I finally beat: Castle Crashers

**Before you are saddened by my beating this without you, note this: I want to go through it again.**

I finally sat down and beat Castle Crashers.  Matt, Chue, and Sean had already gone through by themselves and defeated the final boss.  Ztynzo offered to sit down with a secondary character and help me finish the main campaign.

I say finish the main campaign b/c Castle Crashers is hardly over after the final boss goes down.

Sure, you *can* stop here, but the game has loads of extra content and replayability.  Considering that most games of this genre forced you to replay from the 1st level every time you booted it up, replaying levels is a given.  What isn’t given is the reward.  Each time through the game with a character will unlock another character.  And most of those characters will unlock another character by beating it with them.  Combine this with finding the few remaining animals and the many remaining weapons and you have a lot of fun co-op gameness left over.  You can also unlock Insane mode to run through the game with additional challenge with any of your higher level characters.  Since new combos unlock in levels well past what is needed to beat the game (I beat it at Level 30; I’ve seen new unlocks at 32), you can continue to improve stats on your “main dude.”  This means you can replay through with either a new party (potentially new people) to unlock additional characters), or with your main character and your previous party for some challenging gameplay.

Most of my initial impression holds true.  This game is a well-oiled machine of old gameplay mechanics.  Foreground/Background placement determines if you hit enemies (which some can find a bit annoying).  Online is *still* broken.  But it has slick presentation, great music, great basic core gameplay that is as simple or complicated as you want.  I have almost figured out how to do the uppercut->follow into air->hit more->spin attack them up->continue Combo.  Hardly required, though; Magic attacks and basic Y,Y,Y will suffice.

One word of warning about building a character.  After level 20(?), you will begin to only receive 1 stat point upgrade instead of 2, making progress much slower.  Make sure you have /some/ defense before you reach this or you will have to grind for it.

One other gameplay hint:  When in a party and someone finds an animal, you all get the animal.  When someone picks up a weapon, only they will get the weapon.  Have them pick up their original weapon again, which will drop the new one.  All 4 players can now take turns collecting the new item.  Be careful though: if a low level player picks it up and does not meet the requirements it will disappear rather than equip (so they can’t drop it).  A really organized party should pick up the weapons in order of highest level -> lowest level.

Overall, I highly recommend this game to anyone with fondness of Turtles in Time, Battletoads, Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, Final Fight, River City Ransom, or the various other examples of the genre.  I would say you need to have at least a partner to play through the game, but it seems some can enjoy it even without the co-opness.

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