Spider-man Games: In Full Form

When it comes to two superheroes who share a great deal of history together, while having very little to do with each other, Batman and Spider-man are right up there. Not only have they had similar histories, but their overall personas are two sides of the same coin. They are also arguably the most popular superheroes in the market today. Similarly, their video games have shared a great deal of success and downfalls throughout the decades. Ever since the early development of video games, there were games for Spider-man and the caped crusader. Whereas Spider-man got his debut appearance in Atari 2600’s “Spider-man” released in 1982 and Batman made his debut in “Batman” released for home computers in 1986. This is prominent for the mere fact that several would draw the conclusion that Spider-man video games are largely knockoffs of the Batman games, which is not true.

Yes, there was probably some ideas gained here and there throughout development of both, but to bury the needle immediately without getting the facts is a mistake. Just because the combat system in the 2018 Spider-man game is very similar to the one in Arkham Asylum from 2009 does not mean that every single asset was ripped from the Batman game. Case and point:

Spider-man 2 (2004)

Hailed as one of the most unlikely gems to grace the wall crawler. Not only was this a free roaming sandbox, but it was also a movie tie-in game. Both of these elements normally spell immediate death for any game developer and whatever video game they were commissioned to produce. It went against the odds and not only survived, but thrived. It is still hailed as one of the best classic Spider-man ports of all time.

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While it is not without its faults and glitches, the game is still very enjoyable as a whole. One highlight of the game is that you are able to travel throughout the entire city swinging your web just like the webhead himself. Beating up criminals is fast paced, fun and simple without making the game too much of a chore to learn. This is where much of the gameplay in question comes into play. As you are about to be hit by an opponent, your spider-sense goes off to tell you to dodge. The mechanics and the interactive fighting is not as polished as the Arkham games, but they still have their own charm. The graphics are bright and colorful, though, in retrospect, they didn’t age all that well. The people themselves look like blurry alien life forms. Still, that’s just how things have progressed over the years.

The boss battles are plentiful and diversified in their mechanics as no two are exactly alike. One of the more agitating ones is chasing Black Cat through the city, following her trail. However, in keeping with the movie storyline, Dr. Octopus is the man of the hour and his boss fights do not disappoint. There are other usual suspects from the Spidey rogue gallery, including the Shocker and Mysterio who don’t have so much to do with the plot. They’re more there to keep the energy up and the game a bit longer.

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Much of the cast from the movie reprise their roles for the video game. Though the voice work is rather choppy in many areas, mostly due to the fact that they had limited numbers of voice actors, it’s not distracting from the overall quality. With a variety of side missions to perform and an overarching story, it’s still relatively short. What game there is will keep you occupied throughout. Though, one side mission that many have cited as a more dismal memory was “I lost my balloon!”

Spider-man (2000)

Though the name is not very imaginative, the game itself is very much deserving the name. Based on the 90’s animated series, what it lacks in three dimensional graphics, it more than makes up for in purely fun gameplay. Whether you prefer the N64, PS1 or Dreamcast version, it doesn’t matter. The wall crawling is still very easy to learn and the graphics are easy to get use to.

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The game is a marvel of its time, featuring a vast number of Marvel characters throughout. It can get especially easy in some areas, for sure. However, if you’re just here to experience the game, it is quite the ride. Not only are you playing as the titular character, but you are also running from the police as you have been framed for a crime you did not commit. Now you must fight to clear your name with the help of allies such as the Captain America, Daredevil, Black Cat and Venom… wait what?!

Despite its born on date, this game has aged with some grace. Though, it still comes with the obligatory glitches and mechanical failures. For the year 2000, it’s quite the marvel. They may not have added the webs to his character model, but they brought numerous alternate costumes as a wonderful incentive to keep playing.

As you may have noticed, Spidey has gotten a lot of love from game developers who just wanted to do him justice. Games that had no business being as good as they were turned out to be classics that are still played and talked about to this day. Very few super hero games can do that for you. To be able to play a game and feel like you are the hero is a very rare quality, even today. The fact that Spider-man had games that could achieve even a fraction of that feeling back in the early 2000s is outstanding! Yes, he has had his fair share of the stinkers, every hero with his library size has.

He still has better games than Superman, am I right?

Spider-man Game: Through the Ages

Our favorite web-slinger first appeared back in September of 1962 in Amazing Fantasy #15. Since then, he has been beloved by millions as one of the greatest heroes ever created. He is relatable, funny, dynamic and an all-around decent human being… with radioactive spider powers. One draw to him is the fact that even though he is a superhero, he is not too overly powerful. He may be stronger than any normal human being, but there are several superheroes that are far greater in strength. He has his weaknesses and his quirks, but that only makes him more realistic and makes those tense scenes all the more fun to watch.

Being arguably the favorite superhero comes with yet another perk, though. The merchandise and paraphernalia are absolutely through the roof! You would be hard pressed to find some form of entertainment or toy where Spider-man is not prominently showcased in all his red and blue glory. Among these massively popular mediums is video games. Spidey has been featured in tons of games on a vast number of different systems (even systems you may never have heard about) and while some of them have the wall-crawler at his finest, some of them simply missed the mark.

First, we can get into more dismal views of the webbed crusader. He has no shortage of terrible games in his library and many of them can be found in his less recent video games. There was an era of games where the concept of a Spidey game was rather raw and unmolded.

Spider-Man: Return of the Sinister Six

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One of the most well-known games in the old Spider-man era is the 1992 release on the NES, Master system, and game gear. We will be looking at the version of the NES console where we play a side-scrolling platform version of the old web-head. While the graphics are quite good for the time, that’s about all that can be said in a positive light. LJN is a company notorious for its bad video games and timely releases at the cost of quality. It boasts a great roster of villains, some of the favourites are showcased here, and while they shine in the comic-like atmosphere of the game, they are still overtly hated and despised for all the wrong reasons.

The controls of this game are absolutely atrocious! It is a very steep learning curve and the difficulty spike comes from the inability to pull off simple moves rather than the actual gameplay. The worst part is the hit detection. You can be right on target with your punches, which is your strongest attack and still completely miss the mark. You have to be standing in an exact spot and execute it just right to get the desired effect. The boss fights are tedious and completely unfair, rather than sporting a fair challenge. You have a hit bar of four squares while your enemies have a hit bar of seemingly ten or twenty.

The real terror comes in the form of your hit bar and making sure you do not get damaged by enemies. If you get even two hits from the underlings early on, you may as well consider yourself on borrowed time. You have two whole lives to play with, and after losing the second time, you have to start all the way at the beginning of the game. With the hit detection, wonky controls and the fact that you have very little health in the first place, you need to get good and get good quick.

It is clear that the developers were trying to come up with a system that would make the gameplay harder in order to make the time played longer so that you feel like you get more bang for your buck. However, there’s just one problem, the game is not good. You can grow to like it if you really try, but the vast majority didn’t feel like it was worth their time to perfect their craft of playing the game. It was too hard, too tedious, and there were just better games out there that were more worth your time.

The Amazing Spider-man 1 and 2

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Now, we can look at the Gameboy entries of Spidey. These are some of the earliest titles in the gallery. The first one came out in 1990 and the next one coming out alongside The Return of the Sinister Six in 1992. Both of these games have been paired together for a reason which will become very clear very quickly.

The first game starts off with, once again, the controls. While we’re not going to judge it too harshly for the graphics (it’s Gameboy, guys, the graphics are going to be crap, get over it) we can very much lay into it for having some of the worst jumping mechanics ever made. Trying to jump over obstacles in this game are next to impossible in some cases, as you have to use a long jump in just the right amount of movement. This can be next to impossible when you are in between two very close crates and can’t gain up the proper momentum.

Once again, the game has been artificially elongated with overuse of difficulty in the form of close proximity in massive amounts of enemies! You can be on a screen for ridiculous amounts of time because of the line of birds above you and the men walking toward you trying to kill you all culminating in a frustrating conga line of stress. That added with the jump mechanic turn this game into a massive failure that is barely even playable from the start.

Spider-man 2 features Carnage on the cover. For those of you who are familiar with the comics, you will recognize the cover from Maximum Carnage in all its beauty and glory. After 2 years of silence, they finally come out with another Gameboy game to follow up the last one. This should be fu– oh who am I kidding? It’s even worse. Yeah, I know I said I wasn’t going to touch on the terrible graphics of the time, but I have an excuse. These graphics are even more abysmal than the first instalment! Spider-man looks like he’s made of flimsy clay and his walking mechanic is one of the most awkward things to look at.

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Without a playthrough to follow, you will get lost. You have to watch a playthrough very, very closely or you are going to bore yourself by searching through the same hallways and staircases over and over, scratching your head to figure things out. Now, I don’t know what your cup of tea is, but if you want a straightforward game with action-packed mechanics, look away from this game. It’s a puzzle solving game. Yes, having Spider-man solve puzzles and use his wits to defeat the baddies is a good thing, but in small doses. You will be traversing these hard puzzles to get to the villains while clawing your eyes out.

The sad part about this is that the controls have improved somewhat. The hit detection is more well-focused and the jump mechanics have changed to make it much more intuitive to jump over boxes and obstacles. However, we trade one horrific trait for a whole nother one as this game is ridiculously boring and hard to figure out. Is it worth your time? Well, that’s obviously for you to figure out, but this game will be hard pressed to appeal to the masses.

So, all in all, we see that Spider-man has had a rough past (thanks in part to LJN) when it comes to video games. What brought all of these problems about? Controls, of course. Controls and the limitations of video games to bring about a travesty of problems when it comes to depicting the hero in his true form. Spidey is a mobile hero. His agility, flexibility and quick thinking are what many love about him when it comes to fighting crime, and back in the old side-scrolling days of video games, they just couldn’t go about translating all of that into games. The limitations of game consoles back then made it nigh impossible to do him justice and the games suffered for it along with their players.

Join us next time as we travel through the ages to take a look at more video games featuring the wall-crawler and his entire host of villainous misfits! There’s a lot of standouts that feature Spidey and while we can’t get through all of them, we can certainly take a quick gander. Remember to stay a true-believer, and remember to drink water.

 

A Vibrant, Fairy-Tale Universe – Stories: The Path of Destinies Review

Stories: Path of Destinies is set in a vibrant, fairy-tale universe, where you follow the ex-pirate and unintentional hero, Reynardo the Fox, on his journey to save the Kingdom from the Mad King. The game features charming, hand-drawn illustrations, a colourful storybook aesthetic, and a unique choice-based narrative in which players explore different storylines to find the path to victory.

This game is what I’d consider a hidden gem. It seems to have been forgotten in the annals of time, a damn shame considering how much fun I’ve had with it. It isn’t perfect, with an equal amount of cons to balance the pros, but it puts a unique spin adventure RPGs.

I didn’t know what to expect going in, but I’m pleasantly surprised by the story, and the large variety of choices offered to the player. After the opening prologue, you can choose between a series of choices, to advance to the next chapter. There are four to five chapters to get through, to get an ending.

Some decisions are obvious in their morality but others, less so. I wasn’t expecting a gut-wrenching tale, but there are moments where your bad choices culminate in a truly twisted ending. The anthropomorphic characters eradicate any sense of realism, but it plays in the game’s favor because unexpected twists feel more impactful as a result.

Your decisions have consequences, and you can choose to follow up your actions in the previous chapter, or deviate entirely. This flexibility allows for varied endings, keeping me on my toes even after my first playthrough.

The game has a total of twenty-four endings. This might sound like a nightmare, but only four are required to unlock the True End. I won’t spoil them for you, but they are easy to figure out after finishing the game once. These endings are centred on important characters, and objects, in the game.

I have mixed feelings about the gameplay. Fighting enemies is little more than button mashing, and though you have an upgradable skill tree, the skills aren’t very useful. Enemies die quicker as you level up, but the button mashing remains a constant. An interesting mechanic is the ability to impale your enemies with your sword and throw them off the platform, which eases the repetitive combat.

The combat isn’t terrible, but considering you need more than one playthrough to finish the story, it can get tiring. Level design is mostly linear, with alternate paths that can be unlocked by different swords. You craft these swords by collecting ores you find in treasure chests. Thankfully, the game isn’t stingy on that front. Gathering materials is easy enough and gave me an incentive to explore every nook and cranny of each level.

The narration is a thing of art. The funny, sarcastic, wall-breaking comments livens up an otherwise mediocre game. The disembodied voice never feels overbearing. He’s an integral part of the story, narrating the dialogue of every character with flair and enthusiasm. If the story takes a turn for the dark, the narrator changes tack and matches how he speaks to the urgency of the situation.

He even has quips ready while Reynardo is engaged in combat! I often felt like I was being cheered on by a friend who was watching me play, making for a fun experience. If you know any dissenters who think voice acting isn’t important, just whip out Stories: Path of Destinies.

For anyone who wants a good RPG, with multiple endings and a well-written story, you can’t go wrong with this game. It might rough around the edges, but it’s definitely worth a buy.

Come Over to my Fist! – Gang Beasts Review

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Ready to take some anger out on some unsuspecting friends? Do you need a physics engine that makes very little sense with destructibles that break when you look at them funny? Well look no further! Gang Beasts has everything you need to get you started on clunky, awkward fighting as you beat the living snot out of someone and throw them, wait that didn’t work, throw them over– crap! He didn’t go over, hold on…. Throw them over the side of a building!

Gang Beasts is a multiplayer fighting game that you can play with your friends at home or online. You start out with a fairly impressive selection of player skins, although they don’t affect the gameplay a great deal, they are still fun to play. However, if it is your first time playing, get ready to start scratching your head if you either didn’t figure out the controls or don’t have anyone there to tell you how to use them. The controls and the character movement is so awkward that you need to get good with the controls in a big hurry, as those people you are playing with already have a gigantic advantage that is very hard to get over.

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However, that’s not to say you won’t still have fun playing. Even as you are getting the snot kicked out of you, there are several fun and creative ways to die throughout the large number of levels. Not to mention the fun little glitches you find along the way can be a lot of fun to look at. Even if you haven’t mastered the controls, the opponents you are facing can make some serious mistakes that you can all have a good little chuckle at. If you have the right group of people to play with, this game can be a great deal of fun.

No matter how fun the game can be, though, the controls and the game itself has its shortcomings that cannot be overlooked. Saying that the physics engine can be a problem is a serious understatement. You could be fighting someone for around ten seconds in one place and your platform could fall out from under you, killing you and whoever was on it with you when it happened. Then there are game glitches such as the same level repeating over and over again as you put the maps on random.

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When it comes to the overall experience, there isn’t a whole lot to look at here. It has no story mode, not that it really needs it, but it also doesn’t have a whole lot of content. There is a versus mode, a co-op mode, and there is also soccer (or the Football that is not American) mode. Beyond that, there is not a great deal to go off of. Once you are done playing through two random free-for-all matches with friends two or three times, you will probably be getting a headache with the game controls, and no, that is not an exaggeration, you will get a headache. There is probably a good two hours of gameplay overall.

The best method of playing when you first start out will definitely be the co-op mode, but as said before, you still need the right group of people to play with before you venture into this territory. Learning the controls is top priority, or you’re going to be losing, and losing a lot. It is a quirky game that will leave you flabbergasted in the wake of what it has in store for you, for better or worse. It can be a lot of fun to watch your friends make idiots out of themselves with one of the weirdest physics engines ever created, and it can be a gas surprising yourself with what you can do with it. If you have a group of friends to play with, this game is fairly well recommended. If not then it may be best to hold out on buying it until you get a few of the game’s flaws sorted out for yourself, either by walkthroughs or playing the game at someone else’s expense.

Another Addicting Jailbreak – The Escapists 2

Immediately, not sooner or later, I was drawn in. The Team17 logo that shot across my screen assembled itself into from panes of material and shattered only to reveal the start of your captivating experience. The title of the game,‘Escapists 2’, makes its appearance. I’m excited, I haven’t even pressed a button yet, and already my imagination is lit up with different imagery. Prisoners squeeze through the cracks of the game title, emphasizing the name of the game. Quick, they’re escaping! Sirens and flashing neon flood the screen. On queue, the men in blue arrive in full force ready to detain all the convicts they think will get away. The chase has begun.  As for spot on intros…. nailed it.

The Escapists 2

The Escapists 2

The splash screen, and introduction to the theme of the game got me amped. I was ready to go, and when I got to the initial game play screen where I could select options like play versus, play game, my characters, criminal record, and leaderboards, I didn’t hesitate. I clicked ‘PLAY GAME’, and was ready to go. Unexpectedly, I got a lovely note from my warden. He even offered me a place to learn how to escape. I mean, I got this in the bag if the wardens on my side. So I figured I’d make like Andy Dufresne and escape this tin box. I mean, how often do you look at a man’s shoes?

Welcome Prisoner

Welcome Prisoner

Interestingly enough, I wrote the last paragraph before continuing with the tutorial. I mean why not write your initial thoughts down while through the progression of trying something? I’d rather have that genuine feel too each and every word then well thought out after-the-fact. I made a Shawshank Redemption prior, and how spot on I was. Sipping on the beach, enjoy the sand and sunshine. You won’t understand how great this tutorial is until you try it yourself, it even makes you feel rushed like you would in a real prison escape. Guards chasing you while you’re trying to read what to do. I’m sure you can’t actually get caught in the tutorial, but it definitely gives you the vibe that it’s over for you. I won’t ruin the end for you, but the tutorial is worth it just for the story line. This initial prison gives you just enough information to stomp out the learning curve, and get you onto the track of escaping. Tutorial… nailed it.

After figuring out the basics of the game, I headed back to the character screen. I wanted the prisoner to be a representation of me in pixel form. I got to work. I killed Clive, and that’s why I’m a prisoner to begin with, but I also needed a spot for me. After renaming my character too ‘Johnny’, I was disappointed with the face selection options. Apparently I could only have a round ball head or an oval egg head, and skin tones seemed lacking as well. I felt like there could have been a larger range here. There were only three options, however those options were satisfactory. The hair options were great, tons of them. However, I also felt like they could have had a better selection of hairstyles if you were able to select a hairstyle and then choose the color of that hairstyle. Instead they give you some basic options that you can choose from, and their hair color variations. This is true for the beard, hat, and eye wear options as well. For character creation, I was a little disappointed however it wasn’t terrible. In the end, I still made a pretty bad-ass mockup of me. They call me Mr. Johnny.

Mr. Johnny

Mr. Johnny

It was time to get the ball rolling for real! So I moved on to my first real prison, and I was loaded up with all kinds of information beforehand. Apparently the warden had a lot of escape attempts and successes before so they built a new more ‘secure’ prison. This warden is probably a walk in the park, so breaking out is probably going to be easy. Plus, with these epic glasses I got on, I’ll have everyone begging to be my friend. Center Perks 2.0, I’m going to show you who the boss is.

First Prison

First Prison

I was excited to play after reading about the prison and what not, but I was slowed down by the prison customization screen. I thought it was awesome that I was able to update every single guard, and every single prisoner to have a look that I deemed necessary or a name of my choosing. Well, and that is how my entire family got locked up with me. Don’t worry family, I’m going to break us all out! However, I’m still disappointed with the character creation screens here because they’re exactly the same when I created my character. I’m liking them a little bit more because I still get mostly the desired effect, however I feel as if more work could of went into this. Into gameplay!

Boom, I’m in the first prison straight off the bus. I don’t spawn somewhere random like my cell, and the warden walks me through the prison like its a fancy hotel. Shows me where to get my hot meals, how I can gain strength, speed, and intellect, and he hands me the keys to the gate. Alright, alright, he didn’t hand me the keys to the gate of the prison, but he might as well have. I didn’t feel the character strength I should have from the warden, as he lead me to my cell that was nicer than a Hilton Suite. The best part of all of this? The film crew recording everything. I’m going to be on television, ma!

On my first day to breakfast, I immediately made the mistake of left clicking and getting into a fight. I got the rocks kicked out of me. I saw all the pretty coins above people’s heads, and I thought I could chat to them with my left mouse click, and then I realized… Nope, I’m going to wake up in the hospital. I will say, the way the infirmary staff carries you from the place you get knocked out at to a bed is pretty awesome. I later learned that all I had to do is hold my action key to shop from someone. Lessons are learned quickly. Time to hit the gym!

Gaining stamina, strength, and intellect are repetitive, but they go up really fast. So they’re easy to get high quick. So I didn’t have to worry too much about all my skills, I quickly skipped any part of the routine that I could without getting into to much trouble. I made sure to get my energy up by napping, taking showers, and attending all meal times. Every chance I could I went to go raise my skills ‘cause I knew I’d need them high to build things that would help me escape, and rob people who had things I needed. I also learned during this period that as long as you show up during the last minute of the task you get credit for it. So I would skip some of the tasks that I didn’t need. Like dinner time was after shower time, and both raise your energy. I didn’t need dinner so I showed up at the last minute, and didn’t get in trouble by the guards and still got extra study time in. Day one was over before I knew it.

Day two- I knew it, I had to prep for my escape. These walls had too been closing in, I started to feel like I’d be trapped here forever, and I knew that I had to get out. Lucky me, when I woke up I had found some screwdrivers in a fellow prisoners bunk, and I took them for my own. I weakened the vent in my cell to 10% and found the target cell I’ll need to be hide in when I make my great escape. I’ve located a weak path to the North of the facility, I’ll just need to hide in the cover of night.  Somehow the guards found damage that I had made earlier in the game, while attacking a wall and they beat the snot out of me in my own cell. Was a good time, but I’m still on the war path to escape. Well, I was then several days passed.

Needless to say I eventually escaped, however its not as easy as it looks. This game is totally worthwhile, however may take up some time in your life. I would recommend this to a friend or family member who wants to burn some time. Once you have played this game a few times it gets really easy, however it is pretty hard at the start. The online play is almost not worth it because you have to escape with all the other prisoners. Sometimes other players can be hard to work with. I mean, we’re all supposed to be convicts after all sometimes someone gets left behind. However, when you get out, Red, I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.

Defend the Homeland – Castle Crashers Review

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Your homeland is in grave peril! Your king needs your valiance! Take up your weapon and free the ladies of the land from the clutches of our sworn enemies! Destroy any that stand in the way of your might and valor! And look damn good while doing it!

Very little is needed to be said about the awesomeness of Castle Crashers, but sit down, we’re going to talk about it anyway! You are a knight whose sole duty is to repel the enemy and get your lady loves back, as they were kidnapped from the castle.

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While I will say that using the keyboard is not a good idea, using the controller is just as fluid as any other game you could ever find made from an AAA manufacturer. The controls are responsive, reliable and so very easy to learn by yourself. Still, it doesn’t care how easy it is to learn, the game still prompts you when you can use combos and what not while you play without stopping the game or halting your progress.

The colors and artwork are so very simple, but still beautiful to look at. The cartoony quality is charming and the humor matches it perfectly! While the humor can be a little juvenile at times, it still is worth noting that it can also be especially witty.

As for the difficulty, that’s probably the best part. It may not be considered extremely hard because there is a marvellous level up system that keeps the game progressing along with you, while not making the levels too easy for your character. There is no steep learning curve and you find yourself wanting to progress as long as you can! You’re not stopped between levels and forced to go to the map screen simply to select the next level on the list. No, you are simply brought to the map screen for the important decisions and crossroads.

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Combat! Smash your enemies’ faces in! No, seriously, you just push the buttons and dodge left to right, smashing your enemies to bits while you gain up levels, dodge and block their attacks, and kill them! It may sound repetitive, and in some ways it is, but it never feels stale because it’s always moving. You can’t really call this a pure beat’em up because it also has RPG elements, but it still feels like it belongs in the arcade where you can feed it a million quarters to keep it going.

That’s not the case, though. We are lucky enough to find this simple gem of an indie classic pretty much wherever games are sold for some pretty good prices. So, if you were looking for a beat’em up to relieve some stress, look no further! This will sate your hunger for blood and carnage! The boss battles will challenge you, but not to the level of absolute ragequit mode, you can learn their patterns and defeat them with your own skill, should ye be worthy!

Now go, hero! The homeland is counting on you! Slay thy enemies and drink thy water.

EnomView Score: 10 out of 10

Get the game: http://store.steampowered.com/app/204360/Castle_Crashers/