Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lucifer Ring (Playstation)

You may have gathered this from how often they're featured herre, but i really love beat em ups. They're a great, under-appreciated genre, and one which I honestly believe still has a lot of unexplored potential. Here is a post about yet another one of them.
It's on the Playstation, which is nice, since the 32-bit era was something of a dry patch for the genre. It's also got a pretty generic fantasy setting, but let's not hold that against it. The setting does have an advantage, in that it means the game has tons of different enemies, to the point that I really think it could have benefitted from an in-game bestiary (two points, though: this game was Japan-only, so an in-game bestiary would probably have been of no use to me, and also, I think most games would be vastly improved by the inclusion of a bestiary. I love bestiaries.). The usual problem of pallette swapped enemies doesn't even rear its head until the third stage, and even then, it's done quite well, with the "new" re-used enemies having different weapons and attacks than their predecessors.
So anyway, you play as a guy named Nash, and you go from one end of a generic fantasy location (forests, temples, caves, etc.) to the other, beating up every monster you meet. It all looks very nice, if you like low poly models and the like (and if you don't, what's wrong with you? weirdo.). There's a few power-ups to get, including the usual health refills and extra lives, plus the less common magic swords. There are at least two kinds of magic sword (though there might be others later in the game, maybe?): fire and ice. There doesn't seem to be any kind of elemental weakness/resistance system going on, but the ice sword has the advantage of being able to randomly freeze enemies for a few seconds. But oddly, the enemies are invincible while frozen, making it slightly less useful than it first seems. There's also a normal sword anti-power up that you should avoid.
The game is mostly linear, though once or twice each stage you'll find yourself at a branching path, and usually the most difficult path (or the one with bottomless pits on it) will be the one that leads to magic swords and extra lives. There's four action buttons: jump, normal and strong attacks, and the usual "damage everything emergency magic" button. You charge your magic by taking or causing damage, like the power bar in a fighting game.
It's a fairly fun game, the only big faults being the difficulty, which is a bit too high for my liking, and the lack of a co-op mode, an omission that is always baffling in beat em ups. Really, who makes a single player-only beat em up? Tsk.

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