A 2D retro style side-scrolling shoot-em-up, Gryphon Knight Epic would feel perfectly at home on the old 16bit Sega and Nintendo consoles. The graphics are good for an old style game showcasing good background detail and the various enemies are very unique such as flying eyeballs!
The audio is reminiscent of a Zelda game with its similar style and soundtrack. For obvious reasons thats where any similarities end for Gryphon Knight Epic is more akin to the retro game R-Type than an RPG classic.
The story starts with a dragon invading the kingdom. The princess is now missing and our knight in shinning armor Sir Oliver rescues her. They fall madly in love. Years pass and Sir Oliver is now a simple civilian living the normal everyday life. That is until… the princess asks him to fetch something for dinner. Sir Oliver then goes through a simple tutorial style play-through shooting dummies etc. until he meets his evil alter ego. Something I hadn’t mentioned was after defeating the dragon the heroes took treasures rewarded to them. Our hero Sir Oliver having saved the princess was the last to arrive at the treasure trove and had no choice but to take a trinket. As it turns out this had a curse which made him split into two. The two being his now self the good side of his personality and the evil version being his bad side. So they do a mini battle which you the good side are expected to lose. Saved by the guards you then start the main quest of reaching out to the heroes of whom collected treasure trinkets to save them from the evil perils bestowed upon them.. Sounds like an RPG at this point doesn’t it, but the game is a simple 2D side scrolling shooter with an interesting storyline.
Coins and gems are awarded randomly upon killing enemies/foes. Not all kills gain a reward but when they do the coins etc add up and amount to serious money. This money is then useful with regard to upgrades and new purchases. Within the Market menu, the hub of buying new perks is the ability to purchase health vials, and squires.. Squires are like a buddy system whereby you have like a little fairy doing good helping you along the way such as acting as a shield to reduce the hit-points against you.
The wizards shop is used for the upgrade of weapons and equipping/changing the currently active squire and potions. Both the market and wizards shop are available from the map menu. Simply pause and return to map to instantly buy new upgrades. You’ll be given the choice upon rejoining the location you left prior to going to the map view with the option of starting the stage again or continuing from a checkpoint location.
The games difficulty can be challenging to say the least. Squire being the easiest is very easy especially on bosses. They can be defeated with hardly any effort. The problem therefore is that the normal difficulty (Knight) can be very unforgiving especially in boss battles. Health depletes very fast whilst Sir Oliver barely inflicts any damage upon the enemy boss. Dying replenishes health but you must start the battle over again. There’s no mid boss checkpoint. Die too many times and you’ll need to restart the entire stage. Sometimes dropping down to easy to defeat the boss and moving on is the simpler choice compared to being completely stuck and not progress. Lord knows how difficult the hardest setting of Epic will be. Maybe in time I’ll give it a go myself for though Gryphon Knight Epic can be challenging it is still a fun game to play.
Each stage is met with waves of enemies. Sometimes a simple few then as you progress through the stage there can be too many to avoid any damage. Movement and shooting speed is of the upmost importance in this game. I’m constantly hammering the SPACE bar to switch direction on the spot. Primary fire is the left mouse button and secondary fire is the right mouse button. New weapons are provided along the way as you release heroes from the evil befell upon them.
The game is in a constant state of moving forward however you can flip direction and cover ground you have previous traveled from. This is sometimes necessary to collect the gem you missed however they do disappear if you take too long to collect them. Although the game is constantly moving forward that is not to say you simply travel left and right. Your often required to travel up and down just as much as the typical left and right routine.
Gryphon Knight Epic is a fun game, though often very repetitive. Mostly enjoyable in short bursts rather than long play sessions. A fast action side scrolling style game provides simplistic controls and gameplay with a challenging and often difficult quest to survive the stages without falling to an eventual death.