Saturday, May 7, 2011

Crossed Swords: Insert Joke Here

My experience with Crossed Swords  started when I was an impressionable young boy. Okay, I could go on with the double entendre, but that would be uncouth, and I'm not one to drive a joke into the ground. I actually did play the game as a kid though, in the game room of a hotel or something like that. As someone who *gasp* never really got into Punch Out!, I rather enjoyed the game back then, and it is still a mostly fun little game.

Why does nobody ever talk about ADKgrish?

Crossed Swords was developed by early Neo Geo supporters, ADK. During the first few years of the MVS, ADK made quite a few games of various genres that really rounded out the system's library and presumably made the system more attractive to arcade owners. This is probably why SNK ended up publishing so many of the company's games. The appearance of closeness between the companies was amplified when after ADK went out of business SNK bought up all of their intellectual property rights. The diversity was dropped in the wake Street Fighter 2, when ADK made the World Heroes series that they are most known for.

The biggest flaw of Crossed Swords is that it can become monotonous. The game tries to combat this by taking you through a variety of different looking levels and different looking enemies. Those don't help a whole lot, but the bosses are more successful in showing diversity. The reason things become monotonous is the simple nature of the base combat. You strafe with left and right, and you block with up and down. Basically all you do is see the enemy choreograph their attack as high or low, block appropriately, and counter-attack with a string of slices. That's pretty much it.

You could attack outright, but that gives the enemy an opportunity to block your attack and do their own counter-attack, so it is safest to wait your enemies out and block them on reaction. The difficulty of enemies is increased by increasing attack speed, increased health, and increased mobility. You also have a magic attack to do a little damage at a distance and an gold system for leveling up, but neither are particularly interesting. By pressing A and B together, a flurry of attacks is launched that can do some extra damage when you need it.

The bosses are the only part of the game that breaks the usual parry/counter-attack pattern that the normal enemies have, and they are generally refreshing because of this, but most of the game is spent battling a large amount of weaker enemies, instead of a series of relatively complicated boss fights like Punch Out! has. It's a fun game to throw some quarters into, but I can't imagine ever playing it completion.

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