I am at a loss guys…. This one is a hard one. ‘Crypt Of The Serpent King: Remastered 4K Edition’ by RenderCode Games is far from a good hack and slash game but boy, is it actually a decent remaster! I am bamboozled.
Firstly, this title has a lacklustre story with just jarring controls as you walk your character at a snail’s pace through twisting albeit generically generated dungeons of different designs. Your objective for every level is to collect a certain number of keys to unlock the boss of the level’s keep. Lurking the corridors of these hallways are enemies though from weird rat people, orcs, goblins, and berserkers. The controls are very simple to learn with a walk, slash, and jump mechanic.
I say simple but they aren’t executed very well. Every slash is janky if you are moving too and the jump is a laggy input that will definitely get you killed in the rudimentary lava or spikes. The enemies are so generic that when encountering them within seconds you can learn their attack patterns and breeze right through.
Sadly too, if you die you restart losing all progress. It feels like with a few more mechanics this game could even be a solid experience for retro dungeon fans.
The one slightly fortunate aspect of Crypt Of The Serpent King is that each kill or chest you open in-game will give you XP and gold. These can be used to buy weapon upgrades and XP skill point allocations after you die. It makes me sad that the selection is really limited and you can unlock everything in just a few run-throughs especially if you purposely die to upgrade things. Secretly genius or a poor choice in design, who knows?
Despite the environments being pretty barren, this is where I become conflicted. The graphics are actually very decent. Played on a 4K TV, on an Xbox Series X, the details of soldiers, monsters, textured walls, and even the character’s hand are rendered in with some actual love and attention. The enemies in this title are the stars of the show, with each level having the anticipation for what they look like rather than the dull combat. The graphical enhancements are clear and add a pop the game so sorely needs.
The music was also very well done. The dungeon halls were eerie with atmospheric melodies and while not full-on music tracks they actually painted that picture of medieval darkness and magic. At times, I’d even jump when an unexpected enemy would jab me from behind. The sound engineers should be commended.
Overall, while not great, Crypt Of The Serpent King: Remastered 4K Edition has an odd charm to it. Almost like a meme-like charm where you can’t help but smile even if you know you shouldn’t.
With a cult following on STEAM it is definitely an interesting ride even with its lacking narrative, controls, and level design. This remaster though, shockingly polishing in some of the right places will still leave you scratching your head saying “What did I just experience?”
- Fabulous sound design
- Decent graphical enhancements
- Still lacks a solid narrative
- Easy to unlock everything
- Limited mechanics
- Generic attack patterns
- Not enough weapons