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Vucious Creed

Rosenkreuzstilette is another one of those Megaman clones that is very well-known; over a decade old by the time of this writing, even. Aside from the “questionable” German and its choice to mostly use females of the Japanese cartoon art style (or if you want to be blatant about it, “anime waifus”), it draws many aspects from not only Megaman, but also from other games as well. The question is how well do these references hold up in gameplay?

Let’s start as I usually do in these reviews and look at RKS’s physics. The overall movement is pretty good. No real notable detractions from walking speed, jump height, and sliding. However, it is worth noting that when sliding, you can actually chain slides together continuously by rhythmically doing the slide command quick enough. (Note that this is opposed to flat-out mashing in which input timing is affected and you might not get smooth continuous slides.) Also, the music in the game is some of the nicest that I heard fitting with the general atmosphere of the game, so no issues there. The weapons are not that inspirational as all of them have a similarity to a weapon from previous Megaman games, but they aren’t all that bad, either. They don’t feel too strong or too weak unless with a given condition (such as the Grollschwert, Grolla’s weapon, which gets stronger as you reach lower health, for example). You can also charge a few of them, akin to the Megaman X series, which makes these weapons stronger at the cost of more weapon energy. That said, the fact that the weapons are not too dissimilar from those you’ve seen in older Megaman titles starts to bring up quite an issue that hangs over this game.

Let’s not beat around the bush on the matter; RKS is unoriginal. As I stated in the beginning, the game VERY heavily borrows stuff from not only Megaman. It also draws influence from games like Castlevania, Ghouls and Ghost, Mario and even Bomberman. However, here’s where the line divides, and they are divided into two camps. In one camp, you get the thought of blatant laziness as there is no sense of uniqueness by overusing designs from other games, and not all of them being good designs. While in the other camp, you get the thought of an homage that uses these references in a sort of parody and/or “love letter” to the franchises the game chose to emulate (with Megaman being the obvious base) and sees the design as a rekindling of old challenges. With these camps laid out, which camp do I side on? Well, I mostly agree with the latter, to a point.

When I play this game, while I do see the clear lack of originality, it’s presented in such a way that I get the impression that it wanted to remind some players as to why playing these games were fun in the first place (“some” being the keyword as others will naturally disagree). It can be assumed that this is why it’s so reference-heavy in its gameplay design to basically parody levels and was originally meant to be thought as such. Stages like Luste’s (Air with a shade of Elec), Sichte’s (Toad with a shade of Flash), Zorne’s (Heat with a shade of Skull) and even a few of the final palace stages are not that bad structurally even though they have strong influences from prior Megaman games. Even Schwer’s stage, which is our resident troll level designed partially after Metal, has a shade of humor with some of the stage’s traps (granted that the 3-way split path towards the end is a bit jerk-ish despite the tell being obvious if one takes a closer look). However, I can also see where the other camp is coming from as there are some level design aspects that could either be better or plainly could live without (such as the force beam segments in Freudia’s stage, just to point out an obvious example). This also extends to the bosses as some are fairly blatant copies (Liebea “Toad” Palesch and Luste “Metal” Teuber), but also tries to add some extra wrinkles to make old experiences a little less stale (the reverse-gravity “overdrive mode” with the Deviled Egg), and even tries to make a few unique boss experiences as well (mostly with Grolla and Freudia). Speaking of bosses, as far as fairness goes, it’s a mixed bag. Some bosses aren’t as bad as advertised since some are decently structured and can be learned well enough, but others can be downright nasty and/or a bit scatter-minded with randomness. Though, I will admit that the variety in the normal enemy department, unique or not, is a bit lacking.

With the “originality” issue mostly discussed, let’s talk replay value. Before the Steam release, there wasn’t too much in terms of such value. All you really had were just the “Arcade” and “Story” modes. (I will say that the story mode is actually pretty good compared to “stories” in most Megaman games and adds quite a bit of depth to the game’s characters. Although, just how “anime” the story gets from being full-blown anime is subject to interpretation.) It also included a mode to play as a second hidden character. By the post-Steam release, the game added other modes such as an OHKO mode (called Sterblich Mode), a debug mode, an easy mode and adds harder versions of a few stages. The post-Steam release also has a set of achievements to collect; though, the number of achievements is rather small, so achievement hunting isn’t long-lasting. So, compared to older versions of RKS, the replay value is notably higher in the Steam release, but there are games that still excel slightly better in that department.

In closing, I feel that I need to say that Rosenkreuzstilette is still one of my favorite Megaman clones, and I truly believe that it deserves a fair chance. However, how much of a chance still depends on which side of the aforementioned two camps you’re on. If you lean towards the camp that believes that the game is a wholly lazy effort, then it’s hard to recommend this game as it’s hard to ignore the obvious parallels in the game’s borrowed level structures, especially if one sees them as terribly designed. As for the people on the camp that feels like this is a harmless homage, then yes, I do recommend RKS stating that despite the design of the game, they feel like references that remind a player as to why they play Megaman games in the first place (plus some help from other game sources) with a bit of extra bit of restructured platforming challenge included. It’s basically a matter of perspective on which side one chooses. It’s just that my experience and perspective while playing RKS were quite positive; as such, I’ll rate it accordingly while noting that originality, whether one cares for it or not, still remains a divisive issue.

Game Rating
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Rosenkreuzstilette reminds me a lot of a Mega Man x Touhou crossover, MegaMari – 魔理沙の野望 (Marisa’s Ambition). However, if I had a choice, I’d rather prefer MegaMari over Rosenetwasetwasscheiße.

MegaMari isn’t just a Mega Man 2 clone with pretty anime girls slapped on. It has distinct elements that seperates it from the game whose title it’s parodied; wonderfully unique weaponry, two different playable characters, elements from the Touhou series such as the ever lauded bullet hell, etc. Not only that, but it’s also made by Tasofro, the people behind Immaterial and Missing Power and Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, two of the main line Touhou games, and is heavily rooted in the culture of both the Touhou fanbase and the Doujin soft community.

Rosenkreuzstilette is not any of those. From what I could tell, it was made simply to ride off the coat tails of the Rockman Doujin soft wave of the mid 2000s that was mainly kicked off by MegaMari; thus, we got ourselves a game that, while not bad, is not good, either. It’s more or less an arranged version of Mega Man 2, only with big boobed anime women: amazingly awful for your cousin’s waifu addiction, and unbelievably dull for anything else.

My advice? Go play MegaMari instead; not only is it made by people who know what they were making besides Mega Man 2 for Windows 2000 and XP, it’s a lot more interesting than stillettos of a rose cross.

Seriously, go play MegaMari, it’s great for both Touhou fans and Mega Man fans alike.

Game Rating