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Black Nexus avatar 3:25 PM on 03.21.2010  (server time)
New hardware, old game, ever played Akuji the Heartless

To start I am now a proud owner of a new notebook ( laptop, although I can hardly call it that its huge, I think its bigger than my first TV), it plays blue rays , and has a bunch of other stuff Iím reading on the side of the box that my tech guy was nodding in approval when I bought this thing , might even be able to run crysis, maybe .

Point being I wanted to break this thing in with a new blog, I wanted to do a review of white knight chronicles, star ocean the last hope international, or FF13 , unfortunately playing all 3 of those at once as well as god of war 3 is time consuming , and I donít feel that Iíve gotten to the point where I can say I have gotten most if not the whole picture( I havenít played a console rpg in a while and in turn forgotten how loooooooong they can be ).

Fortunately while I was making space for this TV with a keyboard I happen to come across an old favorite that Iím sure got ignored during the ps1 days : Akuji the Heartless.

Never kill a man before the honeymoon, HE WILL BE BACK FOR YOU.

You start the game out on your wedding day, where Akujiís brother shows up and kills him, literally tears his heart out and curses him to hell, and imprisons his wife, Akuji being the determined badass he is fights his way to the gates of the afterlife to go back and save the woman he loves. One problem though the gatekeeper baron semedi, wonít open the gates till you clear most of the afterlife of Akujis evil ancestors.

Akuji is a hack and slash plat former ( think god of war with levels and more emphasis on jumping around and exploring ). Your spells are located throughout the levels and have to be found each time you enter a stage, some magic power ups regenerate and some donít so proper use of your spells can determine whether your going to have a hard time in a level or not .

The first level

The game was great for its day, and the dark voodoo vibe and music set the mood of the game , it had atmosphere in spades as Akuji story of his trials to get his beloved back really tug at the heart, especially when you consider what he has to go through to get back to her , lets just say the afterlife is filled with a bunch of really hard to kill demons.

From an aesthetic standpoint though this was god of war before god of war existed, THERES BLOOD EVERYWHERE ( though its justified ) , deaths are often messy, and this being a mature game ( this actually meant something back in the day) the art director didnít hold back on the nightmare fuel, some of your spells are just outright creepy ( shooting dead souls I can deal with , but a shield that drinks the blood of the enemy your currently slashing up to restore your health, sheeshÖÖÖÖ still awesome though) and did I mention your health power up is a big beating floating bleeding heart ?

And the bosses of the areas ( on top of being nightmare inducing ) are well designed and challenging, the bosses are more or less puzzles as each has a weakness that needs to be exploited ( and no I donít mean hears the big glowing weak spot you need to hit in order to kill it) the first boss is a test of your reflexes and general, the second boss is a full blown nightmare unless you where smart enough to hold on to a certain spell and not use it to deal with his mooks, the third boss starts easy but then things get a little complicated when it spits in two and your dealing with one side blasting you with magic and regenerating health while the other half is trying to bite your face off, and the last boss is is just an all out war with all of your abilityís at your disposal. And after every boss Akuji prays to his voodoo god ( see: sacrifices something) so that he would keep his wife safe, and prayer ( killing of some unfortunate nearby mook, and a goat) seems to get messier with each boss, just mentioning how its done will probably get me in trouble with this sites HR department .

There is however one little problem with the game , the controls were on the sluggish side, thereís a definite delay between the time you push a button and the time Akuji does something, and with this game also being a plat former , this caused some issues ( two words , Bottomless pits) as the game really demands precision at some points, and from the halfway point on , every jump pretty much has to be on target, this has costs me a few Akujis ( though its funny when you die and lose your last life, you land in front of semdi who reminds you that you can die again all you want and be fine but if you ever want to save your wife you better stop sucking ).

I was hoping this would make it on the psn at some point but so far to no avail ( and with enix running
Eidos now I doubt its high on their list of priorities ) but with the spring here it might turn up in a garage
sale or two so pick it up if you see it.

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