As mentioned before I backed the game Bloodstained, a metroidvania Gothic horror by Castlevania legend Koji Igarashi. I also mentioned that game got a spin off 8bit game called Curse of the Moon and I enjoyed both. Well to a lot of people’s very welcome surprise during lockdown, they made a sequel.
Once more you start as the cursed swordsman from the East known as Zangetsu and a strange demonic tower you are sent to on this mission by an agent of the church, Dominique (at which point everyone who played Ritual of the Night gets incredibly suspicious).
After fighting the first boss and getting ready for its final strike like the first game, Dominique jumps down and impales it in the head, allowing you to control her from the next level. Similar events also happen for the next two levels.
So gameplay wise this is very much the same as the first Curse of the Moon, and nothing wrong with that. I liked that one and more is very welcome. Zagentsu controls are exactly the same, each character has ether sub weapons or a special power that consumes magic power and there is also a veteran or casual mode for people (I played it on veteran). The 3 new characters Dominique, Robert and Hachi all have different abilities from the characters of the first game (of which you should probably read the review of since the main bones of the game is quite the same). Dominique can use magic, has a higher jump than Zangetsu and can bounce on enemies and objects using her spear allowing you to get to higher otherwise unreachable areas. Robert has a gun, yes a gun. So he can shoot things from very far away. He can also wall jump, slide down walls and crawl allowing him to sneak through small areas and avoid damage. And finally Hachi…. this one is going to take some explaining. Hachi is a corgi in a steam train themed mech suit, he doesn’t have special items but can hover, destroy otherwise indestructible objects, and temporarily turn invincible. Hachi is the best character in the game.
So as said the game is much like the original, after the first few bosses they start doing that final attack again and you can find power ups through the levels to increase your health, power and near the end attack and defense. And much like the original there are multiple playthroughs with multiple endings. However there is less of a choice on these unlike the first. While the first was caused by either going alone/killing the people you meet/befriending them. After you complete the game the first time you then need to go through the game again only harder and it’s here where you can unlock a bonus chapter or go to the final chapter.
It is in the these chapters that the difficulties get ramped up again, BUT you also get to use the people from the first game. Indeed in the final chapter you can get every character from both games in your team… which you’re going to need because this mode can get rather insane in difficulty. One of the levels I only cleared by saving up Alfred’s best spell to spam at the boss and pray she died before I ran out of HP. Yeah I hit a difficulty wall at one point so annoying I needed to take a break from the game. But once that was beaten I cleared it shortly after.
There is of course another BUT (not just the difficulty wall that can and will hit you late in the game) as to get the proper ending you will need to beat the game at least 3 times, that’s running through the same levels 3 times, 4 if you do the EX chapter. Also on the second chapter if you get the item to get the good ending that leads to the final chapter you’re stuck into that, meaning you will need to play that chapter again to get the bad ending and unlock the EX chapter. So it’s much easier to just get the bad ending first then travel back to the level to get the item for the good, and just go back to that last level and beat the boss for the good ending. In fact it’s for multiple reasons the best way to do that.
If you enjoyed the first Curse of the Moon game or miss Castlevania, this game will have you covered. Let’s hope we see more of this franchise, as we all know unless another company buys up Konami’s properties we are not going to see a good new Castlevania.