I made a few New Year resolutions and unlike last year, I intend to keep them. First off, I want to fix up the site a bit. Like hey, look, I’m putting more proper article titles, cool! Meanwhile, my second resolution is to fight my way through my huge game backlog, because christ, I’ve ruined my own life.
The year is 21XX. All the great adventures had happened in the last century, so no new heroes have been inducted into the Hall of Heroes for a long time. Enter Wryn. She wants to become the greatest hero of all time, but alas, there has apparently been no danger or villains in the past 100 years and it doesn’t look like it’s changing any time soon. So, she takes the sensible, heroic choice of killing all of the famed heroes so that she can become the greatest hero by default. Normal.
Bleed is an action-platformer by Boot Disk Revolution where you play through seven levels in a sociopathic crusade to become the best hero possible. It’s one of those games that’s pretty short if you’re just playing through casually but has a lot of replay value if you want to challenge yourself with higher difficulties and side content.
You start out the game with dual pistols and a rocket launcher, but you can unlock a bunch more weapons with the accumulated points you get from beating levels. Unfortunately, the weapons run into one simple problem: the dual pistols are just too good. It’s not flashy, but it’s extremely practical as long as you got good aim (debatable for me). Everything else has drawbacks with firing rate and range balancing out the damage boost; the revolver in particular is ridiculous because you need to do trick shots to make it good instead of aiming directly at enemies. That said, sword is at least okay for destroying or deflecting projectiles.
Your movement skills though are way more practical. Wryn can not only double jump, but quadruple jump. And not just straight upward either, but she can do it in any direction, so you can really do some speedrunning stuff with this game (amateur attempt posted above). She can also go into a bullet time mode, which can be pretty helpful toward the end game which can become Hell and is pretty much mandatory for higher difficulties.
The levels are short yet action-packed, ensuring that each level’s gimmick doesn’t overstay its welcome. In particular I like the second-to-last level, where Wyrn tries to kill the number one hero – a dragon – by letting herself get swallowed up; besides the immune system attacking you, there’s constantly generating stomach acid that becomes harder to dodge as the dragon’s stomach shifts, changing the angle of the level and the acid’s trajectory.
Each level has a unique miniboss, working on behalf of a separate person trying to kill the heroes, who are the big boss fights at the end of each level. The train probably has my second-favorite set of bosses. The miniboss is this awful spider-like robot with a cramped arena, trying to pierce you with its legs while sometimes crouching down to avoid the same train tunnels you were trying to dodge earlier. Meanwhile, the main boss is a super fast girl who becomes vulnerable whenever you’re using the bullet time, which kinda acts like a wake-up call to remember that this game has bullet time. Really, the main meat of the game is these boss battles. I’m actually pleased to look at the description for the second game because it looks like the devs chose to zero in on the boss fights.
I also really love the last level for two reasons. One: the boss rush. A lot of boss rushes normally just plop in characters you already fought, maybe with new attacks. Bleed‘s boss rush pits you against two of every boss simultaneously, and while they have less health, they still have the same attack patterns as the normal boss, which makes for way more frantic fights. The second thing is that the actual final boss is a rival boss battle with different versions of your own weapons. I’m always a sucker for that.
In fact, if you liked the boss rush like I did, you can recreate a harder version of that experience with challenge mode. You can fight up to three bosses at the same time in any arena. Like, imagine the endgame Mega Man boss rush, where instead of fighting each robot master again individually, you fight them two or three at a time. Want to fight a fleet of helicopters? You can do that. Want to fight the first three main bosses? Sure. Want to fight three versions of the final boss at the same time? You bet you can do it, but I mean, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s really hard but I think it’s a pretty neat addition to the game.
So, how about the difficulty options? The difficulty seems to affect the speed and attack patterns of the bosses, though after a run through of the first level, some level segments seem to be tweaked to be harder on higher difficulties. I played through the game on normal and honestly? After I got the hang of the game, it was kinda smooth sailing. Honestly, if you’re playing through the game but want some push-back, I recommend playing on hard mode.
Then again, part of why I found it easy was because the game has the mercy of unlimited lives. If you hate that, you can play through arcade mode, which offers “the ultimate old-school challenge” making you go through the whole game on one life. I mean, I’m pretty sure that a lot of old-school games had more than one life, but whatever.
What about the story? Besides the initial premise, most of it is back-ended. Bleed is aware of the fact that people into these kinds of games don’t care much for story, as the story and the credit for Wyrn’s kills are hijacked by the final boss – which makes Wryn mad because he only appears in the opening sequence that she acknowledges that most players skip.
The good news for her though is that the rest of the world recognizes the sheer callousness of killing a bunch of heroes and the final boss took all the credit, so Wryn kills the shit out of him and becomes an actual hero in the eyes of the public. It’s all in goofy fun. Maybe there’s a serious moral about chasing clout here or something, but that message probably gets lost considering that Wryn gets rewarded anyway. Whatever.
If you like intense action-platformers, Bleed is a game to check out. It actually left me wanting to get Bleed 2, but you know, that’s counterintuitive to my goal of clearing my backlog. Still, it’s on my wishlist for sure.