Crypt of the NecroDancer (PC) (2015)

Overview: An action-RPG, rogue-like rhythm game. Enemies move and attack to the beat of the track. Evade them and attack to the beat as well. Unlock items, spells, and weapons to assist your progress. Unlock characters for a variety of gameplay.

20181219 AM Hours:
I played this to try a game on Steam Link. Unfortunately, it was late at night, I didn't want to turn the volume up, and I was sleepy.

Setup: Xbox One Controller.

The protagonist Cadence

Steam Game Time: 19 minutes

20181219:
Today I just decided to play the game on my computer. Was beginning to get the hang of it, especially when to just give up the combo. Before I would try to always move but I feel like that's the wrong move.

Setup: Keyboard.

Steam Game Time: 48 minutes (total game time) / 29 minutes (session game time)

20181219 Evening:
As I played more, I became more experienced on how certain enemies moved and how to deal with them. In part, the game also got easier as I understood how to use the various items.

The game has a lot to offer and I'm curious about playing the game with a dance pad. I have a dance pad for the Playstation, so maybe I'll just buy a converter.

Cadence strikes an enemy on the beat.

Gameplay Log:
I completed the first zone and began tackling the second zone.
I took a detour from the main story and played through the codex levels: "Dragon Lore," "Trap Lore," "Bomb Lore," and "How to Get Away with Murder." They revealed intricate aspects about the game.
The whip is difficult to use. I wish I could practice with it. Is there a weapons master to be unlocked? [20181223: Yes, today I unlocked him.]

Steam Game Time: 2.7 hours (total game time) / 1.9 hours (session game time)

20181220:
Okay, so I'm back for more, because this game is fun!

Gameplay Log:
How to use this drum? "Stand still, increased damage" In hindsight, perhaps I activate it and I'll increase my damage but am forced to stand still...

Expecting to fight Dead Ringer for the first time, I was instead placed in this room with four enemies. I died.

Nooo! I got to the Zone 2 boss but definitely panicked. I even had the "Horizontal Fire Blast" spell that would have cleared an entire part of the conga line.
I got this item from the shop that digs as I moved. I was so excited about using it to clear walls that I sort of didn't think about how to use it strategically. I quickly screwed myself to 0 health.
Lol. After a run I decided to watch a replay. For whatever reason, one of the moves was off and the game proceeded to replay the rest of the actions in the current map. This makes for a bugged replay which plays out events different than actually happened.

Steam Game Time: 3.8 hours (total game time) / 1.1 hours (session game time)

20181222:
Back!!!

Gameplay Log:
Looked up difference between Longsword and Spear. Saw some facts on other weapons as well.
Looked up what the two drums do (War Drum and Blood Drum)
Read about Shrine of Darkness.
Lol. I was having a decent run but ruined it because I kept confusing my Long Sword for a Broadsword.


Learn the intricacies behind fighting Dragons in "Dragon Lore" (using the character Bard)

Some Things I Learned (Organically):
Prior to today, I learned to use bombs to blow up walls and get gold. Sometimes the mushrooms (Zone 2) will explode on their own. Actually, the mushrooms is how I first learned about blowing up the gold walls for gold.
Can kite dragon one space at a time vertically for easy kill.
The minotaur will begin charging and stumble when he reaches something. I still do not, however, have a good strategy for defeating him (at least not with every weapon).

Still Mysterious on How:
How to kill dragon in a small room with no bomb.

My Favorite Weapon:
1) The long sword. I like the distance. It's straight-forward to use - like literally "straight" "forward."
2) Spear. Distance is also good but only strikes one. Maybe in this case I should try the arrow.
3) The flail is useful with big enemies like the minotaur and dragons, due to the knockback. However, I have less intuition with it on little enemies.

Steam Game Time: 6.1 hours (total game time) / 2.3 hours (session game time)


Boss Stage: Deep Blues 3

20181223:
Playing as Bard gives a strong understanding of enemy behavior.

Gameplay Log:
After a couple plays, I beat Zone 2 with Cadence.
Decided to play Bard (only Zone 1 is available, but all other shop-related business is same).
Unlocked Weapon Master (with Bard). It's so much easier to get gold multiplier going with Bard.
Unlocked the Diamond Dealer (with Bard).
Completed Zone 3 with Bard.

Steam Game Time: 9.2 hours (total game time) / 3.1 hours (session game time)

20181225:
Today I played more, but my attempt to play Zone 4 with Cadence was met with the realization that this might be hard. Interestingly, I reached the boss level for it (Dead Ringer) and was able to practice against him via the Bossmaster. However, even that was difficult!

Boss Stage: Dead Ringer

Gameplay Log:
Completed Zone 3 with Cadence.
Read about Boots of Pain: Deal 3 Normal damage to an enemy or container upon moving directly towards it. (Take 1.5 damage when picked up)
Read about Ring of Gold: WTF. Enemies only drop 1 additional gold. Maybe it adds up... But... seems like a waste.
Read about Heavy Plate and Obsidian Armor.
Completed Zone 4 with Bard. 44 Diamonds. Buy a bunch for Cadence.
That run I barely made it to the start of the last zone. Couldn't even make it past the little room to the boss. There were four enemies there.
Completed Zone 1 with Dove. No boss to fight. Tough though. Also Shop offers two items for free, but only take one.
Holy crap. Playing Monk is not intuitive. Wanna grab that gold!
After many tries, I finally defeated Dead Ringer. I initially fought him (in practice mode) with the dagger. Then I tried many times with the arrow. Then I tried the flail (which was promising). Then I went back to the arrow (which doesn't knock away dissuade Dead Ringer in any way). I began to suspect how to defeat him. With the flail, I almost got him to where I wanted except he was only dashing horizontally. After some more tries, I was able to get him to do what I wanted.


Winged Boots! (Immunity to all traps and floor hazards.)

Having discovered how to defeat Dead Ringer on my own, I allowed myself to read on some alternate strategies. On the Wiki, I found a link to a YouTube video explaining how to defeat Dead Ringer. In particular, there are two methods depending on if Dead Ringer starts on the left or right. If he starts on the left, the player can get Dead Ringer to destroy the bells. If he starts on the right, the player rings the two left bells while he rings the two right bells, and then line up for the center.
Apparently these knights are hard to fight with a flail.
Noooo!!! I defeated the Dead Ringer, got to the cutscene, and, after the cutscene, the game froze. [Technically, it just went black.*]

Steam Game Time: 16.9 hours (total game time) / 7.7 hours (session game time)

*I learned the next day that pressing up+down together will allow the player to continue.

20181226:
Unsatisfied with having gotten so far, I played some more to complete Zone 4.

Gameplay Log:
I tried again and got to Dead Ringer once. Died.

The Monstrous Shopkeeper (apparently he's rare) took me by surprise and killed me.

Got to Dead Ringer and defeated him! But the screen went black after the cutscene like before. This time I searched for it and found this Steam thread. One of the comments said to press up+down together. In my head, I thought such a solution sounded ridiculous, but I tried it anyways. And it worked! Oh my goodness.
Got pretty far with the NecroDancer. I did about three damage to him. Haha.
So NecroDancer was easier than Dead Ringer (I defeated him on my second try in Practice Mode).
Encountered Blunderbuss in the shop for the first time. Unfortunately, I was unable to use it efficiently (and died).
Beat Zone 4 with Cadence (i.e., defeated NecroDancer); this was my second run after my first encounter with him. As before I had to press up+down. I also had to press up+down after the credits. In any case, I think the Titanium Bow (6 diamonds from the Diamond Dealer) combined with the Potion (must be found) are the two most important items on this run. Two incredibly helpful items are Monocle and the Winged Boots. Useful, but unnecessary items, are food, backpack, Scroll of Need, and Riches scroll.

Steam Game Time: 19.3 hours (total game time) / 2.4 hours (session game time)

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ Neat combination of genres

Level Selection

+ Tons of replayability; many hours of gameplay
+ Progress is made at a steady pace
+ Great soundtrack and sound
+ Good story

Minor Cons:
- Game takes a while to load.
- I encountered a bug where the screen goes black after a cutscene; the solution is to press up+down together.

Summary:
I'm not sure what it was, but something about Crypt of the NecroDancer caught and grasped my attention. In fact, I put a total of nearly 17 hours into the game! As a reference, I've only put more than 15 hours of gameplay into about 30 Steam games (which is approximately less than 7 percent of all Steam games I've played).

Boss Stage: King Conga

If I were to form my own top twenty favorite games list, Crypt of the NecroDancer would easily be in the running.

I'll have to eventually get a dance pad and play the game that way. Regardless, I highly recommend the game to anybody who enjoys rogue-like games.

Crypt of the NecroDancer (PC) (2015)

Relevant Links:
Crypt of the NecroDancer Page (Brace Yourself Games Website)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Wikipedia.org)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (PC) (MetaCritic.com)
Crypt of the NecroDancer (Steam Store Page)

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