Sin Mark


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Rating: 3.8/5 (122 votes)
| Comments (40) | Views (69)

JoshSin MarkSin Mark is a Bowmaster Prelude-inspired side-scroller by Armor Games' Con Artist (Warfare 1917), featuring subtle strategy elements and lots of magic arrow, spell-weaving fun. It's meant to be played with your hero as mobile as possible, unlike many of the static, turret-defending bow-and-arrow games in this genre. Progressing through a series of levels battling waves of Middle Earth-type monsters, you'll extract magic from "Rune Stones" to build a larger arsenal of offensive and defensive spells, all of which are cast from your trusty bow. The interface is classic Diablo-style with a red and blue orb representing your health and mana. It's a challenging game with satisfying action mechanics that requires a bit of skill to master.

You'll find the controls to be pretty straight-forward for this kind of game; use [A] and [D] to move left and right, respectively. Unfortunately there's no jumping, although that's part of the strategy, as you'll see soon enough. Use the mouse cursor to aim your bow, click and hold to draw, and release to fire. Longer draws will yield higher velocity, inflicting around 50 percent more damage than the shortest possible draw. As mentioned, the arrow mechanics (trajectory, velocity) are pretty satisfying compared to many other games of this kind; you're usually able to hit your target with pinpoint accuracy all the way across the battlefield, instead of just taking an "educated guess" as to where your arrow will strike. The only other controls you'll have to worry about are spell keys [1] through [5] (if you don't like clicking the icons), and using [Space] to extract magic from Rune Stones when you come across them.

Sin MarkEach level is a platformer-style terrain of slopes and hills that you'll traverse from left to right (and vice-versa, as levels progress). Monsters will spill out of portals and march towards you; some of them fire arrows like you, while the rest are melee fighters that need to be right up in your grill to inflict damage. The monster portals can be destroyed; in fact, they have to be to complete each level. After the final portal and remaining monsters are mopped up, you'll move on to the next stage. In later stages, you'll find yourself having to go back-and-forth instead of just left-to-right, as the number of portals in each level increases (they'll start to respawn). Along the way, you'll see the occasional Rune Stones that you can extract magic from in order to build your spells. You'll be exposed and unable to attack or move for a few seconds, but it's important to harvest every one you come across if you want to have a large selection of spells to choose from.

These spells can be created between each level by combining various types of magic together. There's a handy "recipe" book that lists the required combination for most of your spells, although you won't know exactly what each one does until you learn it. You can usually infer which are offensive and defensive by their names, such as "Rock Wall" or "Fire Storm." Some spells' purpose is two-fold though, keeping enemies at bay while damaging them at the same time. Before the level begins, you can swap out different spells and order them however you want. You'll also come across the occasional "Trinket," which is an item dropped from monsters (at a 1 percent drop rate) that augments your abilities with things like increased damage or mana regeneration.

Analysis: Sometimes it's easier to notice a game's faults when it actually happens to be fun and relativity well-made. You find yourself wishing for more, or disappointed in specific aspects that hinder your personal playstyle. If you're enjoying Sin Mark, it's not too hard to notice what's lacking, like a melee weapon for your character, more items/armor that boost your stats, or the fact that stats aren't even a part of the game. A character leveling system would have been great, with the ability to increase things like movement speed, hit points, attack power and more. Many people feel there should have been the ability to jump, even though most of the game's strategy is centered around the "push-or-retreat" of taking of ground (which would be rendered null if you could just jump over an enemy).

Despite this, Sin Mark still proves to be a valiant effort that's enjoyable, engaging and somewhat difficult to master. There's a lot of multitasking required; aiming your bow, gauging the right velocity, choosing the best spell for the situation and trying to gain ground while keeping enemies from doing the same. It's something that both action and strategy fans will probably enjoy, tiding us over until Bowmaster 2 is finally (and hopefully) released this year.

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40 Comments

I personally found that having both the A-D movement AND mouse to aim/fire to be difficult, since they use different parts of your hands. Also, the instructions weren't as clear as they could have been.

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Enjoyed the game!

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scoobysnack February 18, 2009 1:47 PM

Interesting game...directions are not that good though. I'm having trouble figuring out how to do anything but shoot arrows.

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Not bad, but I got very annoyed at how if you shoot a bow with too much power at a close enemy it usually misses, and especially how my summoned skeletons RAN FROM BATTLE LIKE BONY PANSIES! Sorry had to get that out. Otherwise a valiant effort.

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I really did not enjoy this game. Only played the first few levels then got bored, as it is just the same thing over and over again. Camera angles are horrific; if you go in one direction for too long then the camera speeds off to the other side of the playfield. If you fire at a close enemy then it doesnt hit. Also, it is far too difficult! You manage to beat the first wave of enemies and before you have a chance to move there is another wave upon you! And while you have to defend yourself from this apparently infinite amount of demons, you have to try and extract runes, which take about 10 seconds to do. And to make things worse, while you are extracting you cant cast any spells or fire any arrows. Really good concept, just executed horrendously. -1*

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Hmm, nice enough, though it gets a little bit boring.

Protip: Get the Volcano spell, and cast it directly underneath the enemy gates. If you get it right all the fireballs will hit the gate and destroy it right away.

Remember to extract the runes before you kill the gate though.

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I really liked it. If you know what you are doing it is easy to push throug hthe waves of enemies, and grabbing runes is easy to pull off if you kill of f the close range guys i nthe immediate vicinity. Also,for the final boss:

Firestorm works great. Most spells fizzle on him, but the "Rain destruction fro mthe sky" type spells work, and firestorm worked great.

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A-D and arrow keys do nothing on my mac :(

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This game bored me to death. Literally. The paramedics had to come save me. It was embarrassing.

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I don't know why, but I couldn't get into this one very much. I was hoping for a strategic game like Warfare 1917, but it was really more a bow shooting game. That would have been ok if the archery had grabbed me, but it felt like a jazzed up version of those old artillery games.

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How to win quickly and easily:

Equip the Quick Draw charm and machine gun fire at close range and aim about 45 degrees into the air.

You can drop some portals before they've spawned more than a few mobs.

Only trick is getting the trinket to drop for you.

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I found this to be enjoyable for the most part, but the facts that the slightest movement moved the screen, and that portals spawned behind you, even after you destroyed them, and that you had so little mana, which was incredibly detrimental to gameplay since the spells did jack, all made the game much less fun than it could have been.

Run-on sentences ftw!

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This is a new one to me, a well made game by Con Artists(No surprise there) but I actually like it.

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The boss AI can be exploited for a totally secure victory:

The boss has a hammer attack which hits about 1 boss-height forwards from the boss. If you stand in range of this attack and keep firing arrows at the dragon's head, then the boss will never move forwards. Half the time the boss will be stamping (which won't hit you) and the other half the boss will use the hammer attack. The hammer attack is so slow that you can easily move backwards to dodge it, then move forwards again. Repeat until the boss dies. I had the Quick Draw trinket equipped, but you probably don't need it.

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Personally, I thought it was very entertaining... I actually wish it was longer. I didn't have any difficulties whatsoever, but I agree that it has a lot of room for improvement. I give a 8/10

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I liked this game. And yes, some type of leveling would of come in handy. I seem to always do just about 30 DPH and 100 Crit.

The volcano is good for getting rid of portals. I fire one them a few seconds later, it's gone.
It's also fun to fire one at a hill to see it ACT like a volcano.

The summoning spells, are kind of a waste of runes. Figure out the last summon, it's the only one you'll most likely need.

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This is a decent, but easy game. I was fortunate to collect a luck trinket first thing, which allowed me to get a number of other trinkets.
Of the ones I got, Quick Draw is by far the best.

The Boss is really easy. There is a distance from the Boss at which he doesn't move forward or hit you, allowing you to volley shots. Also, if you approach him first thing, no extra guys come after you. Spells: as far as I can tell, Volcano is the only one effective. Finally, the optimal trinket is probably Piercing, allowing you to do more damage with each shot.

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This is actually a comment about the rating... at the top it says it is a "rating-o", but it has the orange "rating :S" symbol. Just not sure if anyone noticed that.

[Edit: rating-o is orange. Just click on the rating symbol for an explanation of our new ratings system. Perhaps we should have typed out the colors instead of using an abbreviation, but since we have the icon I thought an abbreviated rating tag would suffice. -Jay]

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Imagine someone browsing Armor Games and seeing the words "Con Artist" under the author title...

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I think the game has potential, but falls short of really enjoyable as it is. The interface could use some small tweaks (especially the between battle page), the AI (especially of allies) needs to be improved, and the level design needs to go beyond "move to the right and shoot". With more interesting levels, the game would perk up. As for spells, I found the rain of arrows to be the most useful (you can kill a portal with one shot), and the extra damage trinket seemed the most helpful.

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I like this game. How about the shape of the gates, and then firing the arrows at them? So Freudian!

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I can't even get past the first gate. I can't shoot them quick enough, they all shoot me, i can't ge tthe runes argh!!!

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The Great Dane February 19, 2009 9:19 PM

I truly loved this game. I didn't find it too hard and got through it in an hour or two. Maybe its because I found the health-trinket in third level or so. Thumbs up for this one.

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What a charming piece of work from the designer who gave us Warfare 1917. This guy has a great future ahead of him.

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I'll side with the "great idea, good presentation, awful execution" camp.

While the gameplay appears interesting, and different arrow enhancements intrigue me, the game is dull, dull, dull. Everything moves at snails pace and once the action heats up the controls really feel constricting. I wanted to like it, but it's just not a good game.

Two things sealed my opinion:

1) Re-appearing portals (like it's not enough of a chore to destroy them the first time)

2) No control over when the level ends (if I pull runes while in battle, I get hurt; if I try to clear the enemies first, the level ends and I don't get to collect them at all)

All in all a nice try, but ultimately a fail.

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After beating the fire-breathing dragon (boss?), I thought going to one side or the other would get me to an ending screen, but I just seem stuck on that level. I used the Warrior of Chaos and my arrows to defeat it.

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@baba44713

Actually, if you destroy a gate, the "runes" next to it will be destroyed. So, even if you could control when the battle ends, you wouldn't be able to collect any runes b/c they'd be destroyed. The trick is to collect runes while enemies are mobbing you, which is why using wall spells (sometimes using several back-to-back) is pretty important if you want to minimize damage.

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@Josh

How do you play an easier level again??? I found that you can only move forward. I'd like to play easier levels so that I can have all of the spells by the end of the game.

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@Mar

Thanks, I totally missed that.

However, the spell system - as I figured - works on experimenting and random item collection. This means that while there potentially is a "strategy" behind rune collecting, until I figure it out I have to go through more then a few frustrating tries where the game forces me to be either NOT collect the runes or stay completely helpless while collecting them. I think this could have been designed better.

But the biggest problem is still the sheer slugginess of the gameplay. I feel sad because the presentation is REALLY good, but the game (especially the controls) feel like you are playing underwater. I don't necessarily need games that require split-second reflexes, but being overwhelmed by enemies and only being able to sluggishly move left and right and having to hold the mouse button for a few secs each time I want to shoot... it just isn't as fun as it could be.

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@baba44713

Yeah, it totally could be improved. Maybe a tutorial to explain that bit, and the controls could be improved. What really sucks is that there's so much potential, but it just falls short.

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I surprised there is as much criticism. I thoroughly enjoyed the play options (spells and runes) as well as the challenge and controls. I had to pick between the right spells for the right monsters and/or mobs of monsters. Sure the gates reappear, but only one or two and then the level ends.

One bug I found though, on the final boss I summoned an undead buddy and for some reason the boss couldn't inflict damage on him. I played it again and he could.

Great game! My only suggestion would be to have the hero pull out a dagger or something for close-combat fighting. Sort of like how Metal Slug worked.

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Dude needs a sword.

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Love the game. Enjoy how you control with A and D but aim with mouse. I have wasted many hours of my life playing and have beat it several times but never gets boring. Is there going to be a sequel?

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Finally beat the last part. To beat the dragon, do a lot of the bone thunder thingy.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this game, I probably would have done it in a couple of hours but I restarted a number of times to create all the spells and see what they all did.

My only problem with it was that you can make any spell in the book really early in the game. (By the end of Act1 I had all three of the 4th page spells). Perhaps starting with the rune mixer thing only being able to mix two runes and then getting more as you progress though the game.

I quite liked the lack of personal stat development, where you are not putting skill points into health/mana etc.

One thing that I really don't understand is why people are winging about having to collect runes while under fire. I saw this as a tactical problem to be solved by casting walls or choosing the right lull in battle to collect them.

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ok people i hear alot of complaints hold the mouse down for about a 1/4 second and release you will hit a close enemy. use the a&d keys camera will not scroll

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dude man person July 5, 2009 11:57 AM

ive been trying every combination for bone storm but it wont give it to mecould anyone tell me?

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Anonymous July 25, 2009 7:17 AM

does anyone know the rune combinations for the full 4th page?

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This game is incredibly hard! Everything depends on which runes you extract. I've passed first level, demons almost killed me and I extracted runes of differend kind, so it was impossible to make ANY spell at all!
Thanks to this, the second level was REALLY tough, but at the end it was possible to make ONLY ONE spell, freezing arrow. It was completely useless though, because it causes no damage.
So there I was, in the third level, with some lazy amulet (I could choose between pierce damage, finding rare runes and faster healing) and with only one spell of freezig arrow. Yes, it can stop that big demon for a few seconds, but you are at constant firing from other demons and once you kill all those creatures and aim to destroy the portal, there are new ones coming your way and there begins a new battle for another few meters...

I play such games to relax, I am not a hard-core player with 4 hours time to walk trough this...

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