The late 80s and early 90s were a golden age for fans of arcade-style beat-’em-ups. The original NES was on its way out and the much more capable Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were headed to living rooms everywhere, along with a host of arcade ports. Many of these games were side-scrolling brawlers akin to Double Dragon and Battletoads and it seemed gamers would never tire of slaying hoards of ninjas and zombies with punch-jump-kick combos. And we never really did. Sure, the simple 2-D sprites gave way to polygonal characters and enemies got a little smarter, but 20 years later many gamers still love hackin’ and slashin’ baddies as they run to the right and collect suspicious, health-restoring meat.
Enter Sacred Citadel. A spin-off from Deep Silver’s Sacred series, and developed by Southend Interactive, this new multiplatform brawler looks set to be the next big step for the genre. Rendered in 3-D but set in a mostly 2-D plane this game will take advantage of the graphical prowess of modern consoles to immerse gamers in a beautiful and stylish cell-shaded world. Players begin by selecting one of four unique characters, each with different stats and combos, to take into the fray alone or with two friends in the same room or online. Sacred Citadel contains some RPG elements to supplement its action-oriented gameplay, allowing players to level up certain character stats, visit towns, collect loot dropped by enemies and purchased in shops, and equip different weapons to each hand allowing for a very customizable fighting experience.
Despite its changes to genre and art style, Sacred Citadel exists within the same universe as Sacred 1 and 2. Players are tasked with defeating Grimmocs, underlings of Lord Zane who has his sights set on expanding his Ashen Empire across the entire continent of Ancaria with the help of an ancient underworld-unleashing artifact. This story will have strong ties to the plot of Sacred 3 which is set for a release sometime this year.
Sacred Citadel’s developers promise a unique and exciting brawling experience that’s easy to learn yet tough to master. Keep an eye out for this one when it launches in the first half of this year on PSN, XBLA, and PC.