entertaining when playing these platforming games.

As stated earlier, you can choose from three characters. A barbarian warrior, a wizard, and an amazonian huntress. The amazonian is the most well balanced of the two, with equal range and attacks. The barbarian is the strongest, but has a limited range. The wizard has the largest range, but is the weakest. Self explanatory if you have played RPG themed games in the past. 

Even at the character selection screen, you'll realize that this game is a little bit ahead of its time for graphics. The animations are fluid to the point where they even made the hair move around as you run and jump. That's dedication right there. The stages are really brilliantly designed, and even the backdrops contain a tremendous amount of detail.

Like most platformers in the 16-bit generation, the levels are large with a lot to explore. You'll collect items, and silver coins that could be used to purchase additional items and upgrades. This includes additional lives, as well as increasing your inventory size so you can hold more goodies to help you in your quest to kill the Dragon Queen...or priestess..or whatever she was.

Secrets are hidden practically everywhere, and you'll need to look around as much as possible before you get to the end of the stage. The last thing you want to do is face a boss without collecting enough potions which you could have done if you just took the minute to look around. Finding meat in a wall, eh?

Speaking of bosses, you'll be greeted by one after completing the three parts of a single level. Be prepared though, because they are not easy. Each one provides a different challenge, and takes at least one sit through to understand their patterns. But, hell. Their designs are awesome.

The reason I really love this game is the attention detail. The fact that when you upgrade your armor and weapons, your characters avatar changes based on the equipment is just perfect. It really makes you feel like you are progressing. The animations are spot on, like I said, and every monster is uniquely designed. They took no short cuts with this game.

Moving on to the sound and the music, it's really quite good. The soundtrack has that classic epic-fantasy chip tunes theme, which sets the atmosphere perfectly. I just love the transition into the boss-battle music. Hardcore.

The game is challenging enough that it takes at least a little bit of time to beat completely, and offers enough replay valuable with the available characters that you'll want to complete it with each one. I can't say that often with games, but this is definitely one where I wanted to play over and over again.

*sigh* If only I had this game when I was a kid. Off to go find a boxed version now...

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next time - Keep on Gaming!


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