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METAL GAME OF THE MONTH: Slain: Back from Hell (by Bradley Karr).

Added 09 January 2018, 9:06 PM

This month I had a chance to play Slain: Back from Hell. This is a 2d side scroller that looks a lot like the 16-bit games from the NES. Think Castlevania with an injection of metal. In this game you play as Bathoryn a long hair sword wielding badass brought back from the dead to liberate six realms by defeating each realms overlord. Back from Hell is the developers second try at this game, the first just being called Slain which was meet with poor reception. I unfortunately can’t compare the two being as I never played the first one.
As I played through Slain: Back from Hell it looked like those very cool black metal album covers brought to life. Strange lands, everything dripping with blood, and monsters that can only come from a demented mind. It also helped that heavy metal music was playing in the background as I ran, jumped and cut 10ft bloody skeletons in half. Since it is a 2d platformer the mechanics are pretty straight forward. Bathoryn can jump, duck, dodge, attack and counter. As you progress in the game you character gains new abilities that are tied to his sword. At the beginning of the game you can shoot a ball of energy across the screen. I have unlocked the ability to have my sword on fire. As you control Bathoryn you work your way through levels very reminiscent of Castlevania’s style to get to the boss of the level. Each level you come to is progressively more difficult than the last.
Difficulty is something players need to be aware of before sitting down to take this game on. It by no means Dark Souls difficult but there is a steep challenge to it. Like Dark Souls though each time you die the words SLAIN are plastered across your screen. You will probably be seeing this screen a lot. The enemies take several hits to take them down, sometimes they come in waves to attack you. There are several enemies that can only be killed by parring at the right time to do a more powerful attack on them. Until you get the timing for this down you will die a lot. Then there are the traps. These traps are scattered throughout, and you don’t realize they are there and can kill you until you step on one. Once you see Bathoryn torn to pieces or ground into nothingness you learn to not step on that spot. All this doesn’t mean the game is unfair, it just takes memorization and good timing.
Since this is a call back to the 16-bit era of gaming the graphics are not the greatest thing. However, the developers do a good job of creating an interesting, dark world with the medium they chose. This game’s areas look very menacing and deadly even in 2d. Some parts of the graphics actually amazed me since it was done in the 16-bit fashion. When you light your sword on fire the flame on the sword looks very good even in its pixelated state. When Bathoryn steps on a trap the bloodshed is pretty graphic considering.

I have had a lot of fun and frustration with this game. It is interesting to play a game that is so heavily influenced by heavy metal. The aesthetic, the hero, and the background music all show this influence. I would recommend picking this game up and giving it a shot. It can be gotten on Steam, Xbox, PlayStation, and even Nintendo Switch so you can mutilate monsters on the go. At the time of this writing it could be gotten off PlayStation Network for $3.75, and at that price you will definitely get your money out of it.

-Bradley Karr, Metal Temple
Edited 07 July 2022

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