Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thirty Two - Cthulhu's Angels

Here's a cop-out of a post. I apologize in advance. This is going to be half a review of one of the bonus modes in Cthulhu Saves the World (sorry!) and half a meditation on bonus modes such as this one.

That's right, this is a review of a game's bonus mode. It's a lame entry for the list, and for that I apologize, but I'll take what I can get. It's true I've replayed a few games on this list in other modes (inFamous, Torchlight), but I've also beaten a few games on this list multiple times and only listed them once (Dragon Age: Origins for two classes, Marvel vs. Capcom 3). This post is about neither of the above. Cthulhu's Angels is an interesting, smart move by the designers over at Zeboyd games - it's a gamehack made by the creators themselves.

If you haven't read my review for Cthulhu Saves the World yet, go ahead and do it. It's number twenty four on the blog. Back? Good. Sorry for misspelling Cthulhu like eleven times. Right, Cthulhu's Angels is a bonus mode for CSTW that changes everything and nothing. The framework of the game - every map and piece of scenery - is the same. The game takes you through the same dungeons and towns and such in the same order, but the same events don't necessarily transpire. There are new enemies, new bosses, new characters, and new dialogue, and it was easy for the creators to do this because it's a game modeled off of NES sprites and visuals and not a fully-rendered journey through the uncanny valley.

Every iota of gameplay information about Cthulhu's Angels can be found in either my Breath of Death VII post or Cthulhu Saves the World post. It's the same. It's pretty good. This game mixes it up with three new characters (four counting the very-endgame character) and skillsets to play with. The main character is October, the pleasant, well-adjusted necromancer from the first game, and she's still a beast (if more than a little better in dungeons than against bosses). October is joined by three new companions: a "dark" version of CSTW's heroine Umi, who's possessed by an evil sword this time around and is a melee powerhouse instead of a healer and status-user; former NPC enemy Elonalina who's a healer similar to Dacre with a lot of HP and MP; and Molly the Werezompire, a time-traveling monster girl that was the heroine of one of Robert Boyd's first indie games prior to the founding of Zeboyd. Molly's a tank with mixed offense.

Does that sound okay to you? Well, whatever, it hardly matters. The point is, that Zeboyd Games is a team of fucking geniuses for tricking me into liking this. I'm serious. Sure, this game has new writing and characters and events and a bunch of new enemies, but there's only one new dungeon (the last one) and only two new moving sprites, even (Molly and Dark Umi) They roughly doubled the game's playtime for fans that wanted more and re-used 99% of the game's assets. It's quick and dirty and SMART. It's a move that had to be relatively light on effort, even considering that it's an indie studio that is surely lacking in manpower, and I applaud them for it. Sheeit, if I had to I would've spent another $3 on the game. The point is, this game is a low-effort bonus mode that created a worthy experience for fans of its predecessor. How many sequels can say that about themselves?*

*Don't say Dragon Age II or so help me....

Games Beaten: 2011 Edition

1. Mario vs. Donkey Kong
2. Primal Rage
3. Torchlight Hat Trick
4. Ghost Trick
5. Flower
6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
7. Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus
8. Sly 2: Band of Thieves
9. Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves
10. Tales of Eternia
11. Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
12. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
13. 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
14. Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
15. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
16. Dragon Age: Origins
17. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
18. inFamous Evil Finish
20. inFamous 2 Good Finish
21. Big Bang Mini
22. Final Fight: Double Impact
23. Breath of Death VII: The Beginning
24. Cthulhu Saves the World
25. Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword
26. Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
27. Disgaea Infinite
28. X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
29. Jeanne d'Arc
30. Dragon Age II
31. Jade Empire
32. Cthulhu's Angels


Whew, three posts in one day to catalog three games completed within two days of one another. Now I'll stop writing, go to the gym, and then continue my quest for 50. Next is, and I mean it this time, 3D Dot Game Heroes. Unless it's Prinny or something. Fuck if I know.

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