Crimson Tears is a great beat-'em-up which is held by repetitive combat and linear stages.

User Rating: 7.5 | Crimson Tears PS2
Positive
- Exciting combat with a lot of moves
- Anime-style graphics shine
- 3 characters to play with
- A ton of replay value

Negative
- Empty, repetitive level design
- Combat gets repetitive too quickly
- Story isn't well-paced

Crimson Tears is a good game combined with beat-'em-up combat and RPG elements. It's not all new or fresh but this game is very well made despite the problems you have to face over and over. The story isn't very good but the gameplay is interesting with a lot of moves to play with, 3 playable characters and too much repetition in the environments in the end which somewhat limit the endless replay value.

Set in near future, Crimson Tears follows 3 bioengineered human weapons; Amber, Tokio and Kadie. The story doesn't start well, mainly because nothing is explained of how these humanoids where created or what has happened to the world in the future, but after a while you will get a clear picture of what is going on. You can choose any of the 3 to fight with, they all have different styles and adapt others so if one of them bores you, you can choose anyone characters or change your current character's weapon to change style depending on what the weapon is.

Crimson Tears doesn't make you play through a level 3 times to level all characters. This works to our advantage since the level design is generally featureless and boring to crawl through. Nonetheless the enemies drop a lot of items and money, and since you can play each level whenever you want the replay value is pretty high. This game is a typical dungeon crawl so there is no exploration at all involved. You just choose a level, enter, fight your way through to the transporter to find the boss and defeat it. Afterwards you get a cutscenes and you get a new stage, pretty simple to understand that much.

Combat may not be very deep but it's surprisingly fun. The 3 characters fight differently but those matters what weapon they use. Amber and Kadie use swords, even if Kadie uses physical attacks. Tokio uses his fits and also a gun. Fight with the square and X buttons; by triangle you can use a more powerful attack. If you hit the camera will make a 360 degrees turn to make it clear that you hit but over time this will annoy you. Hold and press O to use and shoot using the gun. R1 to block and L1 to move back quickly. There are people who will sell you items. A person will sell you energy drinks for health; returners to leave the area you are fighting in whenever you want. When a character dies, you have to go and save them within that time limit. You have to find him or her and bring him/her back but you can't continue the stage.

The fact that they aren't human that leave the fact that there aren't any problems. After a while in the dungeon your character in bound to overheat, which for a short amount of time making him or her stronger makes some even instant kill. When the overheating is over, your character will lose almost all HP, and sometimes you'll die because of the traps in the room. In the first stage there is poison, in the second there are parts of the ceiling falling but the shadow in the ground should warn you. To avoid overheating you should use a cooler which can be bought or found. Combos can be pulled on enemies, but depending on the difficulty the amount of health and durability of the enemies. Bosses aren't especially tough but they might trick you at first. There is always a particular pattern to follow in order to gain the upper hand. Background traps can hurt enemies and bosses so you can use that to your advantage. Status ailments such as poison, paralysis are to be found in the game along with others.

The anime-style graphics are fine but the background environments don't take this fact to their advantage. They are filled with nothing, completely featureless and they may not change from the last time you entered. Enemy design changes in each area but limited. Combat is more for one-on-one but there are times you must try to overcome more than one foe at a time. The cutscenes are nicely done thanks to the anime graphics. The only thing is that the voice acting rarely matches their mouths.

Sound quality falls lower. The English voice acting is solid but nothing especially great. There are no subtitles anywhere, but overall the background music is good. Sound effects fare. The camera doesn't pay a big part in the game because the angles are fixed so you can't freely move it. It caused me no problems so far though. The controls are simple to adapt, but there is no tutorial on how to play.

Shortcomings aside, this game is an addictive and fun beat-'em-up. There are better games in the genre but still there is a lot to enjoy in this game. The great graphics, interesting gameplay are enough to overshadow a difficult to get into story and linear design but still don't make this Capcom's finest. The repetition may be a hindrance after a while although Crimson Tears offers things you won't see elsewhere.

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Graphics = 8.1
Great anime-style graphics and character design but bothered but empty and repetitive level design.

Sound = 7.4
Solid voice acting and music although not special. Sound effects are repetitive.

Presentation = 8.3
Good quality cutscenes. Fixed camera angles aren't a bother and the controls are fairly simple to get used to. No tutorial though. Production values could have been a lot better. A ton of replay value.

Gameplay = 8.5
A great, refreshing combat system which is unfortunately very repetitive over time. 3 playable characters but you don't have to use more than one to increase their levels. Upgradable weapons. A lot to find in stages.

Story = 6.8
Disappointing story but the characters are interesting. Difficult to get into at first.


OVERALL = 77 / 100
Crimson Tears is a great beat-'em-up which is held by repetitive combat and linear stages which is unfortunate since this could have been special.

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