previews\ Sep 6, 2006 at 8:00 pm

Castle Crashers - 360 - Preview

The Behemoth is a developer that loves to kick it old-school. Released a couple years back, Alien Hominid was indicative of this. Alien Hominid, which is soon to be repackaged, reworked and thrown up on Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade, was unadulterated 2D bliss in ‘04. It didn’t exactly spawn a huge stir within the gaming community, but it helped gamers worldwide appreciate the action genre in its purest form.

So where does this bring us here in 2006? Castle Crashers, the latest offering from the Behemoth, is where. Castle Crashers boasts four-player multiplayer, amazingly responsive controls, and some of the most beautiful and vivacious backdrops I’ve ever witnessed in a video game. The game was seen at the Penny-Arcade Expo (PAX) 2006 in Bellevue, Wash.

At this moment in time, not too much has been unveiled concerning the back-story of Castle Crashers, but what is clear is this is a game meant to appeal to a large demographic. The reasons behind this notion are ample. One, its basic, yet intricate combat system is effortless to get into while still being a scheme that can be mastered by those who wish to invest the time. Secondly, its 2D premise and art direction are reminiscent of the gems of yesteryear. When you combine these two factors, you have a title that casuals and the hardcore throng alike are sure to adore.

Castle Crashers takes cooperative play to new-fangled heights with superb execution and originality. The characters are unique and possess different abilities pertinent to their colors. There are four characters to select from in all: Green, Orange, Red, and Blue. As aforementioned, the colors of the characters represent their attacks. Green touts acid attacks, Blue sports ice-related assaults, and so on. Controlling these heroes will be exceedingly easy and intuitive thanks to a near-perfect setup. A, X and Y will be used to carry out clear-cut attacks, but you can also implement more sophisticated moves by holding down the right trigger. This adds an entire new dimension to the fighting mechanics in my opinion.


For an Xbox Live Arcade title – scratch that – for a 2D game in general, Castle Crasher’s visuals are without a question top-tier fare. Backgrounds are ever-changing, jaw-dropping masterpieces. The art direction is very akin to The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords in that everything is cel-shaded and wonderfully animated. Special effects, such as fire and particle effects, are so well done I felt obliged to start applauding during play. But due to getting hammered with an array of bombarding attacks from the opposing force, I held back my gratitude. 

Castle Crashers is set to invade an Xbox 360 near you sometime in February of 2007. And take my word for it – this one will rock Xbox Live Arcade harder than a Guns ‘N’ Roses concert. It couples exceptional art direction, awesome four-player co-op, and very well done combat mechanics. Sure to grab the attention spans of gamers of all types, Castle Crashers will remind us once again why we play games in the first place. Keep it locked to GameZone for more info on this one in the near future. In the meantime, check out our exclusive interview with the developers (

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