Muramasa: The Demon Blade Stunning In Stills And Stunning In Motion

By Spencer . October 16, 2008 . 9:00pm

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Vanillaware’s first Wii game looked gorgeous when I saw it at Tokyo Game Show last year and I finally got to play it at Tokyo Game Show this year. While Muramasa: The Demon Blade isn’t complete it’s moving along nicely. The demo gave players a chance to select two missions one with Kisuke, the male ninja in blue, and the other Momohime, a female ninja in pink. I ended up with Kisuke, an agile warrior who can do a one button sword slash combo. Kisuke actually has three swords. Each blade has a different special attack. One kills all of the weak enemies on the screen. Another unleashes a furious vertical wave of energy useful for killing flying specters. Don’t get too attached to a single sword, you need to switch between them otherwise they will break. Swords automatically recover over time so I never found myself in a situation where I was without a weapon.

 

While Muramasa: The Demon Blade looks like Odin Sphere it’s a far less complicated. You don’t have to plant seeds to grow fruit or run around a circular 2D world until you kill all of the enemies. The Tokyo Game Show demo of Muramasa: The Demon Blade was a straight horizontal dash to the end. Also each screen is a different vibrant background. In one scene you’re in fighting on rooftops and in the next you’re inside a dark forest. When enemies appear you automatically draw your sword and when they’re gone Kisuke cooly flips his blade in the air and catches it in his sheath with style. After all the enemies are gone a screen pops up and notifies your of your performance and you’re free to walk to the next area.

 

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At the end of the ten minute demo Kisuke faced a towering red oni. The boss monster took up most of the screen and was also immune to the dodge rolling strategy I was using for most of the demo. When you press down Kisuke rolls past the enemies and you can attack them from behind. The oni was stopped me with his giant foot so I switched to jumping over him with a flurry of air slashes and utilizing the vertical energy slash. The oni didn’t last long and neither did the demo. I passed it before the ten minute time limit and wish I could have gone back to play as Momohime.

 

As you can probably tell from the screenshots Muramasa: The Demon Blade is deeply rooted in Japanese mythology with creatures like Kappas and Tengu. Since this was a Japanese demo I’m not quite sure how Xseed is going to localize the game. Obviously they’re not going to massively sprite swap all of the creatures, but the difficult task of explaining foreign mythology has been passed on to them.

 

Images courtesy of Marvelous Entertainment.


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  • jeffx

    Regarding yokai and tengu: What XSeed _could_ do is stick in some sort of mini-encyclopedia or at least glossary, so not only would players enjoy the game in its intended form, but they’d also learn new stuff at the same time! Learning is good!!!

    At this point my only concern is the length of the game. Odin Sphere was great in that aspect. Since you seem to hint that this is a straight-forward platformer / beat’em’up, it’s probably not that long of a game. I’d like to know what the it offers outside of the action sequences.

  • Spencer

    @jeffx – A mini encyclopedia is a great idea. It’s hard to get a grasp of the length since this was a ten minute timed demo, but there was a story scene with two villagers explaining their plight. I have to be honest and say I skipped past it since the clock was ticking. So there might be alternate missions or something given out by people.

  • Zarathustra

    I let Odin Sphere frustrate me more than it should’ve because, in all the hours i spent with it, i never stopped wishing it was more of an action-rpg or zelda-like, with towns, weapon/armor shops, exploration, experience points, etc. to help bolster the thin fighting mechanics and match the wonderful aesthetic. I had my fingers crossed for this one, but it’s looking like much more of a straight beat-em-up (and going by the stuff atop the screen, it looks to have health-upgrades)… can you confirm this? Nothing i’ve read has really pinned down the system in great detail.

  • Me

    I was a bit iffy of this game at first, but it’s lookin’ to be a pretty sweet game. I need to expand my Wii-library anyways.

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