Review by: Jonathan Hynes
Published: August 13, 2004
While there may be no shortage of 3D anime action games on the market, fans never seem to tire of the classic, arcade-inspired adventures. One company that has consistently delivered the goods in this genre is Capcom, and they’re at it again with the altogether unique Crimson Tears. In mixing some pretty heavy role-playing elements and novel inventions with the intense action, players may finally get their hands on another Devil May Cry of sorts – substance and replayability to complement the satisfying hack-n-slash exterior.
Leave it to a freak accident in the heart of Tokyo to completely ruin your day; thanks to “minor” complications at a mega conglomerate called ARMA Corporation, a rip in the fabric of the universe has left the city in absolute chaos. The entire compound has been warped into a series of ever changing dimensional labyrinths (read dungeons), each of which is mysteriously populated by a plethora of bioengineered weapons, or mutant beings. As three mutanoid weapons yourself (albeit on the side of good), you must fight your way through the labyrinths in an effort to unravel the mystery of the disaster. Fortunately, in between visits to the underworld, you can return to your home base and even explore the adjoining city. There, you can purchase items and weapons from surviving merchants, donate money to help rebuild and restock the dealers, and even complete a few side quests for the inhabitants.
Each of the three playable characters – Kadie, Amber and Tokio – possesses unique skills and attributes that essentially dictate their fighting style. Tokio is strong and very much proficient with firearms, Amber is lighting quick and can wield two blades with devastating results, while Kadie’s youthful naivety is made up for by her incredible might, which allows her to lift swords much, much larger than herself. All of the heroes also have their own individual special moves and combo trees, which can be upgraded and improved at your home base by trading in parts that you find in the wild, similar of what you might find in an RPG.
Speaking of role-playing games, Crimson Tears borrows a few additional staples from said genre, including the concept of weapons upgrading. One way to improve your blades and guns is to have them modified at a sort of futuristic blacksmith using materials and gold that you collect from slain enemies. The other, more deliberate way is to fight; as you use a weapon more and more in combat, it will gain levels just as the character him / herself does, improving its stats. Be careful, though, as all of your equipment has endurance values that decrease as they see action in battle. Though they can be repaired back in the city for a fee, should they break while in a dungeon, you’re out of luck and in need of a new weapon.