Crimson Tears is a devilishly addictive blend of role playing game and button-bashing fighter. I found the game quite a bit of fun to play, but really didn't have any nagging urges to return to it once I put it down. Crimson Tears tells the story of three genetically created people call Mutanoids. The three manage to escape only to find the lab that created them has started warping time and spitting out nasty monsters. Now it's up to Amber, Tokio and Kadie to save the day.
This basically means taking one character at a time into a series of labyrinths under the city to beat past levels of bad guys and finally take on the level boss. One of the things that's unique about this game is that it uses randomized maps to keep things different every time you go through. While this idea does make for and endless stream of new levels, it also makes for an endless stream of bad level designs. Luckily, it's not too bad.
To beat a boss you have to send a character through a level and make it all the way to the boss without dying. If you run out of energy you can send a second character in to save the fallen hero, but you lose your progress. This makes the game a little harder to beat, but not much. In between your dives through the '?dimensional mazes'? that make up the game's levels you will spend an awful lot of time combining special parts and material to create new and powerful weapons.
Really, gearing up is what this game is all about. Crimson Tears relies on a very sophisticated leveling and weapons system that makes the game quite a joy to play at times ' think of the characters as digital G.I. Joes. You don't have to have a cool battle to fight ' just cool weapons. It's not that the fighting is a poorly designed system, it's actually a bit of fun ' but it quickly gets repetitive and really the game only has the fighting and the weapons design. In battles you have to keep a close eye on your health and your heat, if you overheat you'll go into this damage dishing frenzy that speeds you up and makes you a more effective fighter, but also does constant damage to you until you cool down. You can carry around bottles of coolant and medicine to help out, but the levels become so long you can't rely on these.
The graphics are a strange blend of 3D and cel-shading that makes for a cool look. The cut-scenes are down right fascinating ' looking an awful lot like some of the bad Japanese cartoon I used to love watching Saturday mornings while living in South Korea. The music and sound is a bit disjointed from the rest of the feel of the game, offering up bizarre sound effects and oddly soothing music at all of the wrong times.
Crimson Tears is a fun game that you won't miss once you're done with it. Get it, beat it, return it.