Blood-Over (Japan)

Year: 2006
Platform: Windows 2000/XP
Genre: Platform adventure
Review Date: 9/30/07
Rating: ***

A fun and simple action game that rewards skilled players and satisfies those who just want a few minutes of distraction. With video games continuing to become more complicated, demanding, and time consuming, finding games you can just pick up and play is getting harder all the time. "Blood-Over" fits that bill quite nicely and could easily be compared to any side-scrolling action game from the Genesis/SNES era. Being entirely in Japanese, the story and long winded narratives are completely lost on me, but the basic gameplay is simple. The main character is a devil hunter, who happens to be a cute young girl armed with dual pistols. Her soft-spoken maid accompanies her as they traverse a series of side-scrolling environments populated by sword-wielding skeletons and flying eyeballs. When the going gets rough, you can execute a special attack wherein the maid pulls a giant chain gun from under her skirt and unleashes a hail of bullets. How very Japanese... The details are a bit sketchy, but vanquishing foes fills your blood meter, and chained combo attacks are encouraged. To what end, I'm not sure. The controls are simple and mostly responsive, although getting kicks to register is a little tricky. Different and more challenging enemies appear as you progress, as well as mini-bosses who eventually end up befriending you (another undeniably Japanese trait). The graphics and presentation are solidly average, the voice acting is decent, and the innocuous J-pop music score does a decent job of setting the tone and tempo. Overall, it's just what the doctor ordered to cure my state-of-the-art video game blues.