Originally released on Steam almost a year ago, Blood of the Werewolf on XBLA adds a couple new features over its PC brethren but suffers overall from cheap level design and boss battles.
Selena, on a quest for vengeance against her murdered husband and kidnapped child, plays in both human and werewolf form. When playing as a human, gameplay is basically a 2D sidescrolling twin stick shooter with unlimited crossbow bolts. Walking into shadows will activate werewolf mode in which ranged attacks give way to melee attacks along with different jumping capabilities. The level design will dictate when the transforming takes place as opposed to opening up this freedom to the player’s will; it seems like a missed opportunity. Also, while the gist of the story can be determined from the opening cutscene, the details are difficult to follow thanks to the rushed pace and is only furthered by the uninspired voice acting.
The first couple stages are enjoyable then the fun gets sucked out quickly as soon as the player runs into one-hit-kill collapsing walls and even more frustrating boss battles by the third stage. There is usually a fine line between a genuine challenge in comparison to cheap and unfair difficulty but Blood of the Werewolf solely takes the frustrating path as bosses take way too many hits to defeat and insta-death appears at most jumps thanks to a knockback system.
New to the XBLA version is the Endless challenge mode that pits players against randomly generated rooms and Score Rush which is just a rehash of the main campaign with a “how far can you go before you die” gameplay object which is essentially exactly the same as the main campaign only with a new leaderboard category. 100% of the Achievements are all based around completing “quests” – the more you complete the more you unlock. Confusingly, quests are not actual quests but instead are objectives like finishing a stage with a certain passing grade or killing so many enemies at once. There are tons of these quests but it is doubtful anyone would want to try and unlock them all.
Even though it sells for $6.99, a unique price considering most XBLA titles are $10, $15 or $20, it is still hard to recommend a purchase. The extreme difficulty spikes will probably turn away most players but gamers looking for a new game with an old school vibe should at least check out the free demo. From the high difficulty, to 2D platforming mechanics, to the overworld map and load screen quotes, the designers clearly took an inspiration from NES favorites. But even with a whiff of old school charm, Blood of the Werewolf lacks the polish to stand against other XBLA titles and perhaps should have instead been released on the Indie channel.
Better Than: anything Twilight related
Wait For It: A new Adventure Island
Also Try: Castlevania Adventure Rebirth (WiiWare)
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com