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Infernax -- Short Review

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What makes a game a "classic"? And, are classic games all "great"? The answer to the latter is certainly "NO" and a good example of this is Castlevania II Simon's Quest.

Arguably a classic and undeniably influential, Castlevania II was a huge departure from the first Castlevania game. By modern standards the game is arguably "clunky" with unintuitive puzzles and quite honestly little challenge, and in fact only three bosses in the whole game. Coincidentally, you can kill Dracula with the weakest attack in the game -- garlic! BUT, that was 1988 and games were very different. Modern game sensibilities have changed, but of course many people still have a special place in their heart for classics such as Castlevania II. Since Konami has all but abandoned their once prominent and brilliant video game IPs, fans have stepped in, and there is no more beautiful love letter to Castlevania II than Infernax!

Infernax takes what makes modern games enjoyable such as save points, quick travel, upgrades, etc. and puts it all into a beautiful Castlevania II homage! Most of the overworld looks like it comes directly from an 8-bit game, although the bosses and cutscenes are all 16-bit quality. The gameplay is tight, there are numerous upgrades, items, spells, there is even a morality system where your character can be good, evil, or neutral. There are at least 8 different endings, including a few fun (not true) endings, and tons of secrets to explore. The entire game takes around 10 hours to complete if you are looking to finish all the side quests. The difficulty, is absolutely old skool! That said, the developers also knew the difficulty could be an issue, so there are built-in "cheats" which players can use to make the game easier, or far easier if they so choose (also, using any cheat does not prevent you from getting any achievement).

My only real complaints about Infernax is that there are far too many places for you to fall into water (instant death), lava (instant death), poison (instant death), chasm (instant death)... so basically, the whole "instant death" mechanism gets old. Again, there are cheats if you get frustrated, and to be fair some people really enjoy the difficulty. It also needs to be said the game is for the most part completely fair, and it really becomes a test of skill. However, that does not change the fact that I feel the aforementioned mechanism was exploited too much. On the other hand, I felt that most of the bosses, including the final boss, were a bit on the easy side - getting to the bosses was the hard part! A minor complaint, the music is very nicely done, but also very forgettable. In summary:

+Beautiful 8-bit and 16-bit graphics.
+Great play control.
+A fun story with a fun mix of gore (I would give it a 14+ rating).
+Multiple endings and secrets to explore.
+Good use of humor and nostalgia.
+++This is the Castlevania II remake you have been dreaming about!

-Too many ways for you to fall to your death.
-Bosses are fun, but become too easy.
-Music is a bit repetitive and forgettable.

Final Scores:

Overall: 8.25/10
As an old-skool Metroidvania: 9/10

Very highly recommended!


There was a physical release by LRG:

Bosses are cool, but for the most a bit too straightforward -- still, the game is just full of charm!



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