When Alien Hominid was released two years ago it became an instant cult classic hailed by critics and gamers alike. With its unique art style, quirky sense of humor and non-stop action, it was easy to see how this Contra-inspired shooter could turn heads and entertain the masses. But here we are two years later and most of us have already played through Alien Hominid more times than we care to admit, isn't it about time for something new from The Behemoth?
If you are the type of gamer who is on pins and needles clamoring for something new from this small development house then your wait is almost over. Coming early next year is The Behemoth's second game, an odd four-player beat-em-up that goes by the name of Castle Crashers. I was able to get my hands on a very early build of the game at this year's Penny Arcade Expo and as a fan of games like Guardian Heroes and Golden Axe I can honestly say that this is one game you should keep an eye out for.
Castle Crashers will be the first game The Behemoth has created specifically for the Xbox 360 and will be offered as a low-cost Xbox Live Arcade download sometime in the first quarter of 2007. You play one of four colorful knights on a quest to regain a stolen idol … and beat up a whole lot of enemies. Depending on which color you choose - red, green, blue or orange - you will have different special attacks and magic spells. Some characters are able to shoot arrows or boomerangs, while other knights can turn their foes to ice. As you progress through the game's multiple levels your character will gain experience and new attacks (and magic).
A common complaint about this type of game is that the game play gets old and repetitive after several levels of doing the same thing. Thankfully Castle Crashers will allow you to mix up your attacks to stave off some of the repetition. Each character has a main attack and an item that they are able to throw. You will also be able to do a number of mid-air attacks depending on what buttons you press. And by holding the right trigger you will be able to add magic to almost all of your attacks (including other actions, such as jumping and running). The controls are very simple and anybody with a passing knowledge of video games should be able to pick up the control and have fun instantly.
The game is the most fun when you are able to take four players on your quest and work together as a team. The game can be played by both four players on one Xbox 360 or by getting your friends together through Microsoft's Xbox Live service. Having all these people around is especially useful when you're battling the large boss creatures and trying to thin out the numerous enemies that rush the screen. Characters will even be able to jump on different animal-like creatures, including what looked like a small dragon. If you are the type of gamer who has fond memories of Sega's Golden Axe then be prepared to have all of that nostalgia hit you like a ton of bricks.
As you might imagine the graphics in Castle Crashers are reminiscent of what you saw in Alien Hominid. The game sports a hand-drawn look and every inch of the backgrounds is full of small little details. When you sneak up on sleeping enemies you will see a graphic of them sawing logs in a little dialog bubble, it's the small details like this that make the game appealing to a broad audience. All of the enemy characters have funny looks when you are beating them up and even when you're doing nothing more than running from one section to another you can't help but fall in love with the personality.
It is still yet to be seen how much replay there will be in the game, however the developers are promising that it will be worth going back through some of the early levels after you've leveled up your character. There will also be a number of branching paths, so in theory it could be quite a while before you end up seeing everything there is to see here. From just the little taste I got at PAX it's pretty clear that this is one game that will be worth playing through at least once. The Behemoth is banking on the idea that you will want to go through the game multiple times with different friends and people online.
The Behemoth has not ruled out a possible flash version of the game on the computer, but for now the Xbox 360 is the only way you will be able to experience this colorful brawler. Although no price has yet to be finalized, the developers mentioned on several occasions that 800 Microsoft Points (or $10) seems to be about the average these days. These kinds of issues will be resolved early next year when the game is finally released. Until then we are offering several pictures to tide you over. If Alien Hominid is anything to go by then it looks like The Behemoth has another winner on their hands with Castle Crashers. Look for more information about this brawler as we near its release date.