The side-scroller brawler was once a gaming staple. We had titles like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage leading hundreds of other games that gave you one objective: control your character, lead him or her to the right side of the screen, and punch or kick your way through gauntlet upon gauntlet of enemies of increasing numbers and difficulty.
Now that shooters dominate the landscape, a good side-scrolling beat ’em up is hard to find. Fully Illustrated and Darkwind Media took advantage of the lack of good brawlers and came up with Wulverblade.
DISCLAIMER: We were sent a free download code for Wulverblade on the Nintendo Switch for this review. However, the opinions presented in this article are the author’s own. #NotAnAd
Wulverblade brings back the glory days of Golden Axe, Sengoku, and Knights of the Round with over 8 varied levels filled with sharp blades, enemy hordes, and blood-soaked arenas. Slice through the invading Roman Legions in graphic detail on your own – or enlist a friend for the slaughter in two-player co-op!
The Roman Empire is about take control of the north of Britannia and quash the last remaining tribes – and you must stop them dead in their tracks! Defend the homeland from the Roman army with strength, courage and a healthy number of wolves. Unleash deadly combos and devastating finishers to turn the tide of battle as you fight through eight scenic levels. Explore a rich, historically inspired story filled with all-out mayhem, manic action, and plenty of murder in this faithful homage to classic side-scrolling beat ‘em ups.
Set in Britannia during the Roman occupation in 120 AD, Wulverblade has you playing one of three characters who are a part of a tribe of Northern Britons hell-bent on resisting the Roman conquest. You play as either Caradoc, Brennus or Guinevere – members of a family originating from the northern tribe of the Caledonii. This family of warriors has been the guardian of the most northerly tribes of Britannia for generations. You then have to pick one of the three heroes and protect your tribe from other tribes and Romans.
Caradoc is the most-balanced character of the three, featuring an ample amount of strength, speed, and defense, while Brennus is the powerful yet slow attacker, and Guinevere is fast but her defense rating is low. Sounds like standard fare for a brawler so far, right?
Wulverblade then takes the standard brawler formula and adds layers upon layers of copious violence. Every time you kill an enemy, blood splatters all over the place. Heads and limbs get dismembered all the time, and you can actually pick those up and use them as weapons. You can also go into berserker mode so you can take care of an otherwise overwhelming swarm of enemies without worrying about your health, and once on every level you can call on wolves to save you from a sticky situation. Thankfully, the art style is cartoonish enough that it does not make you queasy about all the blood and body parts flying around on your screen.
Aside from the standard game mode, you also get an arcade mode where you only get three Continues and three lives per Continue. Arcade mode also takes away the checkpoints, and is brutally hard. You can also have a second player around for co-op play, and trust me, this is the best way to play Wulverblade.
Now if you’re a history buff, this game can also satisfy your curiosity. It features a ton of collectibles with historical notes that are well-written and researched. I can honestly play the game for that alone.
Wulverblade, however, isn’t perfect. The Nintendo Switch version, which I played, has loading times that are way too long. The game is responsive, but I feel that they can speed up the gameplay even more as I feel like the three characters are too slow to move around the screen. Hopefully these issues can be easily patched out in a future update.
So, should you get Wulverblade? This game evokes the best of the old side scrollers of the 80’s and early 90’s while keeping a nice and shiny layer of modern art and gameplay over it. I say yes, don’t sleep on this game. Buy it.
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