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Blood of the Werewolf (PC) artwork

Blood of the Werewolf (PC) review


"Never come between a wolf and her cub..."



Blood of the Werewolf asset


Selena and her family were all that remained of the werewolf race. After enduring years of prejudice and persecution at the hands of humans, Selena and her husband Marko decided it would be wiser to hide amongst them and attempt to blend in. Though they left humanity alone, it seemed that the couple still had plenty of enemies. Four unknown assailants invaded their home one night, dismembered Marko, set fire to their abode, left our heroine for dead, and made off with her infant son Nikoli. It would have been an excellent scheme on the part of her adversaries, were it not for two snags: 1) Selena is not dead, and 2) it's a full moon.

To cross a werewolf is suicide, but to enrage a wolf-mother by the light of the moon is tantamount to inciting a massacre. That's precisely what the game Blood of the Werewolf, a wonderful throwback to old school 2D platformers, has in store for players. Throughout its campaign, you guide the vengeful werewolf Selena across mountain tops, through dank sewers, and down seedy urban alleys in an effort to locate her child and punish her would-be assassins. A single swipe from Selena's powerful claws is enough to make almost any foe vanish in a crimson cloud of gore. It's not only cathartic to watch Selena take out the trash, so to speak, but also satisfying to catch glimpses of her furious wolf form spattered in the remnants of her opponents.

Blood of the Werewolf asset


Of course, enemies don't simply loiter about whilst holding signs reading "Please mutilate my corpse." Rather, they tend to populate stages built of intricate platforming challenges and devious traps. You'll regularly find yourself double-jumping across wide chasms, negotiating floating platforms, or weaving through tight, claustrophobic playgrounds built from spikes and saw blades. That might sound off-putting when you consider that the protagonist is quadrupedal in her wolf form, but developers Scientifically Proven seem to have taken that into account when designing the game. Not only can Selena move with surprising grace, but stages are built in such a manner that even the narrowest of spiked-gaps or the lengthiest of pits aren't too much to deal with. Add enemies to the equation and the game still is rarely cheap and exhibits fantastic planning. Foes are placed with care and consideration for surrounding traps, adding to the game's challenge factor and forcing players to use their noggins while indulging in their lust for werewolf-oriented violence.

Unfortunately, Selena doesn't remain a wolf throughout the entire campaign. At certain points, she has to venture into various caves and facilities where the light of the full moon can't reach her, returning her to her bipedal form. In the small number of werewolf video games I've played, this is usually where I expel a heavy sigh. Thankfully, Blood of the Werewolf handles its human segments just right. Rather than overloading you with an opulence of combat during the human scenarios, the game presents you with hairier and fiercer platforming challenges. It's during these scenes that you'll find some of the game's craziest moments. In one stage, for instance, you must outrun a moving stone wall while navigating a series of platforms. You also have to shoot explosives at various points to either destroy barriers or bring boulders down from the ceiling to serve as platforms. It's a fast-paced scene that requires both accuracy and quick response. Another one of my favorite moments hearkens back to Castlevania, wherein you ascend a clock tower by leaping from platforms attached to a series of immense gears.

Make no mistake: this game will challenge you. Foes will nail you mid-leap, and you will fall back into pits. Ledges will crumble faster than you can react, and you will plummet. As frustrating as some segments can be, though, you'll find that there's always an out. With unlimited lives, enough perseverance, and a willingness to experiment with a variety of methods to complete particularly cruel scenes, you'll find that it is possible to triumph. Of course, it also helps that you can secure a fair number of power ups that bestow new werewolf skills like healing and projectile shots, or even upgrade the effectiveness of your bow. Nabbing special items found throughout the game called "sigils" helps as well, as collecting enough of them leads to a permanent increase in your maximum health.

Blood of the Werewolf asset


Even though I found Blood of the Werewolf to be an enjoyable platformer, there are some moments that stick in my craw. For one thing, some of the most challenging scenes are so tough that they're flat out unenjoyable. One scenario required me to run against a treadmill while trying to avoid motion-detecting cannons that fired homing projectiles, for instance. That would be manageable, except that the turrets tended to be positioned right next to shielded foes that lobbed poison-filled vials. In most of my endeavors to avoid being detected, I jumped into a poison vial. Sometimes, just the opposite occurred. It was overly difficult to find that one split second where I could avoid taking damage from both enemies, and it didn't help that there were six or seven identical instances of this setup in a row! Let's just say I was happy once that ordeal was over, and that my enjoyment of the game only went up from there.

The worst part about getting caught in some of the unenjoyable bits is that they tend to appear less than halfway through a stage, and Blood of the Werewolf stages are a tad overlong. It's daunting to spend fifteen minutes getting through a rough spot only to find that you still have another fifteen minutes worth of tricky platforms to surmount. Thankfully, the game saves when you reach a new checkpoint, so you don't need to restart a level if you decide to exit the game mid-stage.

Blood of the Werewolf asset


There are a handful of other aspects of the game that add up to one bloody cherry on top of an already fantastic platformer sundae--all of which can aid players in overlooking the game's minor flaws. I could stand the game's few rough patches, knowing I would eventually arrive at a challenging boss battle against nemeses from classic horror movies, including Dracula and The Mummy. Also, the game's stunning presentation and stylish art direction help to bolster the experience and build the game's grim atmosphere. Most of all, I appreciate its Gothic score, full of wonderful, energetic pieces that set the game's mood perfectly. Were it not for the more troublesome scenes and lengthy stages, I would say that Blood of the Werewolf is a near-perfect platformer. Regardless of my qualms, though, I can still report that it's a great one.

Rating: 8/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Freelance review by Joseph Shaffer (November 13, 2013)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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