Badass music, ninjas, beautiful cel-shaded/comic style graphics, a Chinese setting, what’s not to like about a game like RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage? We recently were given the opportunity to review this game and wow, this is just an all around great effort from the team at S-Game, a Chinese independent developer. This is their third RainBlood game, but unlike the first two, Mirage is not an RPG, but rather a side-scrolling beat’em up/hack & slash/action game. If Final Fight was set entirely in China and you replaced gangs with ninjas and such, then you’d get something like RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage.
Graphics – As I mentioned above, RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage uses a style quite reminiscent of cel-shading which gives it an almost comic book like look. This visual style seems to suit the game quite well in my opinion. Both playable characters and individual enemies are easily seen for the most part, though sometimes the enemies can be hard to individually distinguish from one another when you’re fighting against large groups of them, but given that this a beat’em up type of game, that usually isn’t that important to do (the exception being the ranged enemies which will be a major pain in the neck if not dealt with). 9/10
Sound/Music – Wow, just wow. The title theme in RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage is one of the best title themes and pieces of game music I’ve heard in many years, simply phenomenal. If this track doesn’t get you pumped to kick some ninja butt, nothing will. This theme wouldn’t be out of place in an Asian themed Mega Man level even. The rest of the game’s sounds and music are also well done. As you would expect, they have a heavy Asian influence/theme going, but that is what you would want from a game set in China. RBCM features voice acting as well, but unfortunately (or not depending on your perspective), the voices are in what I assume is Chinese. I don’t speak Chinese, so I have no idea what they’re saying, but fortunately S-Team was kind enough to put in English subtitles. 9.5/10
Gameplay – Being an action/beat’em up/hack & slash game, RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage follows a pretty simple formula. Kill all the bad guys and find your way to the end of the level and kill a boss, pretty standard fair. But RBCM adds in special skills and abilities you can use to do different moves and attacks. The game features a “store” where you can use several types of in-game currency to unlock said moves and attacks. Some are button combos to perform more advanced attacks, while others are special abilities that will use your special move meter to attack all the enemies on the screen at once for example. I did sometimes find it difficult to perform special moves, but maybe that is because of user error and not the game’s fault. They’re not 100% required to advance in the game from what I could tell, except for a jumping move you’ll learn, but that one is easy to execute. 8/10
Story – The story in RBCM sees our heroes going after an evil organization who are up to no good and Soul & Shang seek justice against them. Pretty standard stuff in this type of game, but still cool nonetheless. The game features various dialog sequences with just the heroes, just enemies, and with the heroes and enemies together. There’s also various collectibles you can find which tell you more of the story as well as hidden rooms with more story scenes. 6/10
Challenge – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage would certainly make a good arcade game in my opinion. Why? Because the game is quite challenging even on Medium/Normal difficulty (which is called Killer in-game). It’s not a matter of if you’ll die, but how often. This type of game would be a quarter muncher back in the day for sure. Fortunately however, the game does provide extra lives you can collect, but in my play time with the game, they are few and far between. You can buy extras from the in-game shop using the game’s currency, but they are quite expensive (as you would expect to prevent “cheating”). RBCM features checkpoints even if you do wind up with a game over, but usually you’ll be sent back quite a ways and have to repeat challenging parts. Fortunately, you have two playable characters, so you can swap in and out to navigate through the game, though there is a short cooldown on this ability so you can’t just spam it constantly. 8/10
Replay Value – RBCM is a Steam title and as such, it features achievements that you can unlock. The game also has a lot of collectibles hidden throughout the levels for you to find and purchase unlockables such as abilities, attacks, and things like reduced damage or increased drop rate of currency. There are tons of things to unlock, so it’s doubtful you’ll be able to unlock every single thing without playing through each level multiple times. Multiplayer is featured in RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage as well, though I was unable to test this aspect of the game for this review. 6/10
Fun Factor – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage is definitely a fun game if you enjoy beat’em up games, which I do. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a lot like Final Fight in a Chinese setting. The game’s challenge can be somewhat off-putting, but it doesn’t make the game less fun to me. I’m sure it would be even more fun in two player mode as well. 8/10
Buy It Or Not? – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage is only $10 on Steam, which a great price for a game like this. That’s the advantage of something like Steam. Back in the day, this game would’ve been $50-60 easily, possibly more, but with Steam it’s only $10. If you like beat’em ups, you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of RBCM for just $10. Buy!
Misc Notes – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage does have a few flaws which didn’t bother me that much, but still deserve mention. There are occasional typos or incorrect word choices in various places such as on the game’s main menu screen. Here you’ll find the words Setting and Credit used instead of Settings & Credits, which makes more sense. But given that this game was developed by a Chinese team and for many of them it’s likely that English is not their first language, I can forgive this sort of thing for the most part. I mean they know English a lot better than I know Chinese for example.
Overall (Average) – 7.79/10
Overall (Non-Average) – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage is a fun, albeit challenging game. The music is just awesome and makes you want to kick some butt. The visuals are very nice as well. I rounded up to 8 and added an additional half a point because I like the game overall despite a few minor flaws. 8.5/10
Source: GameSaga Original