Crossed Swords

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki


Action RPG

Graphics: 6

Sound: 7

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


In the action heavy, arcade style line-up for the Neo Geo hardware, you won't find a RPG (Japanese exclusive CD release Samurai Shodown RPG excluded). That makes Crossed Swords a unique entry, even though it too is almost non-stop action. It's requirement for extreme amounts of dexterity and reaction time will put it out of many fans control; it's the RPG elements that have a chance of drawing them in however.

crossedswords1.gif (29271 bytes)This co-op or single player title is played from behind the back of the generic heroes. It's not entirely that far removed from the Punch-Out series, relying on pattern recognition and timing. Enemies show their hand before their move, and it's necessary to quickly retaliate or block appropriately.

It's easy in the early going, gold is plentiful, and enemies drop quickly. As time moves on, even with the extra powers, the enemies become too fast to tolerate. The large sprites feature limited animation, which actually creates a better sense of impact when a blast connects. Power-ups are plentiful, though never really the ones you need. They release far more gold than health.

The story is more involving here than most Geo titles. It's clichéd and cheap of course, but still gives the game some purpose. It plays out in various cinematics, switching from the mostly static action environments to different locales where people from the kingdom let you in on the next task. It never deviates from the basic action.

crossedswords2.gif (26638 bytes)Those RPG elements are not spectacular, but they're enough to separate it from any other basic brawler. There's great satisfaction is purchasing a new weapon and putting it to use. It's the old adage of "you get what you pay for," and the weapons only seem to change power. There's no way to throw money away with a sword you find unusable.

All of that is simply wasted in the later stages. It doesn't matter what weapon you own. It gets to a point where it becomes more luck than skill, which alienates the die-hard RPG fan from the outset. It's not easier with a friend either, as the enemies simply increase in number.

The home version limits your continues to one, so the MVS version is far more desirable (though obviously beatable the first time through). It's not a total waste, as Crossed Swords unique viewpoint offers up a different take on a standard hack and slash, and it's one that has an audience. It's for the patient ones with the best reflexes possible.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 10, 2005 12:23 AM