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HOLY DIVER / Irem / NES
OK, how epic is this - Holy Diver is actually (kinda) based on the Dio song and video, and not only that, it looks like Castlevania and plays like a fusion of that and Mega Man. It even has pretty good tunes!
If ever there were a game made for Badass Platforming, this is it. In fact, it would be a total classic .... if not for the fact that the last couple of levels are basically unplayably difficult, and the final stretch of the game leading up to the last boss is virtually impossible unless you cheat with Game Genie codes or reload save states on an emulator constantly.
The first few levels are some fun, though. You play as a Belmont-looking wizard who throws an infinite supply of fireballs. You also have a limited ability to cast more powerful spells, which you gain after beating each boss at the end of each level, and replenish the use of by picking up crystals. You start out with a sort of intertwining dual fireball that has a slightly wider arc than your normal fireball, which isn't that exciting. Later you'll get a freeze spell that ices liquids and holds enemies in place temporarily, a rotating shield, and screen-clearing lightning among others. There's also some interesting interaction with the background that goes a little above and beyond the typical side-scrolling shooter - for example, in the second level you have to freeze lava pits and waterfals to get past them.
Anyway, it gets the Meh rating simply by virtue of the fact that you'll probably never bother to finish it - the difficulty really needed to be toned down a shade. Still good enough to make the annals of Badass Platforming however. And the end credits totally sync up with the Dio song, maaaan.
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