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    dkirschner's Crypt of the NecroDancer (PC)

    [December 4, 2016 03:27:49 PM]
    Didn't think I'd finish so quickly after playing last time, but as with the other Zones, Zone 4 just takes some persistence. Learn the enemy's patterns, continue unlocking better weapons and armor, and eventually you'll get good enough to beat it. After you defeat the boss unique to Zone 4, you kill the NecroDancer, but there's a plot twist and the credits roll, but the story isn't over. You play through as two more characters to complete the story. I played through as one of them which took another hour (1 hour to play through with Melody vs the 9 hours it took to do one full playthrough the first time, haha). But I stopped there because all characters have their unique rules. The last character you have to play through dies if she gets hit or if she misses a beat. I think you can find health upgrades (I found a potion) and she comes with one potion (prevents death once), so actually you get one screw up before you insta-die. And you only have a dagger, no more weapons. Uuuh, I tried a while and think that's the skill cap that I don't want to bother surpassing. I watched a couple people beat it on YouTube and it is pretty incredible. You have to be absolutely perfect.

    Aaaanyway, this game is brilliant. Everyone with the slightest interest in roguelikes or rhythm games should play. The rhythm-based movement is unique and the game is a blast to play. One reason I think I liked it so much (same with Spelunky and FTL) is that there's more emphasis on player skill rather than luck. If you die, you always know why. It's always your fault. The game is never unfair. I don't think I cursed once. You just observe your death, correct the error (you always made an error), and restart. I've said before that it's quite a sight to behold the game in action, and when you're playing and you're three or four floors down in a zone and you realize just how fast you are moving and thinking, you feel like a professional. A game hasn't made me feel this good in a long time! So stop reading and go buy Crypt of the NecroDancer.
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    [December 2, 2016 09:39:12 PM]
    Add this to the list of roguelikes that I enjoy! Alongside favorites FTL and Spelunky (neither of which I ever beat). Crypt of the NecroDancer is unique. As the name suggests, itís part rhythm game. You move to the beat of different songs. Every enemy has a movement pattern in synch with the music too. So playing well is a matter of learning enemiesí movement patterns and then multitasking to move your character with the beat and kill enemies and avoid being killed.

    Itís really quite amazing to behold the game in motion, and all the simultaneous actions you have to perform are surprisingly intuitive. At first I didnít like the controls. They felt limiting. All you do is use the four arrow keys to move up, left, right, down. You automatically attack, and your attacks differ based on the weapon you have equipped. So for example, you begin with a dagger, which attacks one square in front of you. If you are next to an enemy, and you push in the direction of the enemy, you will attack. But now, I think the controls are very clever and I think they need to be simple.

    There are a handful of different attack types (spears let you attack two spaces away, broadswords give you a wider attack so you attack in like a 1x3 line in front of you, etc) and various weapon types too (glass weapons can break, bloody weapons leech HP, the flail has a knockback effect, etc.). Thereís also armor for the body, head, and feet, and a variety of magic rings and spells that you find in treasure chests, from blowing up walls, or purchase from the shopkeeper with the gold that enemies drop.

    Diamonds are another currency and those purchase upgrades in the hub. You can unlock some NPCs in the first two zones (of four) who will sell you items for the global item pool (which you subsequently have a chance to find in chests). You have some control over this item pool later on and can actually spend more diamonds to take items back out. For example, I unlocked a mystery ring which I later found out makes the level really dark so I couldnít see except right in front of me. Thatís a recipe for disaster, so I paid a diamond to take it back out of the item pool so I wouldnít get it again.

    Each of the four zones has different enemies, and you can train in the hub against them. Spend diamonds at another NPC and you can unlock training grounds for minibosses and bosses! Very cool! The first few times I made it through the first zone and got to one of the random bosses, I died, and it was demoralizing to not have any clue how to kill the boss that Iíd spent so long to reach. There are 5 random ones and some are more straightforward than others. I think Iíve beaten 3 or 4 different ones so far, and havenít seen the fifth yet. But during levels, there will be up to like 10 enemies on screen at once all moving according to their unique patterns. Itís a lot to keep track of and training with each type helps predict their movement and makes staying alive in the heat of the moment easier. This becomes really important when bigger enemies like fire-breathing dragons or sirens that silence the music or giant bats that move at random join the fray because minibosses can really mess you up.

    Two of the bosses are most memorable. The first (and the first I encountered) is named King Conga. King Conga sits in a chair playing the music while a ton of zombies in conga lines dance to the beat around the screen. You have to figure out where theyíre going (and they will step on traps that reverse their direction or make them confused and wander), avoid King Congaís simulacra, and then eventually kill him. Blues Chess is interesting. The King piece is the boss on a chess board, and all the pieces begin at one side and you at the other. They move in rhythm as chess pieces move across the board, and they attack you if youíre in their line (bishop attacks if youíre diagonal, for example). So you have to strategically take out the pieces on your way to getting the king in the back. If pieces reach your side of the board, they turn into queens, yikes!

    Last thing, you unlock different characters with different abilities. Cadence, the main character, is played normally, moving to the beat and having normal interactions with items. Others Iíve unlocked include Monk (he dies if he touches gold, but items at shops are free), Bard (enemies donít move until you do; Bard is easy mode), one guy that has infinite bombs but canít use other weapons, and a pacifist who canít attack but the stairs to the next floor down are always unlocked (normally you have to kill the floorís miniboss to unlock the stairs). There are achievements for beating the game with all the different characters, but my goal is just to do it on normal with Cadence! I unlocked Zone 4 tonight, which looks to be the final zone. Iíve gotten to floor 2 once. There are always 3 floors then a boss, assuming itís the same for Zone 4. But Zone 4 is really difficult for now. Here's to practice!
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    dkirschner's Crypt of the NecroDancer (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 26 November, 2016

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 4 December, 2016

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Sooo hypnotic. Fun, opportunities to practice, really enjoying. ----------------- Amazing game. High skill ceiling, but you always learn.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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