Call some friends over because it’s time to save the day!
Posted 4 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
Castle Crashers from Alien Hominid HD developer The Behemoth, has been one of the more anticipated titles to be released on the Xbox Live Arcade in a very long time. After many delays and evil rumors putting the game in the territory of vaporware, this four player co-op brawler RPG has finally been released. The first thing that popped into my head when I started playing Castle Crashers were memories of The Simpsons and X-Men arcade games from the early 90s. We have not seen many brawlers on consoles in the last few years, other then remakes or ports of older games such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Using action and a mix of Role Playing Game elements combining together to create a unique title on the Xbox 360 console.
The plot behind Castle Crashers is simple: a Wizard has stolen a large crystal and four princesses and it’s up to you (and up three other knights) to save the day. You will travel to various locations throughout the game’s world and battle wave upon wave of different enemies as you pursue the Wizard and try to save the princesses. The world is large and there is a lot trekking to various locations including fighting on water, ice, lava, the desert and in caves. Along the way you will battle many bosses which unlock key items that help you reach your final objective. Every location can be replayed as many times as you wish, which will be necessary if you hope to complete the game.
You have the ability to start off as one of four Knights each with different traits and abilities. As you progress and complete the game, more bonus characters become available to play. The game has an RPG element to it as your character gains experience during battle. As you level, points are given which can be allocated to four different traits: strength, magic, defense and agility. How you level up is completely up to you. If you want a brawler, you will upgrade your strength to its max or if you want a balanced fighter you will evenly distribute the points.
Combat in the game is fairly straight forward but has a lot of depth to it with the X and Y buttons are used to attacks. The X button acts as your basic attack while the Y button is used for stronger attacks. The A button is used to jump while the B button is for special items, such as a bow, bombs or a sandwich which makes you a super brawler for a short period of time. Every knight carries a shield which can be used by holding the Left Trigger and your Magic can be used by holding down the Right Trigger and Y.
As you progress in the game, you will level up and unlock special combos for your character which will make your attacks all the more powerful. You begin the game with a basic sword, but as you advance, you will uncover different weapons. Some give you a boost in strength but will make you weaker in magic, while other weapons may give benefits in other categories. You can essentially use any weapon to complete the game, but you will want to unlock the best and rarest weapons to do so. There are also animals which you befriend that give you special add-on abilities, these abilities include better charging or aid in attacks.
The game is extremely difficult and you will die a lot but to be thankful you are not punished, but that does not mean you will not be frustrated. Instead of dying and losing progress and experience, you are brought back to the world map. All experience is kept and you can replay the same level, or go back through a level you’ve already completed, to strengthen your character. Since you will need to have a strong Knight to complete the game, this is very beneficial.
You can complete the game alone but it is the multiplayer that makes this game really enjoyable. If you can get three other friends to sit with you and play, you will get the full Castle Crashers experience. All enemies have various attacks and actually strategize as they try to stop you. You will encounter large groups and they will often execute different attacks to punish you. If you can have a larger group, you can combat this. It doesn’t make the game a breeze on multiplayer, but you can do special attacks which balances the game out.
There is an online mode, but unfortunately has been very problematic with issues connecting to games or save files being lost. A patch is in the works but you’re best to call your friends to your place instead.
Graphics and Sound
The art style is really unique and works great for an XBLA title. There are a lot of barbarians of different styles and each act uniquely. Even non-playable characters are drawn really well. There is some repetition with the background images, but it’s not that bad, nor does it make the game feel cheap. The bosses look amazing and you will sometimes wonder what was going through the Artist’s head when he came up with the designs for them.
The game does not contain any speech and while this is not expected for a downloadable game something quirky would have been nice, especially if it matched the unique art style and fast action. Musically the game is also great to listen to with a audio styling similar to what we might here in a cartoon and the music fits to the entire game. Also, thanks to the numerous locations in the game, you will not hear the same recycled music from start to finish. The score might not appeal to everyone, but it fits the game’s setting very well. Enemy noises and environments vary to great degree and while the sound effects are fairly standard in nature they are well done enough not to distract from the game.
Castle Crashers also offers you two additional modes that can be played online or offline. On top of the main story mode you have Battle Arena and All You Can Quaff. Battle Arena has you battling waves of enemies in an Arena type setting. It starts of simple, but as you progress in the rounds, the difficulty becomes higher as more enemies enter the battle. All You Can Quaff is a food consumption contest which requires you to rapidly tap two buttons in the hopes of being the first person to devour all the food on your plate. You might not spend hours in each mode, but both are fun distractions if you happen to actually get tired of the main quest.
The game’s difficulty will frustrate you at times, but if you are looking for a game to play with friends, it’s hard to not recommend Castle Crashers. The length of the game is perfect for an Arcade title and the customization of characters also gives the game a lot more depth. It is unfortunate that problems exist online, but considering this game can still be enjoyed with up to four people on one console, you’re still getting your MS points worth.
If you have ever played classic arcade brawlers back in the day, you’ll feel right at home and if you haven’t, this is a great game to start. Buy it.
+ Stunning Animations
+ Lots of customization and plenty to unlock
+ Fun to play with friends
- Online Problems
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Release Date : 2008/08/27
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
Developer : The Behemoth
Category : Adventure
ESRB : T
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