GDC 07: Castle Crashers Updated Hands-On

We grab a sword and get to hacking in this humorous 2D side-scroller from the maker of Alien Hominid.

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Tucked away in the north hall of the Moscone Center at the 2007 Game Developers Conference is Castle Crashers, the follow-up game from developer The Behemoth, known for its previous success with Alien Hominid. The game, one of the many on display as part of the Independent Games Festival at the GDC, is a four-player action romp that features the same bright, cartoonish graphics, warped sense of humor, and action-packed gameplay as Alien Hominid, only this time in a medieval setting.

In Castle Crashers, you play as one of four available knights on a quest to do, well...chivalrous things. You know, bashing in the heads of goblins, rescuing princesses, and collecting loads of loot--that sort of thing. Each of the knights has his own primary weapon, such as a mace or a sword, and can access a couple of different secondary weapons, such as a bow and arrow or boomerang for ranged attacks. The heroes are also equipped with magical spells, and each knight has a different spell set. The red knight uses lightning-based magic; the blue knight can use ice; the green knight uses poison; and the orange knight has fire powers. The spells have different effects--the blue knight, for example, can toss huge spikes of ice, freeze his enemies temporarily, and shoot a massive ice fist.

The game begins with the knights enjoying some downtime in the main hall when, from out of nowhere, the door bursts open and a mortally wounded compatriot falls through and down the stairs. Bent on revenge, our multicolored heroes take to the castle to bring down the horde of bad guys intent on ruining their fun.

Gameplay in Castle Crashers consists of you and your knight pals clearing screen after screen of enemies in the side-scrolling adventure. The bad guys start off simple enough, but soon the enemies start piling up and really laying into you. This is straight hack-and-slash action, though, with the various face buttons controlling different weapon attacks. By pressing the A button, you can leap into the air and come down with a vicious aerial assault, and as mentioned previously, you can switch from bow and arrow to boomerang, which will stun your opponents briefly. To engage your magic, you hold down the right trigger and use the face buttons. Our favorite spell with the red knight was an extended lighting bolt that would send a jolt of pain to any enemies in its path. However, spells only last a few seconds before your mana runs out and you'll need to recharge.

The graphics in Castle Crashers feature the same style of squat, charming 2D character designs from Alien Hominid, but the various combat moves displayed by the knights show off a seemingly greater variety of animations than in the older game. The levels, too, have a great look--you'll progress from the innermost portions of the castle over wood-plank bridges and, later, run a gauntlet of bad guys ending in a boss battle with a huge orclike menace wearing a spike-laced shield on his back.

Through its charming characters and action-packed level design, Castle Crashers features a great sense of humor that kept a smile on our face the entire time we played it. For example, just after beating the huge boss described above, we had to slug it out with our fellow knights to win the heart of the kidnapped princess. Elsewhere, we saw a later level in the game that featured the four knights running from a huge beast chasing them through the halls of a castle...while riding delicate little fawns. It's good stuff and certainly good for more than a few laughs.

With multiplayer support for up to four players, charming visuals, a great sense of humor, and more enemies than you can shake a +2 bastard sword at, Castle Crashers looks like it's going to be a fun time when it's released on the Xbox Live Arcade later this year. Expect to see more on the game soon.

Discussion

98 comments
Myriam_D
Myriam_D

Whee-hee-hee... Geeze I need a 360.

BR0M
BR0M

im getting very tired of waiting...it was supposed to be released Q1 and now it is TBA!?!? c'mon

NND1
NND1

I need this game.... NOW!!!

daniel665
daniel665

This should be brilliant. i loved alien homid but wished that you could play coop. This is up to 4 so it should be even better.

xpyahoo
xpyahoo

i cant til this game comes out!

toru12
toru12

great action 2d game I want it :)

Lightbarier
Lightbarier

cool simple game with humor and a good amount of action sound fun.

bart8558
bart8558

wow this looks like the kindof simple arcade game ive been waiting for to come out on the 360 for a while... i hope we don't have to wait too long for it

davahsa
davahsa

The game footage is awesome...can't wait

Pangamaster
Pangamaster

I think it might support internet Co-op

MartinRiggs15
MartinRiggs15

this game is going to be so much fun, i can't wait to get some friends over and crash the castle yo.

Berfomek_666
Berfomek_666

Way to go tom fulp! FYI, Tom fulp is the creator of this game and an awesome website called Newgrounds

daniel665
daniel665

this looks reallly sweet great to see this kind of content coming to arcade. The old ports are great but new innovative content utilising the improved graphics is what i wanna see. rock on

abob44
abob44

i hope that it lfes up to alien hominid cost if it dost ad

grey79
grey79

ahahhaa... *points at below poster and laughs*

ali_388
ali_388

xbox is not good it has a t i but ps3 has nvidia geforce

playa42018
playa42018

this game is worth buying an xbox for.

uberjannie
uberjannie

JustQuest : a fast action game on a handheld? yeah, uhm. good luck =)

Durnga
Durnga

I loved Alien Hominid-I just hope this is longer

JustQuest
JustQuest

Cute game, would definately play it on handheld if it was available.

toru12
toru12

I have to buy it¡¡¡ looks very fun :D

sonofashrub
sonofashrub

poo i wish this was on DS or something. I don't have an xbox...

DoctorFu
DoctorFu

Can't wait. Oh wait, I'll wait

mechberg
mechberg

Riding donkeys? Sorry I had that wrong. The knights are actually riding baby deer. Corrected that in the story. I have a hard time differentiating between four-legged mammals.

Screamteam411
Screamteam411

Aw, this just looks amazing! And Alien Hominid was so fun!

NND1
NND1

I have been waiting for THIS!!

s3lFc0nTr0l
s3lFc0nTr0l

i was gonna buy AH for XBLA but i already have it for GC, so i think ill wait for this

spidermanc2k
spidermanc2k

This is great. Not only will we have this game, but TMNT the original arcade game as well. With online play such a huge deal these days, Side scrolling games like these can really become popular again on the Live or PSN scene.

D3RC4S
D3RC4S

lovin Xbox 360 more and more everyday

sevenrains
sevenrains

looks amazing! now just give us Simpsons arcade...

Gigatron
Gigatron

Ye olde sidescroller shall ruleth all.

JBiker51
JBiker51

Oh man, this brings back memories... Beat-em-ups like this game used to be the main reason my quarters kept disappearing. I loved Alien Hominid, and this looks even more awesome!

Takalth
Takalth

This style of game (2d side scroller but with 4 directional movement) is one of those things that the developers killed rather than gamers. There was no evidence that it was a failing genre, developers just quit making them. I'm glad to see it back, and I will definitely be getting this one.

RodBond
RodBond

sweet... This one I am sure to pick up.. or do I mean download... tehehee...