Undead Knights

Bring Outcher Undeaaaad!

We spend a little hands-on time with Undead Knights and report back with all the gory details.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: August 30, 2009
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Medieval tales of kings bewitched by their queens into doing something stupid aren't exactly new, but when said queen sports a pair of epic DDs and happily reveals more of them than any Shakespeare play we can recall, it's almost understandable how she could rise so quickly to power and influence the decisions of a kind so easily. Almost. When the head of the king's knights dares question Queen Superboobs' ability to bend the king's ear, he, the king's daughter and her husband are all slain in the dead of night.

Not willing to leave this plane of existence quite that easily, though, Romulus, his brother Remus and bride Silvia all make a pact with some not-so-pleasant parts of the underworld to return and exact their revenge. The result? Eternal undeath and the ability to transform the living into their soulless, bloodthirsty thralls. Not a bad tradeoff as revenge scenarios go.

Most of this story is told in an amazing bit of introductory CG that features Romulous turning the king's army against him, at one point forcing zombies to slam into the castle gates until they shatter. It's all rather epic if we do say so ourselves, but it's some exceptionally gory (and boob-a-licious) window dressing for the game proper, which sports a soundtrack from metal bands Lightning Swords of Death, Endless Blizzard and Valdur. With names like that, you should have a pretty good idea of the tone the game is going for, no?

If you've watched any of the movies or looked at the screens we've kicked up, you'd be forgiven for thinking this some kind of zombie-filled Dynasty Warriors-esque hack-and-slash -- we honestly did too, as we'd missed the chance to check out the game at E3 this year. As luck would have it, Tecmo was kind enough to kick over a preview build of the game with most of the stuff unlocked and plenty of bonus points to help up upgrade our undead soldiers. But we're getting a little ahead of ourselves.

It's not unfair to call this something of a hack-and-slash as that's what you'll be doing for the most part. Each of the three characters has their own particular strengths -- well, not Romulus; he's mostly a balance class that gives you the best parts of speed and power. Remus is all about speed and Silvia, who we spent the most time with, wields a massive scythe for improved range. You can probably understand why we'd go with her over the sword-swinging dudes.

So yes, you'll hack up enemies like any other weapons-based beat-em-up, but where things change is when those enemies start to glow red. By tapping the Circle Button, you can grab the enemy, instantly transforming them into one of your undead minions (you can do this manually too, but it takes longer and leaves you vulnerable to attacks, so it's best to weaken them first, though you can double-tap the X button to roll out of the way of incoming strikes). With up to 10 zombies under your command, things quickly get interesting. You can hold the R Button and simply point them somewhere to have them automatically do what needs doing; have 'em gang up on an enemy and literally tear them apart, have them crash a gate or emplacement and rip it to pieces. When massive baddies show up, you can beat on the oafs for a bit and then huck your own undead armies at them where they'll stick and do extra damage, then turn that huge beast into your corpse slave.
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