A great return to 2-D brawlers
The Star/Asia News Network
SOME of my fondest video-game memories include playing 2-D side-scrolling beat-'em-ups like Golden Axe, Streets Of Rage and Double Dragon, way back in the 1990s.
These days, it is pretty rare to find 2-D action games. But one developer in particular - Vanillaware - continues to make a name for itself by specialising in making beautiful 2-D games such as Odin Sphere and Muramasa.
Its latest title is Dragon's Crown, a throwback to a bygone era of brawlers, set in a mediaeval world of swords and magic. With the distinct 2-D hand-drawn art style of George Kamitani, the game delivers a surprisingly satisfying action role-playing experience.
I liked how each character caters to a different play style. Melee characters - like the Fighter, Amazon and Dwarf - are more of my style, but I also liked the challenge of playing less-hardy classes, like the Elf and Sorceress.
The premise of the game is pretty simple: You are a hero and you go questing through dungeons, killing everything that comes from the right side of the screen. At the end of the level, you fight a boss.
Most of the dungeons are linear, so there isn't much exploration. But the combat is generally fun, though things can get chaotic and busy with four players.
The PS Vita version of the game experienced slowdown, especially during busy fights. But this was not the case for the PS3 version. This is not game breaking, but it spoils the action a little.
If anything, Dragon's Crown is great for co-op play with your friends, especially when faced with particularly difficult dungeons. Sadly, there is no cross- play option - a PS Vita owner can't play with a PS3 gamer.
For all its flaws, Dragon's Crown is an enjoyable game that will let you relive the golden age of beat-'em-ups.