Castle Crashers Review

Info

Hack, slash, and smash your way to victory in this red-hot arcade adventure from the award-winning development studio, The Behemoth! Featuring hand-drawn characters, Castle Crashers delivers unique hi-res illustrated visuals like nothing youve ever seen before.

Players: 1-4
Released: 2008

Reviewed September 2008 by Andrew Graham.

Nearly two years since it was announced, The Behemoth (makers of the cult classic and XBLA title Alien Hominid), have released Castle Crashers. Initially expected last summer, after a much publicised delay it’s a joy to finally see this title grace the console as the finale to Microsoft’s Arcade of Summer event.

In-keeping with the art style of Alien Hominid, Castle Crashers is a colourful, cartoony and beautifully animated title, with a straight-forward story about saving four Princesses and killing everything and anything standing in the way. There are four main characters available to choose from, each with their own unique magical ability. These attacks are fairly standard incorporating amongst them elements such as ice, fire and lightning but there are also a number of different weapons to be collected like swords and maces or even bats and pitchforks. These all come with their own attributes which means you’ll need to decide whether you can afford to offset a +3 on your attack for a loss of -1 to your agility.

The game plays like a traditional side scrolling beat ‘em up, taking influences from classics like Streets of Rage, Batman Returns on the SNES and Double Dragon. Taking this a step further The Behemoth have introduced a RPG levelling-up element into the gameplay which not only makes it a lot more addictive but also increases the replay value.

As each character levels up, achieved through gaining experience by defeating enemies, they learn new moves and are also rewarded with skill points which can be allocated into the four different categories Attack, Defence, Agility and Magic.

Spreading these skills appropriately is vital if you want to tackle and defeat the multitude of fantastic bosses. These are naturally much stronger than regular enemies but each has weaknesses to exploit and by using the various health-replenishing items in conjunction with the animal orbs, they shouldn’t prove too much of an annoyance. The aforementioned orbs (found dotted around specific levels or in shops) add an interesting mix to the gameplay each one has a special property such as increasing the experience gained from defeating enemies or increasing the health restored from collecting food.

There were a lot of comments over the launch price of Castle Crashers as it came in at 1200 points. However, it’s a large game with a high replay value and certainly justifies the price. It’s not without its problems some enemies constantly use projectile attacks which are difficult to avoid and pin you in a corner. While this happens frequently and can become frustrating, it’s not enough of a problem to deter from the overall experience.

So was it worth the wait ? Undoubtedly yes. The Behemoth have created a frantic, enjoyable and addictive title throw in the four player co-op elements and the fun factor increases even further. If the action, art style and music arent enough to make you part with those Microsoft Points then the humour might well be. After all, how many games have you played recently where you see a deer shooting past you, using its poop as a propulsion system?!