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Review: Hell Creatures Rotten Corpse
HCRC is one amazing game. It's everything a Ghouls n' Ghost or Demon's Crest fan would ever want. Creepy atmosphere? You bet. An array of medieval weaponry? Naturally. A vast horde of grotesque and bizarre creatures to slay? You bet. This game, through many patches and updates through the years since its initial release holds plenty of challenge and and secrets to uncover.
The game begins with the sound of thunder, and rain pours as we read the introduction. While cliche, the premise is enough reason for brave knight Richard to grab a dagger and head on over to the castle of Taurus, the great demon. What I enjoy is the subtle details in the scene, where latter bosses pace the graveyard in silhouette, calling out to Richard to face them.
The game delivers a stereotypical platforming experience, where players traverse Richard from one end of each stage to the other, killing the monsters that appear and collecting weapons from each level's hidden chest. Each chest contains a random weapon, each with a strength against certain foes that will be encountered. The ability to carry multiple weapons is a heaven sent, as some weapons are only useful in certain circumstances. The spear, for example, is fast, can have two shots on screen, and works well against most enemies. The green fireball, on the other hand, appears weaker than the default dagger, but can rapidly slay ghosts. The experimentation with weapons is really fun, and trying the game on a dagger-only run provides a good challenge for veteran HCRC players. It should be noted that this is no easy game. Shortly into playtime, players will note that mistakes can lead to a quick demise. Richard takes hits hard and can die rather easily, particularly from traps. Enemies, especially bosses, loves to pop out surprises and catch you off guard. It may take multiple runs before enemy patterns, safe spots, and chest locations will be discovered. The game provides a nice variety of bosses, from skeletons to masses of flesh that vomit blood. The boss encounters are pure fun and require fast response, especially in the case of the fourth level's end boss. The game finale is quite a shock, and will catch anyone who reaches that far off guard.
Stain Berge has done a fantastic job on the graphics of this game. Each setting looks wonderful and gives the players the impression you are in such a location. Each enemy has a number of animations, some rather fun, while some are repulsive (like many of the death animations). There are a number of graphical inconsistencies, in HCRC, which may be a result of the game's two and a half year initial completion time. I always found the cave to be rather simplistic, while the forest and castle look impressive. The game manages to pull off with a better overall design quality due to the amount of well drawn and animated levels and creatures, even in comparison to the rock-throwing monster (Romle) found in level four. (And man, that guy looks awfully out of place in this game). The bosses really win the show here. Starting with the fourth boss onward, the size and details of each boss get bigger and better. Dorsmucc, for example, is a three-headed beast with a sick look and nasty death sequence. One of the end bosses is a giant mound of flesh that will make you tremble as it slowly reveals itself.
Featuring a tracks consisting of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Angra, Children of Bodom and more, it should be no surprise that the dark, heavy score to HCRC fits the mood perfectly. The first world's musical score fits perfect with the level, enough to make me discover the original song and purchase the album. Each boss has its own theme, fitting each wonderfully. The game's sound effects are superb, and complete the atmosphere of horror the game tries to showcase. I enjoyed the various shrieks let out my the monsters, and the taunts from the end game bosses as you approach their lairs.
Through the many patches and tweaks Stain has added since the game's first release, HCRC has offered players more and more reasons to re-visit its dark and challenging quest. Recently, a level-up system was introduced, giving players an incentive to rack up points in order to increase Richard's health counter. Upon completing the game, players can begin the game again Ghouls n' Ghosts style, unlocking new armors if enough points are acquired. These armors add small benefits, but look neat and allow more weapons to be carried.
This monster of a game is a fine example of creativity, endurance, and love from its creator, with all the minor updates and tweaks it has been given as time passed. Providing a well paced and challenging quest, HCRC offers a great dark adventure for those brave enough to take arms and go to battle. See you in the Land of Horror!
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