I am an avid video game nerd and like many video game enthusiast, I share a love of metal and all things heavy. So you’re sure as hell I’ll be down to play any game that can merge these two loves together . I mean just check out My Top Ten Metal Video Games (Part 1) and My Top Ten Metal Video Games (Part 2)*cough cough*. Slain: Back From Hell was suggested to me by an anonymous source and I have to say it is mostly certainly up there with the most metal of video games.
Now, according to my research the game had a pretty rocky beginning when it was known simply as Slain. Poor controls made the game almost unplayable for some and in a difficult old school platformer this simply wouldn’t do. Luckily I never got round to playing the original version instead my introduction was to Slain: Back From Hell, a polished and smooth flowing game. It would appear developer Andrew Gilmour had redeemed himself with a fantastic re-release that has blown me away.
First things first, the game is a retro inspired, metroidvania style platformer with a simple, yet steep learning curve. It is all about knowing when to go all out slashing and when to wait to parry an incoming attack. There are a few tough jumps and some frustrating sections but I’d be harsh to call the game unfair, it’s just a tough one. Just be prepared to see the ‘you have been slain’ screen a lot. Now that’s the basics of the game down let’s move on. In the words of GWAR , ‘let us slay’…
The story is pretty basic. No overarching plot developments, just a resurrected, Viking looking, badass going about his business which involves massacring everything that stands between him and the Dracula-esque main villain Lord Vroll. The bosses and enemies are you’re classic fantasy/horror troupes. You know you got your skeletons, werewolves, banshees etc that all look fantastic in their pixel graphics style but are nothing to write home about. Where this game excels is in its atmosphere!
Oh that sweet, sweet atmosphere. Which includes the music! Slain; Back From Hell is fantastic at generating atmosphere with every stage and level looking gorgeous in that new modern retro inspired style. Each section of the game has its own theme and style to it. Don’t be fooled though the true beauty isn’t in the look, it’s in the music! Every moment is partnered up with the soundtrack perfectly. Like a fine wine being matched with the right cheese. The banshee queen stage has some eerie symphonic metal creeping in the background fitting in with the ghostly enemies and icy blue walls. The blood tower will get your blood pumping and blade swinging with some serious thrash that rips through the deep reds and browns. The soundtrack is all part of the experience.
Slain: Back From Hell is a great game for anyone who misses the SNES era of gaming and just so happens to be a metalhead as well. The gameplay is solid with engaging combat, tight platforming and a soundtrack that is worth blasting out. You’ll be butchering your enemies. You’ll be slaying your foes and you’ll be head banging throughout. Oh and you’ll be dying a lot… and cursing if you are anything like me… Thanks to Slain, and many games of the same calibre, I discovered my slightly masochistic love for punishing games.