Castle Crashers is an Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, and Steam (PC) game independently developed by The Behemoth. Announced by The Behemoth during Comic-Con 2006, the game is available for download from the Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Store and Steam (Windows and Mac). Castle Crashers was released August 27, 2008 for XBL, August 31, 2010 for PSN and on September 26, 2012 for Steam.
Castle Crashers' story is based on the adventures of one-to-four knights as they attempt to chase down the Evil Wizard and his army after they steal a large magic crystal and four princesses from the palace. Each of the four princesses are held captive by different villains. The first is held by the Barbarians, another is held by a strange, rich Industrialist in purple clothing, although he loses the princess when he is chased down by the knights and the Evil Wizard has to take the princess back. The third princess is given to a cyclops, and the last princess is given to an ice wizard who keeps her in his ice castle in a far away "Snow World".
The knights, at times assisted by the King and his own troops, make their way through several different environments, and are able to rescue the kidnapped princesses one by one. Along the way, they are antagonized by a Necromancer knight working for the Evil Wizard, who summons undead Skeletons to hinder their progress, and also revives the Cyclops after he is defeated. After defeating the Evil Wizard's forces and rescuing three of the four princesses they finally reach the Evil Wizard's castle, where he holds the final princess. Inside, the knights must defeat a strange purple painter with a lunchbox for a head who uses his paintings as a weapon, the undead Cyclops and his sidekick, the Necromancer, who summons one of every enemy in the game to swarm the knights at once, and finally the Evil Wizard himself, who fights in several forms. The knights ride home on the magic crystal carrying the final princess for a celebration with several other characters from the game. However, when attempting to kiss the final princess, it is revealed that she is actually Tricky the Clown from the Newgrounds animation "xkittyfroggymeowmeow."
Castle Crashers is a side-scrolling beat-em-up which incorporates a small number of role-playing game elements. After selecting a character, the player then selects a starting level (beginning with the Evil Wizard's attack on the castle) through the world map; once the player completes a level, they may then opt to start a new level or revisit that level any time. Other levels include stores where the player can buy healing potions, weapons, bombs, sandwiches, or animal orbs using gold gained from defeated foes, and arenas where the player can fight their way through hordes of enemies to unlock additional characters.
In each level, the player can use a number of melee attacks and combination attacks in addition to a unique magical ability each character has in order to defeat foes. The player has a health bar that, if drained from enemy attacks, will cause the character to die; if the player is playing alone, this ends the level and the player will have to start it over; otherwise, any of the other players may attempt to revive the downed character in a limited amount of time. The amount of magical power the player has available is also tracked by a bar and regenerates over time. Numerous weapons can be found in the game, each having various effects to the character's attributes when equipped. There are also animal orbs that can be found that may help out in battle, improve the character's attributes, or provide another special ability such as gaining more treasure from defeated foes. After a player damages an enemy, they gain experience points, eventually gaining the player a new level. Each level gained allows the player to allocate points towards four basic attributes to improve that character in combat. In order for a player to "level up" to level 99, exactly 113,680 xp points need to be earned. Certain level advances also grant new combination attacks as well. Progress in experience and game completion is tracked for each of the playable characters separately. New playable characters can be earned by completing the game with a character, or by completing the arena battles. Characters can also be unlocked through downloadable content.
The game supports up to four players working cooperatively, either locally or through Xbox Live/Playstation Network/Steam. The game progression in terms of what levels are unlocked is defined by the hosting player; however, each player can continue to gain levels and acquire wealth, weapons, and animal orbs as they progress with the rest of the party.
Two mini-games are also present: an Arena mode similar to the arenas in the main game where the player attempts to survive through several waves of enemies, and "All You Can Quaff", a game where players compete to eat the given food quicker than their opponents by mashing the X and Y buttons.
"All You Can Quaff" does not feature in the Playstation 3 version, but a Volleyball minigame is present. It is a 4 on 4 style mode with variable courts that are unlocked in campaign play.
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