I enjoy games that do hack and slash well. If a battle against a horde of beasties is imminent, there is nothing I like better than having my hero wield some ridiculously huge scythe and make mincemeat out of them. A little magic on my hero’s side doesn’t hurt either. It’s like pepper in the sauce. These elements are the essence of Namco’s Knight’s Contract, which could be why I like this game.
Now Knight’s Contract isn’t solely about carnage. There is a story behind the mayhem. The protagonist is Heinrich, a huge brute of a guy from the Middle Ages, who once made his living as a witch hunter/executioner. However, after he executed the witch Gretchen, under the orders of Dr. Faust (hee, hee!), Gretchen returned to put a curse of immortality on the big galoot.
Cut to present day, where Fausty, the mad scientist, has decided to unleash hordes of beasties upon the world. Gretchen is having none of it and decides to cut this guy down. To accomplish this, she enlists Heinrich to aid her in her quest. If they succeed, the curse of immortality under which he suffers will be lifted off his broad shoulders and all will be right with the world.
So off they go to battle witches and black knights and large rabid dogs. Here’s the thing. Early in the game, Gretchen magically binds herself to Heinrich so he can use her magic. This also means they depend on each other to heal. Although Heinrich is immortal, he is fairly useless without her. If she loses strength, he must carry her around for a few seconds to revive her. This makes for some challenging gameplay. If you are in the middle of carving up a tree beastie and another of the monsters has Gretchen in its claws, you have to finish what you’re doing lickety-split if you have any hopes of continuing on to the next exciting part of the story.