๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ‘ปThe Curse of Illmoore Bay Mega Drive Review 8/10 "16-bit Halloween Magic" ๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ‘ป @alteredimension #Retrogaming #RetroGames

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Developer – Second Dimension R&T, LLC

New Mega Drive games always feel special, whether they push the little black box to the edge of its capabilities or perhaps capture an earlier period of its shelf life. The Curse of Illmoore Bay is a title that feels like it captures the essence of Sega in 1993/4 with its platforming action, visual style and kiddy-creepy approach.

Nick Nettles, a Woodsboro Mall employee, discovers the legendary book of Wicked Carols. The book is said to be a guide to raising the spirits of the dark djinn, and with the holiday season soon approaching, Nick wasted no time. "I'm sick of playing Santa year after year!" he decried.

As he changed the mystical words inscribed on the parchments before him, the calm night started turning into a whirlwind of chaos...

Set in the town of Illmoore Bay, in which war has been portended between humanity and nightmares for centuries, three (surprisingly modern-dressed) statues come to life when the aforementioned war becomes a reality, three protectors that are sworn to fight back against the army of nightmares.

Visually, The Curse of Illmoore Bay feels right at home on the Mega Drive, with the pixel enemies and hand-drawn backgrounds feeling like this is an uncovered game from the golden era. The jaunty, gently whimsical music – courtesy of Sebastian Abreu and Danny Tamberelli – really adds to the nostalgic ambience, as does the initially limited move-set of leaping, melee, and ranged attacks – with further abilities that allow you access to new areas to be unlocked as the game progresses, although these consume energy that needs to be replenished as you move through the stages.

Collectable items make up a lot of the replayability that runs through the game, at the end of each stage, you are greeted with a screen of stats and awards etc. - and cursing those missed items and paths does make you want to play through the levels again, which is made easier due to the in-built battery backup that saves your progress, with three separate save states available for use.

The Curse of Illmoore Bay is a saucily challenging game, that will have you back-tracking and re-evaluating your approach. In some ways, it feels almost like a Metroidvania but split over levels as opposed to set inside a single labyrinth. The kinetic chip-tune soundtrack; approachable playable characters – in both single and multiplayer modes – combined with the cartoonish visual aesthetic - teases you in, making you think that breezing through the game will be child’s play…this is not true, as you come to realise a few stages in when you have to steeple your fingers and re-assess your next move.

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