The Curse of Issyos

The theme music, the title screen...the only thing missing is a big, flashy logo. But it does the job.

The theme music, the title screen…the only thing missing is a big, flashy logo.

Locomalito, the developer behind the spiritual 8-bit themed retro tribute to titles of yesteryear such as Ghouls ‘n Ghosts and Black Tiger, Maldita Castilla (among other releases), has done it again with a new adventure that they have been working with on and off since 2010. The Curse of Issyos is ready for download.

I guess the quick and dirty description I’d give for locomalito’s latest is that it’s a Greek-themed Castlevania (the giant sphere that drops from midair after beating a boss monster is kind of a nod in that direction). The developer also notes influences ranging from the late, great Ray Harryhausen (his special effects work on the Sinbad series of movies from the 50s and the 70s still brings out the inner adventurer in many) to, well, Castlevania (which they refer to as Vampire Killer) and Rygar.

Platforming, monsters, tricky jumps...it's almost like being back in Drac's backyard...if he were Greek and living on an island.

Platforming, monsters, tricky jumps…it’s almost like being back in Drac’s backyard…if he were Greek and living on an island.

I’ve only played a bit of the game but it already feels as if it deftly captured a wonderful slice of the 8-bit era that my childhood fondly remembers. The great retro music by longtime collaborator, Gryzor87, accompanying the action is an awesome bonus.

It says something about tried and true mechanics when it can sport a nostalgic skin and still be both fun and challenging. It even includes a few neat tweaks to the formula. For one thing, you don’t start off with a full health bar — only half of one. Upgrading the bar is done through finding (or buying via gold coins sometimes collected from smashed boxes or defeated enemies) special potions. There’s even a village in the game to sell you stuff and a bit of story dialogue.

A new twist reminiscent of Castlevania III's multiple paths is this overworld map allowing the player to pick where they want to go next.

A new twist reminiscent of Castlevania III‘s multiple paths is this overworld map allowing the player to pick where they want to go next.

———————————————

The boss monsters are pretty neat. Defkalion also has access to a spear for reach, though he can only arm one main weapon at a time. He also has a bow he can use to shoot arrows at unsuspecting enemies.

The boss monsters are pretty neat. Defkalion also has access to a spear for reach, though he can only arm one main weapon at a time. He also has a bow he can use to shoot arrows at unsuspecting enemies.

———————————————

At this village, you can heal up, buy arrows, or expand your health bar as long as you have the gold. Love the simulated scan lines.

At this village, you can heal up, buy arrows, or expand your health bar as long as you have the gold. Love the simulated scan lines.

Speaking of story, you (as Defkalion, a fisherman with an awesome sword hand) head off to find your daughter on the island of Issyos which is apparently cursed. Athena has bid you to go there and rescue her from whatever danger lie in wait. In addition to the story, the game also has its own set of DVD inlays, posters, downloadable soundtrack, and even a disc print for you creative types to make your own physical copy with. There’s also a link on the page for players that want to give locomalito a bit of thanks in the form of a donation.

Definitely worth a play. Especially if you need something to tide you over while waiting for something like Iga’s Bloodstained to see the light of day.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s