If I’m honest, my love of co-op multiplayer began with the
beat ‘em up genre. In the arcades (and later, on the NES),
games like Double
, Golden Axe
showed the rich
promise of close-quarters combat alongside a friend toward a shared
objective. My supply of quarters steadily dwindled, but my love of
gaming with friends (I guess we call that “social
gaming” – like all gaming isn’t to some
degree sociable) grew.
Unexpectedly, Rusty Hearts
took me back to those glory days. The graphics are
cell-shaded but decidedly detailed and next-gen. The environments
aren’t the least bit claustrophobic as you’d expect
from a beat ‘em up, with mood-setting contrasty tones and a
vibrant palette. Best of all, the side-scroller action isn’t
really scrolling to one side – following the mold of games
, the action follows a
roomy, faux-3D horizontal and vertical path through the level, with
rooms unlocking as all enemies are defeated in the previous room.
Still, the gameplay offers the same short session, button mashing, beat
‘em up fun that I remember.
Meet Angela from Rusty Hearts
Executive Producer Mark Bell and Perfect World hopes to bridge the gap
between the joystick and the keyboard by playing to both camps
– offering, for example, wide compatibility with controller
peripherals, yet tossing in traditional RPG features such as a rich,
character development-driven yet tongue-in-cheek story, complete with
The story revolves around three friends – the tankish,
scythe-wielding Angela, the melee DPS-ish Tude, the hybrid Franz - who
decide to defy the Vampire Lord that’s ruled over them for
hundreds of years and help the townspeople they’ve oppressed.
The name of the game bears reference to the fact that the sense of
goodness in these characters has gone “rusty”, and
that the process of regaining their humanity might take some time.