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Video Game / Crimsonland

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Crimsonland is a top-down Action Game, where you maneouver around a featureless plain killing aliens, zombies and other nasty things as they wander onto or teleport into the screen, and your goal is to survive. To help you, powerups occasionally spawn from slain enemies: they either give you some kind of bonus (slow motion, freeze, and so on) or a new weapon (shotgun, plasma minigun, ion rifle, etc). As you kill monsters, gain XP, and level up, you are granted "perks" that may be beneficial, or may involve some kind of tradeoff for a benefit. "Long Distance Runner," for instance, lets you run faster if you keep moving. "Death Clock" makes you invincible, but you drop dead in 30 seconds.

The initial version of the game was a strictly PC shareware game, and it came out on all the way in 2003. However, an significantly updated, commercial version of the game was eventually released more than a decade later, and was ported to all the major platforms since then: Playstation 4, PlayStation Vita and mobile platforms in 2014, Playstation 3 and Xbox One in 2015, and Nintendo Switch in 2017.

The full version now includes four game modes, one of which is a secret end-game mode.

  • In Quest mode, you are required to kill a certain number of bad guys (and any that dynamically spawn from spawn points) who come at you in some kind of pattern. In one quest, you may have dopey aliens wandering around in squads. In another, you may fight plasma-breathing spiders while tiny little spiders harass you. In another, every monster might be invisible. Finishing a quest unlocks a perk or weapon.
  • In Survival mode, your only goal is to stay alive as long as possible, claiming the highest score possible. The difficulty of doing so increases substantially, until eventually even the common monsters are Made of Iron.
  • In Rush mode, you are given an assault rifle—that's it. Stay alive as long as you can. Infinite ammo, but even more monsters.
  • In the last mode, you kill monsters by typing words!

To give the game a little added longevity, it tracks high scores, both locally and on the internet.

Crimsonland is awash in:

  • Abnormal Ammo: One powerup loads your gun with Fire Bullets. They HURT.
  • Alien Blood: Averted. Every creature has red blood. After all, it's right in the title of the game.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: While weapons are dropped randomly, the first enemy that you kill is guaranteed to drop a weapon, meaning you won't have to rely on the pistol for too long.
  • Armored But Frail: The Highlander perk makes you No-Sell 95% of attacks that hit you. The other 5% however will instantly kill you.
  • Asteroids Monster: The aptly named Spideroids. Killing one splits it into two smaller spiders, who split into two more even smaller spiders when killed, and so on. The cycle continues for several more steps, to the point where trying to kill just two big ones can quickly lead to being overwhelmed by an entire screen of miniature spiders.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Many guns are powerful but have ridiculous reload times. There are perks to help with this.
    • The Mean Minigun has an impressive rate of fire and an extremely large clip size, but it also reloads rather slowly and slows down your movement in a game in which running is crucial. However, it's rather useful in Weapon Picker mode, in which all guns come with a single clip of ammo and cannot be reloaded. Not only is the long reload time not a factor, but you'll get more mileage out of the Mean Minigun than you would with many others.
    • Special mention goes to the Splitter gun, which is available after beating every single level on Hardcore mode. When the bullet strikes a mook, the bullet splits in two, then those bullets can split again and again and again by striking additional mooks. The drawback is that the bullets from this Splitter can hurt your character, and with swarms of monsters in Survival mode, the game becomes a literal Bullet Hell. The gun does decent damage, but also has a so-so fire rate, poor clip size and slow reload speed. This gun is really useful, though, when picked mid-to-late-game, coupled with powerups and invincibility, it can take care even of those Made of Diamond mooks.
    • The Plasma Cannon. The awesome part is the fact that when its bullets strike enemies, they do a fair amount of damage, create a large shockwave and shoot additional plasma bullets outward. The impractical part is the slow fire rate, small clip size and slow reloading.
    • The Ion Cannon does a lot of damage, and has the largest chain range of all the Ion family of weapons, making it very effective against clumps of enemies. However, it has the same drawbacks as the Plasma Cannon.
    • Mini Rocket Swarmers. Every shot fires six homing rockets that do a good amount of damage, and are effective against the boss monsters in Quest Mode. However, the homing feature can be rather unreliable, and isn't of much use later in the game, when it's virtually impossible to hit the hordes of monsters. You also have to reload after every shot, which might not be a bad thing if you have reload-related perks, but in Weapon Picker mode, it means you only get one shot before you have to find a new weapon; even the Plasma and Ion cannons are more practical in that mode.
  • BFG: Anything with "cannon" in the name. The miniguns probably count, too, and some of the special shotguns are close.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Powerups and perks that increase running speed aren't terribly flashy, but they can help you get away from monsters and pick up powerups if you don't have the Telekinesis perk (another rather practical perk). In Nukefism mode, the speed powerup is especially useful, since it helps you collect the powerups that are the only way to defeat monsters, and chaining speed powerups will help increase your survivability.
    • Both ranks of the Regenerating Health perk replenish your health at slow but steady rates, which helps keep you in the game for longer. They can also offset the effects of the Infernal Contract and Breathing Room perks, both of which have an HP to One drawback, as well as Thick Skinned, which reduces the player's health by 33%. Even better, if you have a shield up(whether from a powerup or from gaining a level) or have frozen all the enemies, you'll regain your health while the monsters are unable to damage you.
    • Anything that increases your clip size or decreases your reload time can help you spend more time firing, and thus give you a better chance at keeping the hordes of enemies at bay.
    • Weapons with bullets aren't as flashy as their Ion, Plasma or Gauss equivalents, or the more exotic guns, but they're rather reliable, with decent reload times, good clip size and reasonable damage output. They're even more useful if you get the Uranium-Filled Bullets perk, which causes them to do more damage.
    • The Perk Expert and Perk Master perks give you an extra Perk per level and allow you to gain levels more quickly. They don't have immediate effects, but they can help you get more perks and make it more likely for you to be offered the ones you want.
  • Cast from Experience Points: One of the perks you can choose lets you shoot your gun with an empty clip, at the cost of a hefty amounts of points for every shot. (Your score determines when you level up.)
  • Cast from Hit Points: One perk turns your HP into ammo when you are reloading, so that you can keep firing at the cost of some HP. One other perk does this with your *XP*.
  • Deadly Upgrade: You can activate the Death Clock perk which doubles your score for 30 seconds...after which you die.
  • Deflector Shields:
    • The player can get one if they pick up a Shield powerup, as well as after they level up.
    • Some enemies can use them. The good news is they can't attack while shielded. The bad news is that they can't be damaged or frozen, either.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Infernal Contract perk reduces your health by 99 percent, but gives you three additional Perks. If you play well or pick Perks that restore your health, you can easily offset the risk.
  • Disc-One Nuke: You could very well get Bonus Magnet, Bonus Economist, and Telekinesis as your first three perks. This makes most levels and early Survival relatively easy. In a different sense, once you've unlocked them there's always a chance your first weapon could be a BFG.
  • Emergency Energy Tank: The Bandage. Pick this perk and you regain full HP (contradicting its own description). Once (unless it's the Switch version).
  • Endless Game: Survival Mode and its variants go on forever until The Reaper Gets You.
  • Giant Spider: One of the enemy types are spiders. They can come in variants that fire projectiles at you, and other variants are Asteroids Monsters.
  • Gorn: Enemies leave a bloody mess behind when killed, and when there's hordes of them dying all over, they'll turn the area into a crimson land.
  • Grim Reaper: The Reaper Got You...
  • Harmless Freezing: The Freeze powerup will trap all enemies on the screen in ice, immobilizing them. While this doesn't hurt them, it makes them easy pickings for your weapon as well as giving you a breather.
  • HP to One: Some of the Perks will give you a massive bonusnote ... at the cost of removing 99% of your current HP, putting you in dire straits once your shield from the level-up expires. Make sure you have a shield, freeze powerup or a health pickup nearby, or have the Regenerating Health perk.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: You can carry at most two guns, and you need a perk to do that. There's nothing stopping you from taking two Cannons, though, and your character is never shown actually carrying the other one.
  • Joke Item: The Blowtorch. It's a flamethrower with a range about as long as your nose. It's actually fairly strong, but the range is so short that it's nearly impossible to use well. There's even an achievement for getting 50 Blowtorches.
  • Little Useless Gun: The pistol, the player's starting weapon, is worse than practically every other gun besides the Blowtorch.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Nukefism prevents you from using guns, and limits you to the items that spawn on the ground. Your success or failure will depend on where the items spawn, whether you can get the right ones you need (particularly speed, which is useful for grabbing the others), and sometimes, whether you can use them effectively (for example, whether the shock chain goes into a large group of enemies or flies off into the distance).
  • Ludicrous Gibs: A low-key example, given that it's all just blood. Although the game does earn its name by the end of a round. Blood and enemy corpses do not disappear. Ever.
  • Meta Power-Up: "Perk Expert" gives you a fifth Perk to choose from at levelup, and "Perk Master" gives you a sixth Perk.
  • Mini-Game: AlienZooKeeper. There's also Gembine, which is unlocked by entering a code in the credits scene.
  • Mook Maker: Those stationary spawner-things, officially called Nests. They come in a few different varieties, each with a few types of enemies.
  • More Dakka: Fast-firing guns are a key to surviving. There are perks and powerups that do nothing but make your guns shoot faster.
  • Non-Indicative Name; "Random Weapon" allows you to choose a specific weapon out of all the weapons you have unlocked.
  • Not Completely Useless:
    • Even the Blowtorch has its uses. Try it on things that can't move. It also gets a bit more useful if you take the Pyromaniac perk, which significantly increases its range.
    • In most cases, the perks that kill you- Grim Deal and Death Clock- are rather useless, but if you're about to die anyway, then getting a significant increase to your score or 30 seconds to kill as many foes as you can is the best way to use your remaining time to increase your score.
    • Fatal Lottery is a good choice for a first-level perk. If you win, you get multiple levels. If you lose, you won't waste much time by dying.
    • Eagle Eye merely gives you a wider view of the area, while zooming out and making things harder to see, but if you have the Telekinesis perk, Eagle Eye greatly widens the area in which you can grab items.
  • Numerical Hard: Combined with Difficulty by Acceleration in Survival Mode — as time goes on, the mooks get tougher to destroy, move faster, and spawn much more often.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Highlander causes your character to have a 5% chance of dying instantly from any attack, or otherwise not taking any damage.
  • Power-Up Letdown:
    • Some perks are... we'll say "extremely situational." This mostly applies to ones that either put you in a near-death state, or change the conditions for dying—like Death Clock. Like most of the game's perks, though, they're Not Completely Useless.
    • Running over a weapon that doesn't suit your perks can cause this. Between the ability to pick up stuff by pointing at it (yes, it's a perk) and the hordes of monsters, it's sometimes very easy to grab that Pistol by accident. There's a perk to keep this from happening, though- My Favorite Weapon increases the clip size to your current gun while removing all other random weapons.
    • Freeze is like this sometimes, too. If you're trying to beat a level quickly, the last thing you want is bad guys frozen offscreen.
    • Fatal Lottery is a perk that lets you gamble a bit: 50% chance you get 50k XP, which is almost guaranteed to get you at least one (if not several) levels up. What happens if you don't get that? You die.
    • In survival, there are a few perks that are at least... a bit strange. There's the one where you die, but you get 66% more score (It's used to end the game with a higher score than if you got killed). Or the one where you get a nuke that blows up when you die. You will get your revenge, I promise... Both seem rather useless at first glance, but the higher your score is, the more effective they are.
    • Some perks that increase clip size can be this depending on the gun. A perk that increases your clip size by 20% isn't very useful if you're using the Plasma Cannon, which has three bullets per clip, while a clip that adds an extra bullet to the clip is laughably useless if you have the Mean Minigun, which has over 200 bullets in a clip.
  • Power-Up Food: Here, eat this bandage.
  • Randomly Drops: Weapon drops are random, so you might spend a long time looking for your favorite weapon—and if you switch away from the pistol, the drop rate for weapons decreases. If your first monster drops an SMG or Assault Rifle, you're in for a long round.
  • Regenerating Health: One of the perks gives you this. It's quite slow regeneration, but it's still much-needed health.
  • Schmuck Bait: The game will sometimes offer you Grim Deal and/or Death Clock on your first level up, both of which will kill you. Naturally, both of them are rather terrible choices, since any semi-competent player will be able to use the other perks more effectively.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Actually, averted. All the shotguns do ridiculous damage up close, but only the sawed-off is useless at long range.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The entire perk system seems to be a reference to the Fallout series. In particular, the Bloody Mess perk is a reference to the perk/trait(depending on the game) of the same name.
    • The Lifeline 50-50 perk, which removes half the monsters on the screen, is a reference to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, in which the 50-50 Lifeline removed two of the answers, giving stumped contestants a 50-50 shot at guessing the right one.
    • Highlander is a reference to the series of the same name. It renders your character a One-Hit-Point Wonder who has a 5% chance of dying from any attack.
  • Smart Bomb: There's a perk that kills everything on the screen. It costs 99% of your health. A variant removes half the enemies, but doesn't cost health or give you experience. The disease from the "Plaguebearer" perk can act this way, too, if the screen is crowded.
    • There's also the Nuke, a vicinity smart bomb powerup that explodes a considerable radius of Mooks when you touch it.
  • Sprint Shoes: The Speed powerup. Don't run out in the middle of a crowd. There is also the "Long Distance Runner" perk.
  • Standard Shooter Guns: You start with a pistol. Your first few weapons are shotguns, an SMG, an assault rifle, and a rocket launcher. The Cannons fill the "big gun" role. Guns like the ion minigun and gauss shotgun are a little more unique, and once you have everything unlocked there's no real weapon progression to speak of. Many guns have ion, plasma and/or gauss variants, or other ones that have different strengths and weaknesses.
  • Unorthodox Reload: Aside from the abovementioned perks that let you shoot away your health and experience, there is a perk that let you reload faster by pounding the mouse button, and another that makes you reload faster if you stand still. There's even a perk that makes you hate reloading so much that plasma explodes out of your body whenever you have to reload.
  • Updated Re-release: For Playstations 3, 4 and Vita with new levels, modes and perks.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The blowtorch epitomizes some of the reasons why flamethrowers are often poor weapons in video games, since it has terrible range and its damage isn't nearly high enough to make up for it.
  • Zerg Rush: In Survival mode, enemies will appear in greater and greater numbers until the entire screen can be filled with them.