Games like: Mega Man, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Time played: 4 hours
In the strange world of Eos, the balance is separated into two realms: the Netherworld and the Overworld. War erupts when the leader of the Netherworld, Mephistopheles, wages war on the Overworld hoping to conquer both. Zane, leader of the Overworld, searches out to the only one who can bring the balance back to Eos: Viktor.
Viktor is a 2D side scrolling action game that plays into the fanfare of Megaman and Castlevania. As Viktor, you will journey through different areas of both the Netherworld and Overworld, taking back these lands that are now ruled by those who have betrayed Zane and joined with Mephistopheles. Armed with two pistols, Viktor will tackle demons, ghosts and many, many bugs to fight for the return of his world and Zane’s life.
I’m torn on the control scheme. Being a huge proponent of using a gamepad to help the transition from console gaming, a game like Viktor begs for the use of a mouse and keyboard for precise aiming. Moving Viktor back and forth with the keys allows the other hand to aim and shoot at the different enemies you come across. Using a controller, the left analog stick is set to move while the right stick will change the direction of Viktor’s aim and where he is facing. Usually this is a no brainer, but for whatever reason the controller feels quite good. He’s responsive and the aiming comes fairly naturally. Ultimately it’s completely up to you on how you want to play the game. I will say that the mouse and keyboard do edge out a bit above the gamepad, but it still feels very nice. Either way, Viktor has it right for this type of game while Shoot Many Robots does not.
After completing the initial introduction level, you are presented with a stage select screen allowing you to conquer the stages in any order you see fit. Unlike Megaman, there doesn’t seem to be a traditional path to take that will make it easier for you to progress. Some levels do feel like you may need to be a little more powerful or have better weapons, especially with some boss battles, but much like the Megaman series, if you have your wits about you, it may be a tough journey but you can complete any stage in any order.
Your starting arsenal only consists of two dual pistols with unlimited ammunition. As you platform about, you’ll have a double jump that will help get you to higher places or to avoid any enemy fire coming your way. Pressing the left trigger, you can perform a shift move much like Alucard in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This move can be used in a multiple of ways and the game has a nice way of introducing them to you one at a time. Using the shift will allow you to dodge enemies and their bullets granting temporary invincibility. You can also shift through slim walls giving you access to hidden areas and other paths in the level. It can also be used as a third jump to reach those really high hanging mysterious artifacts when a double jump just won’t do it. The shift plays nicely into the gameplay and you’ll be using it more often than not to stay alive during boss fights or when the enemy fire becomes too great. Gives a sense of the dash from Megaman X in that it’s multi-purpose instead of the level design forcing you to use it.
The stages are framed in a conventional sort of way. Most have multiple branching paths that can lead to a dead end forcing you to backtrack or access to more hidden areas which may have new weapons to pick up or mysterious artifacts to collect. Mid-way through you’ll face a mini boss which usually hints to the stage’s final boss. As you play through, you’ll pick up powerups that have a time limit. These include doing double damage, explosive rounds, infinite ammo with no need to reload or a shield upgrade. Some of the powerups seem randomized in terms of location while others are positioned to give the player a better fighting chance when facing the upcoming enemy rush.
Ammo management becomes a strong point very early in the game. Your clip only holds 16 bullets at the start and you will go through these quickly. You do have the ability to upgrade the clip size using gold you find scattered throughout the levels even still there’s nothing worse than being mentally prepared to go into an onslaught of gunfire only to squeeze off a few rounds then having to reload. There are many times where the enemies will be hitting you on all sides and quick reflexes and spot on gunplay will come in handy. I was constantly checking to see if I needed to reload at any down point I had in the game. The reload process takes about three seconds but it feels like an eternity if you are double jumping away from projectiles and swarming enemies.
Upon completion of Viktor, you’ll open a New Game+ allowing you to play through all of the stages again with all of your current upgrades and items. This will give you a chance to finish it on a harder difficulty and a try at finding all of the hidden artifacts and weapons. The game can be beaten in a single sitting in around an hour or less. With the exception of some repeating enemies and level design, I really enjoyed Vitkor for it’s fastpace gameplay and interesting mechanics.
The graphics of each sprite are well detailed and have a nice color and feel to them. The backgrounds, on the other hand, are fairly hit or miss. Most of the levels consist of you walking through a castle or cave and this leaves less to the imagination than just a plain wall. Molten Chasm and Twilight Forest have much more detailed backgrounds with parallax scrolling and beautiful skies and moons. There is quite a bit of palette swapping for many of the enemies and this can prove to be boring at times if you aren’t caught up in the action or story. The music is, what seems to becoming more and more popular, a mix of symphonic piano/strings and metal guitar. It’s not bad, but it just seems to fit the motif of these types of “horror” indie games as of late. Overall, nothing amazing here but definitely pleasing for the most part.
Viktor has seen some bugs here and there. Some players have complained about game crashes when coming face to face with certain bosses. Others have been able to break the hit detection in the walls and go over the levels. I had a couple of issues with strange freeze ups where Viktor would be frozen but I could still fire and switch weapons. A couple of times, right after the falling parts of some levels, it seemed as Viktor forgot that he wasn’t falling anymore allowing me to float around the level. This actually worked out in my favor in the first level boss allowing me to kill him from the air. Another time I wasn’t able to move on in the level due to the bug. Hopefully these things will be ironed out in future patches.
Viktor is an action platformer inspired by the likes of Megaman and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. A twin stick shooter of sorts, Viktor consists of many powerups, weapons upgrades and hidden artifacts layered with interesting enemies and over the top boss fights. Classic stage selection gives the player a chance to really test their strength against the hordes of the evil ruler Mephistopheles.
Check out more pics from Viktor!
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