Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Developer: Vanillaware
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
Release Date: Sept. 8, 2009
System: Wii
ESRB Rating: T
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Slash-slash-slash-something-about-souls-slash-slash

0:00 I remember hearing a lot about this one at E3, but not so much after it came out. Still, I'm in the mood for some hand-drawn 2-D action today, so let's see if it merits discussion.

0:01 On the preview screen, the logo comes up over a full moon behind black clouds, with a loud gong and the sound of an unsheathing sword. Sleek.

0:02 "Answer the call of the Demon Blade, thirsting to draw and drink blood. Witness the fate of those who've drawn the demon blade." OK then ... I will. The credits start to appear over sweeping harp- and flute-heavy war music. A woman in old-fashioned Japanese garb unsheathes a sword. Two swords sit impaled in the ground in front of a sunset. A hazy forest flies by from a first-person perspective. A lonely warrior with a blue headband stands on a ridge. An old man with a long, white Fu Manchu mustache and beard stares evilly. The sun sets in the distance as the camera refocuses on a bug on a leaf. The full moon flies by a black sky in a diagonal. Leaves fall onto a pool of water, with a carp swimming underneath. And the logo appears again. Color me confused.

0:05 Before moving forward, I have to select my playing style. Muso lets me "cut through enemies easily," and "progress steadily even if you're not skilled at action games." Shura tells me that "to advance, you must evade, defend and use Secret Arts masterfully. Only for the brave." I may regret this, but I decide to be brave and choose Shura.

0:06 Two different stories to choose: The Story of Momohime and The Story of Kisuke. I can't tell any apparent difference from this screen, so I'll go with Momohime, I guess...



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