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Cast of the Seven Godsends (PC) artwork

Cast of the Seven Godsends (PC) review

"Ghosts 'n Frustrations"

Cast of the Seven Godsends (PC) image

Retro-style action title Cast of the Seven Godsends has left me feeling torn. My heart beats with nostalgia, thanks to the game's combination of Ghost n' Goblins-ish design and the run 'n gun mechanics of Contra. My eyes recall the awesome sights they took in, from a plunge into the depths of a volcano, to a ride through the night sky on the back of a golden dragon. My frustrated thumbs tell a different story still. One says "Yeah, this is familiar and all, but..." and the other blurts out "It's just bloody overwhelming!"

Yes, the game's challenge factor is a bit much, but I do hope players won't write it off completely...

I say that because there are some truly excellent moments to be had here. For instance, I enjoyed climbing through a snowy werewolf village and picking off scores of the aforementioned beasts, all while dealing with a wicked wind and ascending/descending platforms. I can't stress enough how great it felt to successfully negotiate multi-tiered ledges in the Garden of the Gods while tangling with vicious serpentine dragons. In terms of atmosphere, though, my favorite segment involved charging through a misty old town while an ominous piano piece set the mood, smacking of late '70s horror films. Some of the fast-paced boss encounters, which pit you against pattern-based adversaries, served as additional highlights. By the game's conclusion, I had decapitated an anthropomorphic boar, melted a massive ice golem, slain an irate wyvern, and crushed several sorcerers.

Cast of the Seven Godsends (PC) image

Such moments produced only half of my enjoyment, though. The remaining portion originates from the array of arms available, which is similar to Capcom's classic Ghosts series. If the throwing dagger the game starts you out with isn't your thing, you can always nab a broadsword for close combat, or a spiked mace to lob in a short arc, or a shuriken that possesses an oblong flight path. Even better, the game also provides you with several types of armor power-ups, each offering its own line of weaponry based off of your current selection. For instance, slap on the dark armor while wielding the broadsword and you will be the proud owner of a pair of flesh-rending, short-range demonic claws. My favorite combo, though, is the ninja-like air armor paired with the hammer. Rather than clunky stone mallets, the ninja tosses humongous, devastating tornadoes that are just about unfairly spam-able. I mean, megalomania is not an uncommon side effect of such a configuration...

Unfortunately, were you to strip away the sword and sorcery elements, you'd have a merely functional remembrance of the Ghosts games, combined with overly sensitive control response. Thanks to the inclusion of run 'n gun gameplay, the protagonist moves so quickly that it takes a while to get acclimated. Most of my early game deaths were the result of me running straight off a platform because I had difficulty gauging precisely when I should press the button to jump. It was enough to throw me off for several sessions until the game's mechanics finally clicked.

Even then, Godsends's best moments are nearly overshadowed by its grueling gauntlets. The worst offender by far is in the second level--yeah, that early in the game--which requires you to negotiate a variety of moving platforms while being mindful of patrolling saw blades and constantly spawning ghosts. In your average super-hard title, all of these variables move in a recognizable sequence. Because of this, you can usually surmount such an obstacle course by utilizing a particular rhythm. That's not the case in Godsends, however. When two platforms finally align, which might require a more than teensy wait, there's almost always a saw in the way, and that doesn't even take into account the possibility that you'll miss your opportunity to jump anyway because you're too busy exorcising

Cast of the Seven Godsends (PC) image

If you think the above situation is an isolated incident, consider:

  • Flying on the back of a dragon and battling killer bats with a fierce drag threatening to throw you off.
  • Traipsing along frozen platforms, some of which sit diagonally, all while a furious gale blows and foes lob projectiles at you.

Bear in mind that you must accomplish these feats while also dealing with loose control response. To say that Godsends is tricky would be an understatement.

Any minute now, someone is likely to point out that I adored Super Meat Boy and got a kick out of Blood of the Werewolf, so really, what's not to love about Cast of the Seven Godsends? Well, both of those games were actually quite forgiving. Not only did they offer unlimited lives, but you had all the time in the world to hone your abilities so you could eventually conquer whatever scene was giving you trouble. With Godsends, you have a finite number of lives and continues. Were the game to instead feature an unlimited number of chances for victory, though, it would be too easy to finish because it is so short.

To top it all off, Godsends isn't translated well. I wouldn't say the plot is incomprehensible, like Rain Blood Chronicles, but there are scores of grammatical errors. For the most part, you'll see a lot of improper prepositions ("Hey, you're on my way!" or "I'm in a mission for the gods!"), but there are also loads of instances in which pronoun "I" isn't capitalized. You can call me a Grammar Nazi all you want, but so many errors in such close proximity makes the product feel more amateurish than professional.

Cast of the Seven Godsends (PC) image

In spite of my gripes, though, I can't say I dislike this game. Most of what I wrote above amounts to a lot nitpicking. Godsends is a mostly fine, frequently enjoyable title, after all. It just sports its share of minor flaws that together work to diminish its brilliance. More than anything, I would say it lays the groundwork for what could be an excellent series of games in future iterations, provided the developers iron out the laundry list of irks they introduced with this first attempt. So yeah, I love busting up bosses, riding dragons, and transforming into an ice queen. I'm just not keen on clumsily implemented "difficult platforming" scenes and loose controls…


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (July 14, 2015)

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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Great battles, interrupted by middling chatter.


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