Written by  :  Joku Ugo (6)
Written on  :  Dec 12, 2003
Rating  :  4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars

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Bloody and tough melee fighting for hardcore gamers

The Good

This game is full of content. The levels are huge and rather realistic castles, the musics are awesome and plentiful, there are over a hundred different weapons and several enemy types. The technology was also a few years ahead of the competition, with nice physics and realistic shadows years before Doom 3 or Max Payne 2. The gore effects are also very realistic. With good moves you can chop the enemy into pieces, painting the walls with dark red. Gore can also be turned off for the faint of the heart.

Blade of Darkness is also a very hard game, in fact one of the hardest I've played. Fights require precision and fast reflexes, and the rather good combat AI makes it a pleasure to boot. A couple of the boss monster fights were very memorable. There are also some puzzles, but none of them is so tough. They only make you more cautious, as a careless player can often run into an obvious trap and die at an instant.

Some RPG elements also are a big bonus. As you kill more, you gain experience, learn new moves and get more stamina. The set of moves becomes large by the end of the game, but as you've been learning them gradually, it's not so hard to master. This game made me feel that I really became a good swordsman by the end of the game, and that's an achievement! Even though it's set in a fantasy medieval world, there are no real magic users in the game. Well, those would've been a let-down in a melee combat game anyway.

The Bad

As much as I liked BoD, it has some problems. Sometimes the movement was awkward and you fell off a ledge too easily. Or some enemies were placed too cunningly, shooting arrows at you from a distance, so the situation was frustratingly hard to solve. A couple of monsters were so tough I had to load at least 20 times to make it. And the game starts as very hard, but gets a bit easier on the middle and latter parts of the game, which is a bit upside down from what I'd expect.

The story is also lame, but not very essential to an action game like this so I didn't care. Had it been more involving though, maybe I wouldn't have become bored at the middle part of the game. Yup, at times it feels like there's just too many ogres to be slain and the game feels like it'll never end. But towards the end it got more intense again and made me hooked to my seat until it was over.

The movement takes a while to master but it's pretty intuitive once you get it, allowing you to fight efficiently.

The Bottom Line

Blade of Darkness is a pleasant experience for players who enjoy melee combat games (even such games that have only duels, like Tekken or Mortal Combat), some adventure, and who think of themselves as good players. Many of my friends didn't like it because they couldn't get past the first few maps without dying all the time.

Overall I though this was game of the year material.