The 2D beat ’em’ up genre was one that shaped a lot of my childhood gaming. From Streets Of Rage to Revenge Of Shinobi, and Golden Axe, I fought many enemies in many scrolling 2D worlds. Of course the genre is still there but it isn’t as prevalent as it used to be, but there are still games that offer some entertainment. One of those is Devil’s Dare from Singapore-based developer Secret Base, which is a beat ’em up set during a zombie apocalypse.
Devil’s Dare starts at a gaming convention and here you get to choose one of four characters, with two others that are unlockable. Each of the characters has their own style, all of them inspired by classic games. There’s Kingston the janitor, who becomes a an axe wielding berserker, just like a character from Golden Axe. Or you could choose Queenie and her magic suit taken from Final Fantasy VI, while Axel is armed with the Master’s Sword, inspired by the Legend Of Zelda games. Finally there is Jackson and his twin sai turning him into a ninja, with his combat style being a mix of Streets Of Rage and Shinobi.
Once you’ve chosen a character you can choose a stage to tackle, with these being the sewer, the hallway, the train, and the road. However, these aren’t the only stages in the game. As you progress these levels get longer and introduce new areas. So for example if you survive the sewer, then choose to tackle the train next and survive that you’ll then reach the station. This formula continues through out, and will miss areas depending on when you choose to enter a stage.
Combat-wise each character has both regular and special attacks, doing various amounts of damage. Special attacks charge up quite quickly so you can use them to clear the enemies that crowd you. You’ll have to learn the various attacks to have even a chance of surviving as Devil’s Due is hard. The regular zombies are easy to dispatch, but you have to watch out for the ones that leap around, have long reach, or the creatures that spit something at you, with that particular attack reversing your movement controls. You can’t count of a revive or continue either because those have to be earned.
In each level you can pick up money to buy a revive. These drops can vary in value from $25 to $50, and $100, with small coins also adding to the total. As you progress through the game the cost of a revive goes up with the first level giving have a $1000 price tag for it, with price increasing by $250 each stage. You can get Fatality kills too which are earned by finishing off an enemy with a special attack for more cash. If you kill three enemies at the same time you earn bonus food to replenish health. It isn’t easy to reach that cash limit but it is a relief when you do. The revive will put you right back at the place you died while a continue, which you get from buying a soul token, will put you back to the beginning of the stage.
Devil’s Dare design isn’t that colourful with a mix of browns and greys, with dashes of red when you kill an enemy. The voice acting is well done carrying with it the emotion of the characters. There’s also local multiplayer included for up to four players to fight the monsters. Devil’s Dare is all about parodying the 90’s, and you have the inclusion of things from games I mentioned above, but there are also movie references like The Fly or Alien. Overall Devil’s Dare is a fun and tough game that provides a good challenge, and it is even enjoyable just looking out for the various references.