Remember when I was talking about Mighty No. 9 and how it fails to be a Mega Man successor? I still stand strong in that statement, but there are people out there who have made fan-games because they were hardcore fans. Mega Man Unlimited, Mega Man Rock Force, and Mega Man Super Fighting Robot are very good examples of this, but that’s not why I’m here. What I’m here to talk about is one game that is a successor but isn’t trying to be. Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for the sultan of Shovelry, the duke of dirt, the one, the only….SHOVEL KNIGHT!!!!! Made by Yacht Club Games in 2014, Shovel Knight was inspired by gameplay and graphics of platformer games developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and it most certainly feels like an NES game.The music even feels like it’s from Mega Man, but I guess it’s no mere coincidence that Manami Matsumae, the original music composer for the original MEGA MAN and to some extent,(*sigh) “It’s better than nothing” Mighty No. 9, was the main music composer for Shovel Knight. By now you have probably guessed what your main weapon is: a shovel, and your most likely thinking, “Why not a sword,or a spear, or even a mace?” Well I don’t have answer for that. Now onto the game’s intricate and beautiful plot. You were once a famous adventurer, along with your love interest, Shield Knight. The two of you were known all across the Valley for your heroic adventures. Until, one day you both explored the Tower of Fate. When you both got to the pinnacle of the tower were the ancient cursed amulet resides, it takes over Shield Knight, and leaves you outside the sealed tower. Depressed, Shovel Knight gives up adventuring and goes into self-imposed exile. During his absence, the Enchantress rises, spreading evil across the land. Upon hearing that the Enchantress has unsealed the Tower of Fate, Shovel Knight begins his journey back to it, hoping to find and rescue Shield Knight. In order to do so, Shovel Knight must fight the members of “The Order of No Quarter,” who have been dispatched by the Enchantress to impede him. There are eight members of the Order; King Knight, Specter Knight, Plague Knight, Treasure Knight, Mole Knight, Polar Knight, Propeller Knight, and Tinker Knight. Furthermore, Shovel Knight’s rival, Black Knight, attempts to keep Shovel Knight from reaching the tower, despite the fact that he does not answer to the Enchantress, for some unexplained reason. Once you defeat each member of the Order, Shovel Knight reaches the Tower of Fate, where he faces Black Knight, who is now stronger than the past few encounters due to the Enchantress blasting him with a small dose of her powers to charge him up. After the fight, it is revealed that the Enchantress is actually a dark spirit inhabiting the amulet that cursed Shield Knight, possessing her body, and Black Knight, who held romantic feelings for Shield Knight but lost her hand to Shovel Knight, had been protecting her in an effort to keep Shovel Knight from harming her. While ascending the tower, Shovel Knight unwittingly falls into the midst of The Order of No Quarter as they eat dinner,(*or to quote King Knight’s words: Sumptuous Supper) and they all demand a rematch, and Shovel Knight duels each knight one by one atop the banqueting table. Afterwards you have the option to pull them back up if you choose. Reaching the top, Shovel Knight fights the Enchantress and manages to exorcise the evil spirit and free Shield Knight. After being separated from Shield Knight, the Enchantress transforms into a powerful specter, known as the Remnant of Fate, which the couple defeat together. In a desperate maneuver, the Remnant of Fate attempt to kill our two heroes, but Shield Knight holds the attack at bay while Black Knight, due to Shield Knights request, carries an unconscious Shovel Knight out of the collapsing tower. As for if Shield Knight made it out alive, I cannot say. If you want to know, if your wonder grows too great, then play the game. That’s it for the plot, now let’s look at the game mechanics, and see what Tinker Knight has to say. Speaking of which, let’s start with Tinker Knight’s stage: Clockwork Tower. The major gimmicks here are conveyor belts, piston platforms, rotating cylindrical platforms which cause you to fall off if you stay still on them too long, gears,and auto-scroll sections,but unlike Mighty No. 9, if you die, it’s not because the stage is too hard, it’s because it’s supposed to be challenging. Also, Tinker Knight is a bit of a special boss fight, due to the fact he has two phases. His first phase he uses his signature weapon of choice: the wrench. Second phase,however, is much different. Tinker-Bot, Tinker Tank, Tinker-Mech...this thing has so many names by fans. This boss battle is so complex, I’m going to suggest you look it up on youtube. Problems in this stage are nearly nonexistent, unless you count the two auto-scroll segments, but they aren’t as dumb as Mighty No. 9’s versions.
Ok we’ve covered the schemer, now let’s cover the “Gyroscopic Jester”: Propeller Knight and his stage: Flying Machine. The major gimmicks here include a lot of platforming, cannonballs you have to use to jump over large gaps, air current push sections, a ton aerial enemies which can either cause you to move backwards or cause you to mess up a jump. One word of advice for this stage: patience and timing are key. If you don’t have those, this stage will tear you apart. Same goes for Propeller Knights battle. His signature weapon is a rapier. He can fly, hit quick and hard, and destroy parts of the arena,(*via a second airship’s cannonballs) and “propel” you straight into the pits. This stage is hard, but once you beat it you then realize that you never have to go back. Polar Knight is next and the stage: Stranded Ship; is a cold-breather. Gimmick-wise, we’ve got moving platforms with ice physics, snow spike covers which kinda help, and weird bird statues that spew rainbow puke paths when they are struck,(*no, I’m not making that up). Polar Knights weapon of choice is a snow shovel, and his battle is hard to describe. It’s like it seems bad but isn’t at the same time. I think the video speaks for itself. From extreme cold to boiling hot, we talk about Mole Knight and his level: Lost City. Gimmicks here seem to include lava, slime for bouncing on and somehow turning lava to slime to bounce on for a few seconds, giant beetle rides, exploding rocks, and moving platforms. Mole Knight is unique in the fact that his claws, tectonic temper and digging skills are his weapon of choice, and despite him being a bit “well-rounded”, he’s actually kind of fast, and his stage is definitely worth a replay or two. Treasure Knight’s level: Iron Whale, has surfaced and the gimmicks come off obvious. Water physics, bubble platforms, torpedo platforms, and octopus tentacles. Treasure Knights battle is...a bit weird to say the least. His weapon is an anchor....on a chain….that he shoots….from his right arm….(*sigh....I get that he is based on an underwater welder, but really….) Ok you’re probably wondering “Why is he called Treasure Knight if doesn’t attack you with money” oh yes he does...and not in the good way. He’s called Treasure Knight because of his insatiable greed. In fact one of his attacks involves him placing a treasure chest in the room and when it opens, it sucks you in and takes about 500 gold from you…. I don’t like this guy….who’s next?Anyone else coughing in here? I thinks it’s because it’s Plague Knight’s turn, and his stage is called the “Explodatorium” Don’t worry Call of Duty fans, there is no bomb that needs to be defused, and there is no timer. This stage is somewhat divided into two segments. One part being speed based and the other being timing based. Plague Knight’s signature weapon is potion bombs. I guess that whatever is in those flasks is volatile as all get out. Specter Knight has risen from his grave, and his level: The Lich Yard, and the gimmicks here are dark rooms with little lighting and weighted sinking/rising platforms. Specter Knight’s signature weapon is the scythe(*go figure), and he is the only boss who summons enemies to help him, plus the level feels great, so it is replayable. Final stage is Pridemoor Keep, and King Knight is the boss of this stage. Stage hazards are as follows: Pots of hot lava, Magic book platforms, and “Extremely” faulty chandeliers. King Knight, “who is not even a king to begin with,” doesn’t hesitate to use king-like tactics to hurt you. From slamming the ground to make you kneel so he can “knight” you, to actually using king fanfare horns to shoot confetti that hurts you, this guy has the best themed fight I’ve ever seen. Overall, this game is extremely fun to play and a bit addicting at times. I am Bryant Spears, this has been Mega Monday’s review of Shovel Knight, and it just goes to show that if you’re digging for gold and keep getting pyrite, dig a bit deeper.