Wulverblade: Romanes eunt domus! Uh, we mean, Romani ite domum... - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wulverblade: Romanes eunt domus! Uh, we mean, Romani ite domum...

Videogames have never shied away from the gore and gluttony of Ancient Rome. It's perfect for the medium: hand-to-hand combat, intense military strategy and hordes of barbarians to bat off with your empirical might. But that's all from the side of the Romans, and powerful though they were, they weren't always the good guys in fact, they very rarely were.

Wulverblade, a 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up inspired by retro treats like Streets of Rage and Golden Axe, tackles the other side of the battle. Rather than the Romans, you're the Picts: the underdogs, the Rebel Alliance to Rome's Galactic Empire which was pretty much everyone at the time.


We played Arena Mode, a multiplayer survival scrap with endless waves of increasingly tough enemies, but the main bulk of the game will be the Campaign Mode a story about the 9th Legion pushing into modern-day Northern England and Scotland, like a hen party with a hankering for deep-fried chocolate bars.

In the game, you play three characters in a family under siege: Caradoc, the mid-range fighter, Brennus the tank, and the swift-moving but deadly Guinevere. Part of the game's charm is how intensely researched it is all the characters' names, even the Roman grunts, are real, and the locations in-game are drawn directly from reference photos taken by Wulverblade's artist, Michael Heald.
Rather than the Romans, you play the Picts the underdogs
It's this attention to detail that makes the game so delicious. Let's be honest, Britain doesn't exactly scream sexy when it comes to picking locations. That's why we don't have a GTA Inverness or an Assassin's Creed set in modern-day Slough. But somehow the team have managed to make muted, sodden Britain look gorgeous.

The animations are just as tasty, with plenty of grisly ways to butcher foes, and if you're still not done desecrating their bodies, you can pick up their mutilated limbs and beat one of their comrades to death with it. We're assured this is totally historically accurate. We're starting to like the Picts...

If you're more interested in the history of our dear Britannia, there are codex entries unlocked through playing that give you more information about the real-life battle between the Romans and Picts. All this historical factage is woven nicely into the game itself, with an accurate representation of the female warriors in the tribes, facepaint styles and the locations of Roman forts and watchtowers.

We're pretty impressed with this little game from all of its angles as a modern take on classic arcade action, as a well-researched insight into a rarely talked-about part of British history, and as a damn good-looking game. Also, we should probably point out that we got a high score on Arena Mode. No biggie.

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