Immortal Souls: Dark Crusade


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Joshimmortalsoulsflash.jpgMonsters. Slimy ghouls. Lightsaber-wielding Knights Templar. And one vengeful trench coat-wearing vampire with guns, claws, and a trusty baseball bat. Mix them all together and you've got the dark, gothic backdrop of the online Flash version of Comic Book RPG's 2010 indie strategy-RPG title, Immortal Souls: Dark Crusade.

In Immortal Souls, you play John Turner, a reluctant vampire on an action-filled mission where he takes down hordes of impressively-animated enemies across eight story-filled chapters. The turn-based gameplay is similar to Bejeweled and Puzzle Quest, with a 4 x 3 grid of icons representing different colored attacks and defenses. Enemies have weaknesses to certain colored attacks, encouraging you to find specific patterns on the grid for maximum success. Clicking on chains of the same icons leads to longer, more powerful attacks, and is the key to winning battles against multiple enemies. Outside of the battles, there are also RPG elements that let you level up your character, add skills and attributes, and purchase equipment to strengthen your attacks.

While much remains the same from the downloadable version, Immortal Souls now features multiple enhancements. One of the biggest updates is the new character class system. There are three classes (Warrior, Scoundrel, and Manipulator) to choose from at the onset that grant your character various powers to manipulate the 4 x 3 icon grid. These manipulations (called "Tech Skills") prove essential during battles whenever the random layout of the grid deals you a bad hand. Some Tech Skills let you reshuffle the layout, while others add bonus chain icons or make normal attacks more powerful. In addition to these Tech Skills, there are also special power icons on the grid that let you combine different colors in chains, leading to some awesome combos. Players of the original will also note that now enemies can sometimes miss, healing and defense can be chained like attacks, and animations feel faster and smoother.

immortalsoulsflash2.jpgAnalysis: This new version of Immortal Souls, with its updates and additions, feels much more refined and a lot more fun. Some elements, like the graphics and animations, still shine in their original hand-painted comic-book look, while the story is now less complicated and the action feels more fair. I especially like the class system, with its Tech Skills that can turn the tide in your favor when all seems lost. The new achievement system also makes fighting through the repetitive rounds of enemies feel more compelling.

At the same time, certain issues still remain. There's still no way to exit battles early, and the game's over-emphasis on earning gold trophies by beating enemies quickly doesn't have much of a payoff. It would have also been neat to see enemies perform attacks that affect your icon grid, as is done in games like Puzzle Quest. Regardless, with its new layers of features and streamlined, turn-based action, Immortal Souls has become a more accessible title for the casual gaming public... one you shouldn't be afraid to sink your teeth into.

Play Immortal Souls: Dark Crusade

Walkthrough Guide


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Immortal Souls - Strategy Guide

Classes

When you start the game, you get to choose between three different classes, each with various bonuses described below:

  • Warrior: Increases damage by 5%

  • Tech Skills:

    • Full Offense - Changes all heal and shield tiles to attack tiles

    • Berzerker - Increases damage to enemy armor dramatically

    • Armor Pierce - Sacrifices a tile and performs a melee attack that completely destroys the first enemy armor color encountered

  • Scoundrel: Trophy requirements reduced by 1 turn

  • Tech Skills:

    • Gamble - Refresh and Re-randomize attack grid

    • Power Gamble - Refresh and Re-randomize attack grid with one Power Up move

    • TurnCoat - Allows you to change 1 tile into any type of tile of your choosing, Power Up excluded

  • Manipulator: Gives chain attack meter bonus

  • Tech Skills:

    • Swap - Select a tile and switch it with another tile on the board

    • Tactical Insertion - Allows you to select a tile and convert it into a Power Up move (allowing you to create multi-chain attacks)

    • Conversion - Converts an attack tile and all of the same attack tiles connected into a tile type of your choosing (red to orange, etc)

Equipment Store

  • In the equipment store, you get to upgrade your Skills and Tech Skills, as well as buy items and equip your character.

  • Skills include:

    • Gun (Purple)

    • Martial (Orange)

    • Melee (Blue)

    • Vampire (Red)

    • HP (Green)

  • Items include:

    • Trench Coat

    • Boots

    • Baseball Bat

    • Guns

    • Amulets

  • Defeating enemies awards you with XP to get more skill points, and cash to buy items in the store.

  • Whenever you buy an item, it goes into your inventory. You need to click the item in your inventory and drag it on your body to equip it. Note that some items require you to be at a certain Level before you can equip it.

  • Mousing over an item will reveal what skills it boosts when equipped. Make sure you focus on items that enhance skills you're already strong at to overpower your enemies.

Special Items

There are four special items you start out with. Once they're used up, you can only buy them by redeeming gold trophies, which you earn by defeating enemies in as few turns as possible. They are:

  • Randomize Moves - Randomizes your attack moves.

  • Double XP - Doubles XP until end of battle.

  • Randomize Moves Plus - Randomize and gives you a power move.

  • Double Power - Gain x2 damage until battle ends.

There's also a special "Double Cash" item you can purchase for 15 gold trophies that lets all characters gain x2 cash from battles.

Battle Tips

  • Always pay attention to the color above your enemies (their shield). You should try to attack with the same color, since each color attack will totally remove one of the same colored dots or bars.

  • Some enemies have multiple colors in their shields. If possible, use Power Up icons to combine color chains to eliminate multiple shield colors.

  • Your first use of your class's tech skill is always free. If you are the scoundrel class, don't forget to re-roll the board at the onset if you get dealt a bad hand.

  • You will need to unlock the bottom two tech skills for your class in the Equipment Store. Once you do, the number below the skill indicates how many rounds need to pass before you can use that tech skill. Add points to your tech skills to lower this number.

  • Don't forget to chain more than one color together to keep your attacks going.

  • When low on health (or you need to shake up the board a bit), use shield and health icons. Otherwise, focus on attacking most of the time.

  • When there are multiple enemies, don't forget to click the one you want to attack. You'll see a red animated cross under the enemy currently selected.

20 Comments

its driving me crazy!! Chapter 2 level 2?!?! its impossible? there are two zombies but they want you to beat it in one turn..... HOW DO YOU DO IT!?!

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Yeah, the art and animation are great. But maybe this should have been just a comic book, rather than a game. It's held back by UI issues, unclear game mechanics, and OH GOD STOP THE CAMERA.

To be specific on the first two (assuming the third to be self-explanatory):

The UI is missing really basic functions, beyond the one mentioned in the review (no way to exit a battle early). Like how once I open Equipment Store, there's no way to close it. And how the unclosable store window is blocking the button to open the Trophy Store.

Or like how the Chapter screen only shows two battles at a time, even though there is plenty of screen real estate to show most, if not all, of them at once.

Or like how the Chapter Select screen is only accessible through the main menu, with no "back" button to get you out of a particular chapter so you can quickly select another.

Or like how you can't drag-and-drop a new inventory item onto a slot that is already equipped. Oh, no. You have to drag the equipped item off first, and drop it in an empty slot, before you can equip the new one. Because that's efficient. Yup.

Also, the "progress to level up" bar that shows after every battle is always fully green. Not seeing any "progress" there.

Another major drawback is that some game mechanics are never explained, and that the player is kept uninformed of basic info during the game. The battle screen is pretty dense with clickables and stats, but the "tutorial" level doesn't bother to explain most of it.

One crucial game mechanic is that each enemy starts out with several "shields" that must be destroyed before it takes damage directly. Each shield is weak to a certain attack type, indicated by the color of the little bar icon above the enemy's health bar (also color-coded). This information was presented, but not fully explained. It took me a few turns to figure out exactly how it worked.

Other information is never explicitly presented, or presented obliquely. For instance, I learned by trial and error that you can only string together three healing or defense items at a time-only in my 8th battle did I finally see the randomly-generated tooltip letting me know that useful fact.

Similarly, the game does tell you that you can earn gold trophies for completing each battle in a minimal number of turns. But you will never learn what the magic number is before starting a battle, and you are not provided with a turn-counter to keep tabs on your performance once you do know (having played the level once already). Never mind that the trophies are pretty useless, being worth far less than the effort required to procure them-playing each level at least twice (unless you are super lucky and hit the target on the first try, blinded), often playing it half a dozen times, until you're lucky enough to be able to string together a winning sequence of combos.

And I'm still not exactly clear on how I earn "tech points" during each battle. I think you get one each time your "chain level" meter fills. And I think your chain meter fills a bit with every attack you string together. But with the camera zooming in and out and back and forth like a drunken tourist filming the Scrambler at an amusement park, it's all pretty hard to follow.

I really want to like this game, mostly because of the artwork, and also because even though I don't fully understand the mechanics, it's pretty fun at times. But the issues I've mentioned here are absolutely killing it for me.

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Anonymous August 9, 2011 9:00 PM

Great game, I'm giving it a 5/5. The graphics are beautiful. A few suggestions for the programmer(s):

When there are multiple enemies and one of them is in front of the other, the front enemy covers the back enemy so that it's not possible to select the one in back. Perhaps you could introduce a button/hotkey (such as tab) for switching targets, or just shift the graphics so none of the enemies are covered.

How about some subtitles for the introduction, for people who can't play sound because we're pretending to work. (Not that that's what I'm doing. *cough*)

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Anonymous August 9, 2011 9:00 PM

I'm not trying to be all 3rd grade, but why do the bats attack the main characters crotch?

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Anonymous August 9, 2011 9:22 PM

You can use the left and right cursor keys to change targets.

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Anonymous August 9, 2011 10:04 PM

It would be nice to know how much an item will sell for before I sell it so I know if I will have enough to buy a replacement.

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What do the green pluses and the grey shields do exactly, besides waste my turns?

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Anonymous August 10, 2011 6:53 AM

Green +s heal you for I think ~20% of your health. Grey shields increase your def by a lot. If you don't put too many of your lvl points in hp (I had 60 total hp and still had to use them at times), you very likely WILL need to use those +s on the last chapter and a few other fights. Though just good +def coat can last you pretty much most of the game.

As mentioned above, there are many things that aren't really mentioned before you encounter them. For instance: the gambler class is actually one of the HARDER classes to get gold trophies on as it has 1 less turn than usual. (ex: tutorial needs to be done in 2 turns rather than 3). You can click the last orb you clicked to cancel that move. You don't get to know what exactly do each classes skills do until you selected. I don't think they tell you at all how you gen tech points (1 per turn and then once every 3 then 4, then 5, etc. "combos". Note that it only counts attacks that hit, so heals/shield/overkill don't count). You can't use items with lvl higher than you, but you can still buy them. Glowing items has 1 more stat than normal items. You might not notice the fact that you get one free use of the first skill, and that there is a max level to how much you can reduce the cost of the skills. Many of these don't need a tutorial just for them, but at least some kind of help file or such would have been nice.

Some other notes/bugs: do not get 3 heals/shields as the first set of a power bonus. It'll automatically end after the 3rd, without letting you chain. Clearing a save slot is a bit bugging at times. When I used it on the 2nd slot, it removed all the items from the first. The exp didn't change just the items.

The game has very nice animation and art, but the gameplay is fairly bland and at times very luck based (esp. to get those gold trophies). Also I feel there's no real "point" to them being vampires. There's no blood sucking, transformations, stakes, holy water, etc. Besides the art, it would probably make more sense if they were werewolves or something. It's still fairly additive, but could really have used more polish, innovation, and better use of its theme.

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Tedric's comment is spot on. I was just going to see the first game hoping that the game mechanics would be better explained there. The game is fun, but needs some professional polish.

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Anonymous August 10, 2011 3:15 PM

The grey shield bonus basically functions to use up a turn while taking minimal damage. It's usually a waste of time, but can be useful for setting up your next attack.

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Anonymous August 10, 2011 3:44 PM

It's a little weird and confusing that there are two completely different kinds of trophies: the kind earned for completing battles in a certain number of turns, and the kind earned for achievements like killing a certain total number of enemies. The first kind can be spent at the trophy store; the second kind has no use that I can see, and only exist on the achievements page. The two kinds of trophies look identical, which makes me think maybe the achievement trophies were meant to be spendable but the programmer forgot to implement that feature. If that wasn't the intent, why not use different words and images for the two kinds of trophies?

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I don't know if it's just my new computer, but my savegame for this is gone. I'm a bit miffed because I spent some time on it, too.

Do you guys know if anything that could cause this? I have a new Windows 7 laptop, the latest Flash and Firefox, and have enabled cookies and unlimited storage.

Help?

Thanks so much.

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When I try to play on armor games, the game screen is cut off. Is anyone else having that problem?

[Sounds like your browser is zoomed. Check our Support page for how to fix it. -Jay]

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charlatan Author Profile Page August 11, 2011 6:11 PM

The game always gives you least of the attacks you would need most. Enemy shield all red = good luck getting some on your first "draw".

It's not random. To me, thats bad game design.

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Glitches:

I saved a game at level 19 and left - when I loaded the game, all my equipment was gone and I was left with my level 1 jacket.

The ability to switch targets using the arrow keys works half the time.

I've that when I replay a level, sometimes one of the enemies will an unusual amount of shields - one enemy had 8 shields in total (this was on chapter 1).

Sometimes, when I spend trophies, I get the item I paid for but the number of trophies I have doesn't change and I can't spend them.

Other than that - fun game.

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I'm not a huge fan of the art style, but I do love the gameplay idea!

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Too many bugs to spoil a fun game.

So many silly, silly issues. "Scoundrel" class can't get all the gold trophies because the -1 turn requirement leaves you with 1 turn to kill 2 enemies. And the -1 turn requirement itself is silly, because that class has the least powerful "Free" special move. (One free shuffle, which you can buy in the trophy show, is definitely not as good as one free tile swap (manipulator) and is usually not as good as "all offense").

"Trophy King" achievement appears to be unattainable. I first tried earning every trophy in a slave slot, but didn't get the award. So then I actually went back and held all 35 gold trophies at the end of the game (finishing the game without spending any), and it still didn't unlock.

The gold slave slot also didn't unlock after completing the game in the other two slots. So I'm kinda left to assume that there's some part of the game that thinks there's new levels after level 35, or that I never finished the last battle ("New" never goes away), so all this stuff that depends on "finishing the game" doesn't trigger.

Which is highly unsatisfying.

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I've got the same problem - Chapter 2 level 2 - two zombies and one turn - is there any trick to avoid it ??

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