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Crimson Tears

version: jp - year: 2004 - developer: spike, dream factory - publisher: capcom - format: playstation 2, dvdrom - condition: mint - rarity: slight


From left to right: Kaede, Tokyo and Asuka are the 3 playable characters


Asuka can handle 2 blades at a time for devastating combos!


Kaede can handle huge weapons, such this Berserk-style sword


Enemies are varied and have a great design although their A.I. is lacking


To defeat these guys, use fire arms because blades won't cut it (literally!)









Review - Crimson Tears (CT) not to be confused with Crimson Sea, is kind of a mixed bag.

If you played Square's The Bouncer, you will immediately know what to expect since the game has been developed by the same Team (Dream Factory, who also worked on the PSOne 3D fighting game Tobal 2) and it shows.

But let's start from the beginning. CT is an action-RPG and this basically means that random button mashing, in pure beat'em up style won't get you very far. Instead, what you 'll need to understand are the mechanics of the game, that aren't as easily understood if you play the Japanese version of the game.

To make it really simple, collect coins, many coins. The more combos you are able to perform, the more coins defeated enemies will drop. This is important because coins will allow you to purchase many useful items such as health potions, status cure potions, weapons, etc.

Moreover, if you make some hefty donations to the old man in the town, shops will get bigger and will carry rarer and better items. I guess he uses the cash to develop the Businesses in the neighborhood :)

Also, if you talk to the people around, some of them will ask you to retrieve certain items. To do so, you will have to play through completed dungeons and make sure to collect whatever they are asking. I am not sure about what this does, since I completed a couple of these side-quests but nothing seems to have happened.

Graphically CT features cool cell-shaded graphics in a 3D world. Cell-shading gives to the characters the same level of characterization that you would find in a 2D game, but in 3D! About the character design, it is truly amazing. The intro by itself is of the highest quality while in-game graphics still maintain very high production values.

My only complaint is that 3D random-generated dungeons aren't the most fun thing in the world. Dungeons tend to look like each other plus the level design feels generic and a bit boring. Luckily, enemies are an entire different matter since they are varied and look very cool.

The music is particularly inspired as it feels like something coming out of Saturday Night Fever with the beat of a....(shall I say it?!) Michael Jackson song! I am not a big fan of this kind of music but in the game, it works really well.

Finally, gameplay is mainly focused on dungeon-exploration, while you perform spectacular combos, use new and deadlier weapons and increase your character stats. There isn't an instant save option, and levels tend to be pretty long (especially the last 2!) so you might find yourself playing a level several times from the beginning. Luckily, after clearing a stage you will be able to save your progresses. Also, there is an item that you can purchase that allows you to save during a level but I always had a hard time finding it in the inventory (whenever I was lucky enough to collect it) because everything is in Japanese!

If you get defeated in a level, you will have the opportunity to use another character to come and rescue the defeated one, but on a tight time limit! So it is always better to equip a couple of characters before entering a dungeon. I noticed that some weapons are much more powerful than others but they usually get your berserk-gauge filled up quickly. In this case, when it gets full, your character will be much stronger and much faster for a limited time. The bad thing is that your health will start decreasing and when the gauge gets down to zero again, your health bar will be down to almost nothing. Luckily, there are items that you can use to mitigate the effect and this aspect certainly add a bit of strategy to the overall gaming experience.

All in all, CT is a decent game, a bit better than the Bouncer but still far from being a masterpiece. Great character design and above average gameplay don't make for a timeless classic, but CT is still worth a look though!

Bottom line: action game with rpg elements worth checking out for the awesome character design but gameplay is just above average. 6,5/10












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