Rising Star Games were undoubtedly the stars of the MCM Expo in London this weekend. Taking the centre stand and demonstrating the reason they’ve claimed the “Home of Japanese Gaming” tagline with equanimity, the few titles they chose to present easily drew the biggest crowds at the show – more so than even Batman: Arkham Asylum and ATARI’s demonstration of Tales of Vesperia. To learn that this was the UK-based publisher’s first such showing was an inspirational revelation.
Raising awareness of the publisher’s Wii line-up was the objective of Rising Star Games’ participation at the MCM Expo, and despite the unfortunate no show of the big tease, the three playable titles certainly drew in the crowds later in the day. Little King’s Story was somewhat overlooked when compared to Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Rygar: The Battle for Argus, but this was most probably due to the fact that it is already commercially available in Europe.
Of all the games at the show, and thankfully kitted-out with seating for those lucky enough to squeeze onto an edge during their playtime, Muramasa: The Demon Blade garnered the most attention. The delicately drawn character artwork and strikingly vibrant backdrops caught the eye of not only the videogame fans, but also many of the attendees present at the show for the anime.
The game’s closest point of reference would be the home console Viewtiful Joe titles, clearly having drawn inspiration from Capcom’s series for not only the charismatic aesthetic but also the boundaries for the 2D gameplay. Tough still lead by the combat, Muramasa: The Demon Blade is a much swifter Platform/Beat-‘Em-Up experience. As the player enters each new area, a number of enemies (or a Boss character) will appear and immediately engage you in combat. The game will reportedly allow a Classic Controller substitute at release as there are no motion-controlled gameplay devices to speak of, however the version at the show was only playable with a Wii Remote and Nunchuk combination. The A Button performs all basic attacks with a variable combo executable in conjunction with movement on the Analogue stick, and the player has a variety of swords available to choose from – each with their own basic combos, special attacks and health meter. Each of the special attacks is unique and devastating, though those seen so far have been routinely founded in gaming convention. Summoning screen-filling lightning bolts or conjuring a handful of flying blades out-of-thin-air are presented in a stunning fashion, despite the regularity of their appearances in videogames since the first Golden Axe.
Each of the backdrops is quite simply beautiful. Vibrant watercolour sketches of a fictional interpretation of feudal Japan, bamboo forests and underground lakes have been seen so far, and with an expansive map – for which, each of the two playable characters begins at either end, racing to the northern-most point – many more locations are expected to be included in the final retail release.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade is yet another hot prospect for Wii from Rising Star Games, a team quickly becoming one of the most respected third-party Nintendo publishers delivering titles to Europe. With the game appearing to be approaching completion (although, the publisher insists it remains quite some time away), the Electronic Theatre team can’t help be excited by the potential of Marvelous Entertainment’s latest. This is one game we’ll be certain to keep you up-to-date with.