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RITUAL: CROWN of HORNS

Developed by Draw Distance and Published by Feardemic

This game is set in the 18XX period of the United States of America when Cowboys were riding the range and Shaman-like Witches were performing Dark Magic Rituals. It is a weird magic, in a similar to Deadwood™ role-play game style but without the options for characters and careers.

Former military man and mountain man, Daniel Goodchild (I wonder if he's related to my old dentist, Michael Goodchild?) is now working for the Government as a Special Agent. He is on commission to find and capture a powerful witch who is believed to be casting spells and performing rituals detrimental to the world and well-being of the peaceful occupants of the American wild weird west.

The sequences in the game are beautifully designed in blood red and black to give a wonderful perception of the mysterious story you, as Daniel, are getting deeper into. It is very easy to die in the beginning, in fact it's designed so that you do, then you are transported to 'hell' (or wherever) amongst numerous coffins, mists etc on a deserted seashore (maybe a lake-shore).

Played in almost direct top-down overhead view - you see more of Daniels cowboy hat than daniel himself, except gun arm and hand - movement on the PC Steam version is by WASD even though the first picture to pop up onscreen as the game loads for play is a hand controller. You also control Daniel with the Mouse and mouse buttons, all three are effective.

There is the need to use the mouse, not the buttons, to turn Daniel in the direction you want him to go, otherwise pressing the 'W' will have him going upscreen whatever way his body is facing - he looks really amusing running backwards by the way. Of course if you don't turn him right way round then when you pull out your gun to fire you aren't looking at what you want to shoot.

When you succeed at a task or something of note happens there is usually a sequence where two characters are facing each other in conversation. From these you assess the situation, discover some news and clues of interest and also get a better look at both yourself and your adversaries/friends, usually only seen from above.

There are elements of several game themes/types here, including mass combat, seek & destroy and tower defence. 

Sometimes another creature will jump in on the conversation prior to you getting back into the action. You do get to meet (and sometimes kill) interesting folk.

Right near to the beginning of play you will have a six-gun, a shotgun and a sawn-off available to you. The shotgun and sawn-off are ideal close combat weapons and useful for pushing back several creatures at the same time, but unless they are close enough and in the right position for you to get multiple headshots that's all they are good for - pushing back. Headshots/hits are the most successful all the time for ridding your world of monsters. But you need to be prepared to run away from mass combat and hit 'R' to reload as you go. Running out of bullets is like committing suicide.

Once you are 'dead' your life bar appears top left and top right there is an empty bar (0/66) which shows your Souls score. Killing the horned, demonic, creatures takes three body shots - 2 dead and then you are engulfed in a pack of them (that's how you die first time). Headshots equal immediate death to these demonic souls, these souls actually float to you and are collected in the top right bar - don't expect to get to 66 immediately as you will soon be transferred to another part of the game.

When you are in range for a head shot a Red Skull appears engulfing the creatures head and one shot causes an explosion, the death of the critter and a soul beaming its way towards you. As already mentioned, you MUST take head shots whether you are firing at regular creatures or officer-like (higher level?) creatures.

This is the type of game I like but wish I was better at. I am pretty poor at this style of game because I am so slow at reacting. It's a blood-fest, a massacre waiting to happen, and you are the one doing the mass killing (most of the time). Players who like fast-moving shoot, dodge or die games will have a funfest with RITUAL: CROWN of HORNS. I died several, too many, times, trying to protect the Witch while she performs the Ritual, and when the mutant demons attack one at a time at first then building up to coming at you as a full-blown horde.

While Daniel lives I enjoy playing, he seems to die more often than most, up until the part when I need to take a break from getting him killed. For most players it will be a good game session before a break was required, if any, but for me it is a game that I have to continually return to, hoping that sooner or later I will learn the knowledge (and gain the speed) to survive that bit longer - each session of mine being slow, but actually quite enjoyable, progress.

Game costs £17.49 or with 2 added items £18.26 from here

Here's a video and following is some text, from the game's website.

Ritual: Crown of Horns is:

HORDE MODE GAME based on GUT INSTINCT TACTICS

FAST PACED – 3D TOP-DOWN – WITCH DEFENSE SHOOTER

WEIRD WESTERN AESTHETIC – ARCADE GAMEPLAY – SKILL BASED

Ritual: Crown of Horns is a slaughterhouse: a fast-paced action game set in an alternate Wild West, a demonic version of a hellish frontier. This arcade-inspired title unravels a tale about an unlikely duo: a bounty hunter who comes back from beyond the grave, yearning to exact revenge on his killers and a witch who aids him with a series of powerful rituals to further her own agenda.

Push back hordes of enemies, while the witch performs her ritual. Use a whole arsenal to your advantage: mindfully swapping between weapons and spells. Unlock new tools and powerful items boosting your character. Travel throughout the Weird West picking your missions and planning future unlocks to finally exact your revenge!

Ritual: Crown of Horns is a skill based game, where split-second decisions and planning on the go are more powerful than button mashing and throwing yourself mindlessly at enemies

We have

  • A unique auto-aiming system that distinctly sets itself apart from your average twin-stick shooters: instead of spraying and praying, you are an elite gunslinger who makes every shot count.
  • A satisfying arsenal: shotguns, six-shooters, rifles, crossbows, and a few surprises that are a little less era-appropriate.
  • Outrageous enemies: brainwashed cultists, supernatural legendary creatures, bizarre murderous contraptions – you name it.
  • Gear: mysterious capes, hoods and amulets that you can customize and get powerful buffs for your character.
  • Creative spells and power-ups that can violently alter the way you approach each combat encounter.
  • Plenty of insane levels for you to master, each complete with unique challenges tailored to push the combat system to its limits.
  • A unique gothic-horror-meets-weird-western artstyle.

It's 18XX

You were a lawman on a mission to track down a dangerous witch. Upon reaching your goal, you found yourself in a fatal ambush prepared by horned beast-like men. Your death was probably just collateral damage, quickly brushed under the carpet. Now, brought back from beyond the grave by the dark magic of the witch you were supposed to take out, you find yourself in a forced alliance against a common enemy.

Understand the powers responsible for your misery and get rid of them once and for all. Make friends and enemies along the way. Traverse the entire United States of America to exorcise its demons. Ritual: Crown of Horns is a game about wrecking havoc on history, seeing through false narratives and embracing your inner monster.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

MINIMUM:

    • OS: Windows 7 SP1
    • Processor: Dual Core 3 GHz
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ​1 GB VRAM OpenGL 2.1+
    • Storage: 2 GB available space

RECOMMENDED:

    • OS: Windows 7 SP1
    • Processor: Dual Core 3,4 GHz
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: 2 GB pamięci VRAM OpenGL 2.1+
    • Storage: 2 GB available space

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015