Does this vampire platformer pack a meaty bite? Or is it a damsel in distress?
For a start, impressions are really good when this game loads up. Bright and colourful looking on the first screen there’s a choice of campaign and arcade modes, with the usual options and settings to fine tweak the game to your personal taste.
Set in a world where humans and vampires live together, there’s harmony on the undead front through a can of beverage called “Red Mist”. A delicious alternative that comes in a variety of blood groups, although it’s unclear if there’s a diet version! Then when humans suddenly start disappearing one day, a vampire hunter called “Damsel” is called in to investigate and then what follows over the various missions to come, is a tale of unexpected revelations, mystery and intrigue.. I mean “what could possibly have happened to them?”
This story is told over a series of comic paged little segments that are intertwined between the games 75 Missions,and are nicely illustrated throughout. Players tackle these missions, over 3 story blocks of 25 missions a block,with completion of the first block unlocking the second.
What is safe to say is that the first 4 to 5 missions act as a tutorial, with mission objectives explained for each.The purpose being, to collect purple skulls littered throughout each area and completing the objective in the fastest time possible and with the highest score possible,whilst amassing a continuous collection of skulls that act as the games combo multiplier. Of course, if only things were that easy! Firstly, there are bombs littered throughout the missions, that should you come into their vicinity will trigger a 15 second countdown,and a mini game involving pressing the button on 4 contacts in a slider. Hostages are tied up and will be released, should you mash a button on a small mini game to loosen the ropes,and there’s also computers to hack, laser beams to break and all whilst taking down the various vampires walking and flying throughout each mission.
Everything is presented very well, with the graphical side nicely polished and cartoon colourful and the sound adequate and movement decently fluid for most part. It’s only when the missions really start and we hit the gameplay, that things totally break down and fall apart! Partly, it’s down to the placement of everything in a mission, and confusion on your behalf. You are making a speed run, yet with a bomb next to a hostage in an area, you firstly stop to do one mini game then next to the next mini game. Then, there’s the hostage situation where a sitting captured hostage is prone to friendly fire from your own weapon. Released and standing and dancing its immune from fire thereafter. Kill the hostage whilst sitting and it’s mission over! Letting a bomb detonate and regardless of whether you are near the bomb or on the other side of the map.. Its mission over!
Vampires and the combat doesn’t come without its problems either!
Each vampire will pace left and right in its own zone. Outside the zone, and each vampire is totally oblivious to you, even a foot away, thus allowing you to attack freely or more importantly, allowing you to free an hostage or diffuse a bomb. If there’s a bomb or hostage within the zone however, and things once again get bogged down and clunky! Mini games can be suddenly interrupted by a vampire attack, and hit by a vampire projectile, damsel will hit the ground, stunned for several seconds. Yes, you’ve activated a 15 second countdown on a bomb timer, and getting up from a stun places that at 13 secs, and a race to diffuse before “mission over”.
Flying vampires also come as a problem too, exposing a firing flaw otherwise hidden.Damsel can fire left and right and up and down, and can jump and fire up and down. When a flying vampire suddenly materialises with a rocket launcher however, the vampire can aim and fire diagonally at you, and guess what? You cannot fire diagonally back!
Overall, and from nice stylish presentation, comes a game that suffocates hideously under its own mechanics. The premise of playing missions multiple times to get higher scores and faster times, is totally hindered by repetition in backgrounds, mini games interrupting the flow, and flaws in the attacking/positioning and activation mechanics throughout the gameplay.
Unfortunately, tedium and boredom sets in fast with constant repetition throughout the missions. Damsel has too many failings and errors to “count”, and sadly, this game can be an utter “pain in the neck” , making “your blood boil” very quickly.. So unless there is an update very soon, there is too much at “stake” even at a sale price..
Thanks to Screwtape Studios for the code.