Total time played: 3 hours
Short review: A cheap Castlevania clone that is pretty forgettable.
Interesting links related to 8 Eyes
- Speedrun (19 minutes 19 seconds)
- Video Review (Kevin Alexsson)
- Written Walkthroughs and Game Maps
- PDF Scan of the Instruction Manual
The first thing I noticed when starting this game is that the graphics and physics are built on the same engine as the Castlevania series. This got me excited, unfortunately that was short lived as the game isn’t nearly as good as Castlevania. One thing I liked more than Castlevania…no Medusa heads and no holes that cause instant death.
If this ain’t Castlevania I don’t know what is.
Hints of Mega Man
When the game starts you have the choice to play any of the 7 available levels. The order of the levels is important and if you play them out of order the difficulty increases tremendously even though you won’t realize it until you get to the boss.
After beating each level you earn a new sword that is stronger against a single boss from another level. The swords look identical, can’t be unequipped and are no more powerful against regular enemies.
If you get to the boss and have the wrong weapon it will take more than twice as many hits to kill them. The thing is, the game never tells you this (unless you read the manual.)
Ok, so is it Spain or Germany?
The order of these levels is the most important thing to know unless you don’t mind pulling out your hair.
If by chance you beat a boss with the wrong sword that means you earn that bosses weapon. This means that the boss you should have defeated with the first sword is going to be more difficult. At this point you might as well just reset the game.
Thankfully, No Spiders
When I think 8 Eyes I think spider. I hate spiders (who doesn’t?). There are no spiders in this game. The enemy sprites are actually pretty varied, unfortunately the same cannot be said for their attacks. Almost every enemy, including bosses, can be defeated the same way. Let them walk close to you, swing their weapon 2 or 3 times and then move in for a hit, rinse and repeat.
A few enemies must be defeated by using Curtis, your trusty bird.
Curtis is a bird who rests on your shoulder. If you have Curtis energy you can make him fly around by pressing Up + B. When he is near an enemy you then press Down + B and he will dive bomb the enemy.
Curtis can also be used to locate items hidden inside blocks. The blocks give no indication there is something hidden inside. This means to find hidden items you basically just have to get lucky or be very persistent and let the bird attack every block in the game.
Lastly, Curtis is used to open doors.
Most of the levels are puzzles. You need to go up the right stairs or fall down the right hole in the right order in order to progress. If not, you will find yourself playing through the same few rooms over and over.
You know you are making progress when you come across a door that requires you to press a switch to open it. Some of the switches are located directly by the door and you can just press the switch and go through the door. But, most of them are too far from the door and the door shuts before you can get to it. To proceed you must send your bird to hit the switch for you.
Throughout each level you will pick up secondary weapons that can be used by pressing Up + A. Unlike your swords these weapons can be changed by pressing start and selecting any of the secondary weapons you have picked up in the stage. I rarely used any of these items with the exception of the white ball which freezes any enemy it hits. I used this on every single boss.
Life and Energy
You have three separate energy bars. A life bar, a secondary weapon energy bar and Curtis’ energy bar. If the secondary weapon or Curtis bars are exhausted you can’t use those items until you get more energy.
Energy is acquired by collecting crosses that are left behind when enemies are defeated or by finding hidden energy bottles in walls throughout the stage. You only get one life in the game, so if Orin’s energy reaches 0 it is game over.
Luckily you get a password after each stage and you get unlimited continues. As the levels are all fairly short, 1 life isn’t really a big deal.
Each Level is It’s Own Game
You always start each level with no secondary weapon and the exact same energy for Orin, Curtis and your secondary weapon. I actually appreciated this feature as I never felt like I was digging myself into a deep hole where I couldn’t beat the game.
If you want any chance at all to beat a level you better start hitting random blocks and looking for energy. I was never able to beat a level with the base energy you start with. Luckily you can find an energy tank in each stage that completely fills up your life meter…but, you must find canisters to lengthen your life bar first.
The final stage is just a long boss rush where you must beat all 7 level bosses in a row before fighting the final boss of the game. After a few tries I got the hang of it and was able to beat the game. The best part of the boss rush is that after each boss fight you get full energy for Orin, Curtis and your secondary weapon. On top of that, each boss room has a hidden S-Tank that refills all of your energy meters. The boss rush was one of the easiest I’ve played in an NES game.
Not So Fast
After beating the final boss you must place the 8 jewels (Ah, the 8 Eyes of the games title must be these jewels) on the correct pedestals.
Each level features a hidden scroll. Some you will find pretty easily, some you would never find unless you knew where they were. Each of these scrolls gives you a clue of where to place one of the jewels at the end of the game.
You are never told to find scrolls and if you miss one you can’t go back into the level to get it. So, when you get to the final screen of the game you can either try to randomly place the jewels in the correct place or reset the game and get all the scrolls. Luckily the position of the jewels doesn’t change between playthroughs so once you know where they go it isn’t a big deal. The worst part is, that even if you get all the scrolls throughout the game you can’t re-read them. That means you have to actually take notes on your own to solve the logic puzzle at the end. I didn’t realize this so reached the end with no notes. I wasn’t about to play through the game again so the internet helped me out.
Even knowing where the jewels go doesn’t guarantee victory. Is the jewel on screen white or yellow?
This game is very average. The Castlevania aesthetic makes me like it more than I probably would if it were a completely original looking game. The cryptic nature of the order to play the levels and the final jewel placement would be near impossible if you weren’t prepared from the start of the game and taking actual notes. It isn’t a bad game, but it isn’t one I plan on revisiting.