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Video Game / Slain

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Slain! is a Hack and Slash Platform Game set in a fantasy world, and with a heavy metal aesthetic. The player controls Bathoryn, a Gothic hero of a bygone age, who was reawakened from his grave in order to slay Lord Vroll, a villain who has conquered the land with heinous monsters, and now has his six lords rule the corrupted lands from their six towers.

It was developed by Witch Brew Studios, got funded on Kickstarter on March 27th, 2015, and was released on PC through Steam exactly a year later.

This initial version of the game was very poorly received, mainly due to its controls; undeterred, the project head went back and spent several months working on Slain!: Back from Hell, and Updated Re-release that fixed the most important issues and was met with a much warmer reception. The Back from Hell version was then ported to PS4 on September 20th, 2016, to Xbox One on October 21st 2016, to Playstation Vita on November 22nd, 2016 and to Nintendo Switch on December 7th, 2017; the last version was unfortunately a Porting Disaster at launch.

The creators later renamed themselves to Steel Mantis, and released a 2019 sci-fi game in the same universe as Slain!, titled Valfaris.


Tropes present in this game:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Old Town Sewers Level. Even the Kickstarter description says that they were constructed "on a palatial scale".
  • Acid Attack: Spitting green-colored acid globules is the main attack of Beholders: the Mother Beholder can spit a whole burst of them. Larger demon creatures in the Bloodgrounds can sometimes spit it as well. Either way, getting killed by them completely dissolves Bathoryn, only leaving a pool of green sludge behind.
    • Thorn Beast boss also generates a rain of acidic burrs at the end of its roll attack.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Entering the Wolf Caves area requires proving yourself to the spirits of the wolf pack. This means converting Bathoryn into a huge wolf, and then having to outrun the even larger, and totally invulnerable wolf spirit through a pretty long area. On the bright side, the wolf form is so strong, it easily smashes through stone obstacles and any enemies in your way alike.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The Banshee Queen - according to the pre-stage exposition, she was a noblewoman who was tricked into damning herself and her children by Lord Vroll. Tellingly, Bathoryn respectfully asks her to let him pass instead of insulting her; when the fight ends, he urges her to fade away peacefully.
    • Hogre also counts, being bound to guard Lord Vroll's castle whether he wants to or not. Bathoryn honors him as a fellow warrior, and grants his request for a warrior's death.
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  • An Axe to Grind: An icy axe is one of Bathoryn's alternate weapons. The penultimate boss, Hogre, wields a large, two-handed axe, which he also sets on fire during his second phase.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Talisman - find all its pieces, and it turns the second stage of Vroll's boss fight into a relative cakewalk by shielding you against his fire breath. In this game's setting, one can't get more awesome than that.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Mild ones, mind you, but they're there all the same:
    • Any piece of the Talisman that you happen to find will remain in your inventory after you die, even if you haven't found a checkpoint yet.
    • There's usually a checkpoint before each boss, meaning you won't have to fight your way through the level again to reach said boss.
    • Each stage of Vroll counts as its own battle - if you beat his first stage, but lose to his second, you start the fight with his second stage fresh off.
    • The Talisman itself - after an entire game of vicious bosses, the Talisman lets you resist the fire attacks of Vroll's dragon form. It can still harm you with collision damage and its lightning breath, though; so watch out!
    • In his final stage, the only way to really cause lasting harm to Vroll is by using magic. Luckily, hitting Vroll with your sword causes him to drop lots of mana globes to replenish your magical reserves.
  • Airborne Mook: The second enemy type faced by Bathoryn are Beholders, which are large tentacled skull-like heads that fly around in circles and spit balls of green acid. They even have a boss variant, Mother Beholder: killing her leads to a remark that Beholders are Vroll's favoured pets, to the point he even names them all individually, so this is sure to upset him.
  • Big Bad: Lord Vroll, the evil tyrant who is responsible for the entire mess befelling the realm.
  • Breath Weapon: Dragon Vroll is predictably capable of breathing out fire, but he can also attack with a lightning-like beam from his mouth.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: A heroic example. As soon as Bathoryn awakens and leaves his tomb, he is greeted by Vroll himself, who acknowledges him with "Bathoryn, we meet again. It is truly an eternal war we wage." However, Bathoryn absolutely fails to recognise him at first, and considers him just another abomination in his way. Vroll teleports away, naively trusting his monsters to punish Bathoryn for his "insolence".
    • Once the player finally reaches him in time for a Final Boss fight, it is revealed that .
  • Charged Attack: The appropriately timed Brutal Attacks with Bathoryn's two-handed sword. There's also a magical variant with the Herd-Hitting Attack Mana Spirit.
  • Cool Sword: Bathoryn has or rather, is one of these. Apart from hacking through anything and everything in Lord Vroll's dark armies, it gets a couple elemental upgrades, allowing you to kill them with a fiery blade or a spectral, icy battle-axe.
  • Creepy Good: The old witch who guides Bathoryn on his quest - she's a sinister-looking hag who cackles about bones and finds mention of stormy clouds and a field thick with blood to sound quite pleasant, but she's very much invested in bringing Lord Vroll's terrifying reign to an end.
  • Critical Hit: Blocking enemy attacks at just the right time leaves them stunned, and allows Bathoryn to perform a critical strike. Besides massive damage, their brutality also pleases the Great Horned Metal God, and so restores some mana.
  • Death Seeker: Hogre may be the penultimate boss, but he's all too aware he's nothing but a pawn to Vroll, and only fights because of a spell binding him. When Bathoryn proclaims he's nothing more or less than Hogre's death, he replies that "death be welcome" for him.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: Lupus Rex literally pulses for a bit and then explodes into Pink Mist, with the entire ground getting drenched in blood as the result. Similar fate befalls Hogre, though he levitates into mid-air first.
  • Degraded Boss: Skeleton Executioner initially appears as a miniboss at the end of a stage and gets its own line of introductory narration ("The air turns foul as the Skeleton Executioner emerges!"), but soon becomes just another stronger enemy.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are a frequent foe; even in the first Bloodgrounds area you encounter the basic sword-wielders, a stronger red variant, and the spell-slinger skeletons, as well as a Skeleton Executioner miniboss. While they obviously don't bleed (unless hit by Brutal Attacks, somehow), striking them causes smaller bones to fly off them instead.
  • Dual Wielding: The first demons you face carry two sickle-like blades in their arms.
    • Lord Vroll himself fights with two cleaver-like blades permanently drenched in blood - blood that'll drip down from them even when he's passively standing still in the cutscenes! During the actual battle, he charges them with blue energy as well - then upgrades it to straight-up fire with his health halfway down!
  • Energy Ball: Bathoryn has a blue Mana Blast, which must fired from a crouching position. The spellcaster skeletons can also fire one from their hand - however, Bathoryn can block or even deflect it right back at them.
  • Spirit of Vroll can generate four purple orbs around him, which then home in on the player, as well as a larger, and equally homing, purple orb attack from its stomach.
  • Everything Fades: Averted, as the bodies of slain enemies will stay on the ground where they fell.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The Ice Beast boss of the frozen fortress area outright refers to "Death's cold grasp" and c in his pre-battle monologue.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Banshee Queen says that though Vroll has decreed Bathoryn must die, she and her lesser Banshee children will instead gorge on his soul every night in perpetuity, to make him share in their eternal torment.
  • Flash of Pain: Bathoryn's sprite pulses for a few seconds when he's hit. The enemies simply flash red.
  • Flunky Boss: Mother Beholder begins dropping red blood globules that soon hatch into small Beholders halfway through the fight. Destroying the globule first prevents this from happening.
  • Giant Mook: First, there's the larger version of werewolf-like demons, although they no longer possess any fur and so look much more demonic. Moreover, they gain the ability to spit acid, as well as instantly dig themselves into the ground to re-emerge at some other spot a bit later.
    • Then, Skeleton Executioners are much taller than normal skeletons or Bathoryn, and have great reach with their two-handed blade. Later levels also see the appearance of similarly giant skeletons who wield giant flaming swords and shields.
  • Glamour: Banshee Queen may be at least three times taller than a human, but she still seems attractive enough. However, her appearance becomes horrifically ugly whenever she does her highly damaging scream, which now emanates from a huge toothed mouth on a distorted vulpine face. The way she immediately gets back to "normal" after a scream only underscores the horror.
  • Glowing Eyes: The werewolf-like enemies in the Bloodgrounds have their eyes pulse with blue glow. Skeletons' eye sockets occasionally glow white. Hogre has a constant red glow in his eyes.
  • The Goomba: The first and weakest enemy are werewolf-like demons that can only do a short-ranged overhead swing with two sickle-like blades.
  • Graceful Loser: Vroll, when you finally vanquish him.
    Vroll: You have bested me at last, my only son. Finish now what I could not, and take my place on this blighted throne.
  • Healing Checkpoint: The checkpoints are called Beacons here, and it's outright said by the spirit that passes one restores Vitality and Mana to their fullest, and records your name in the annals of history.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: There are dark knight swordsmen encased in black armor, which predictably makes them much more resilient than the comparably-sized enemies.
  • An Ice Person: Ice Beast is a vaguely humanoid demon with a body entirely consisting of ice, and who can call down large ice orbs, as well as turn his body into an icy vortex and shoot out multiple icicles.
    • Lord Vroll is also able to generate multiple icy projectiles during his battle.
  • King Mook: The Mother Beholder is literally a larger, stronger Beholder that spits a whole burst of acid globules, and starts birthing normal Beholders halfway through.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: As it turns out, Bathoryn is the son of Lord Vroll. Bonus points for the latter being an Evil Overlord reminiscent of Darth Vader, as well as being something of a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Nintendo Hard: Great Horned Metal God, yes. Enemies that can cave huge chunks out of your health, attacks that can be tricky to parry, an overabundance of death traps, and Checkpoint Starvation mean you'll be taking a while to get through each level.
  • One-Winged Angel: Lord Vroll says he's just getting warmed up when you defeat him, and then turns into a dragon. After that, you also have to fight the jihn-like Spirit of Vroll.
  • Plant Person: The first boss is Thorn Beast, an Ent-like humanoid figure that welcomes Bathoryn's arrival in the hope of a rotting corpse to nourish its soil and fresh blood to nurture its seedlings.
  • Playing with Fire: Bathoryn eventually gains the ability to cast actual fireballs, as well as set the blade on fire.
    • Gargoyle statues and Salamanders attack by spitting out flaming skulls. Malikesh's golem is also a boss that casts flaming skulls in its second phase.
    • Lord Vroll can generate a rain of six meteors radiating from him in all directions.
    • Dragon Vroll can obviously breath fire, and also generates fireballs that can be bounced back.
  • Power Floats: The Banshee Queen floats a good meter or two off the ground at all times.
  • The Power of Rock: Bathoryn head-bangs after defeating a boss to a victory theme, supposedly in the honor of Great Horned Metal God.
  • Reluctant Hero: Bathoryn doesn't want to awaken from his tomb, telling the spirit "I gave you enough last time" and replying to "Your children need you!" with "I have no children!" The spirit ignores him and revives him regardless, trusting that he knows what must be done.
  • The Reveal: Bathoryn is not actually the name of the warrior you were playing as, but the name of sword he was wielding throughout the entire game.
  • Sequel Hook: After defeating the Final Boss, the game ends with the revelation that Bathoryn was the sentient sword, and not the human warrior you were playing as, and then it is found floating through space, until another warrior picks it up, determined to deal with some metal spire he saw "sucking life out of planets". This does tie in to Valfaris, but less prominently then you would expect. The protagonist, Therion, is another son of Vroll and Bathoryn's brother. For most of the game, Bathoryn is not wielded by him, but by Valfaris' Hogre equivalent, Furrok.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: Downplayed - Bathoryn's ice option sees an icy axe-blade forming around the sword. Other than that, though, it's a sword otherwise.
  • Shock and Awe: If Bathoryn is too far away for his axe, Hogre will call down lightning from above during his battle.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Bathoryn can fire a Mana Spirit, which functions like an explosion of mana around him, which instantly wipes out basic enemies when charged up.
    • Malikesh's golem can also punch the ground to send a shockwave rumbling along it.
    • Hogre gets both a shockwave-generating jump from one side of the screen to another in his second phase, and the ability to jump offscreen, and then last at Bathoryn's last location, with a trio of fireballs immediately preceding him.
    • Lord Vroll can slam down both swords to send a fiery meteor speeding along the ground and have icy spikes extend fromt the ground in both directions.
  • Skull for a Head: Hogre is the penultimate boss, and is a giant humanoid with a bovine skull.
  • Spikes of Doom: Thorn Beast can make tall green thorns protrude from the ground beneath Bathoryn.
    • There are also regular metal spikes at the bottom of some pits, which are an obvious insta-kill.
  • Spread Shot: In his second phase, the Ice Beast learns to generate multiple spreads of icicle-like projectiles.
  • Super Spit: Banshee Queen may deal the most damage through the legendary scream (represented as a large cone of blue energy), but her fast attack is to spit a large globule of blood, which is preceded by her stomach inflating so much that it resembles pregnancy. When her health goes halfway down, she starts spitting two of them at once. Luckily, they can be destroyed with Bathoryn's sword.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Malikesh is a tiny winged imp who doesn't attack at all. Instead, he summons a large golem that is completely invulnerable to Bathoryn's attacks. If he just had the sense at this point to land anywhere out of Bathoryn's reach, like the two tall statues in the background, he would have easily won through attrition. Instead, he insists on flying around low enough for Bathoryn's sword to repeatedly strike him.
    • Dragon Vroll is likewise invulnerable when doing a flying strafe attack, though for him it is at least plausible he can only stay airborne for a short while without getting tired.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Acid is portrayed with lime green color.
  • Teleport Spam: Banshee can teleport a couple of steps away from Bathoryn. Lord Vroll can do the same, though much more effectively.
  • Tennis Boss: Lupus Rex spits a large blood projectile, which it can be knocked back at him. Once he turns back, he fires a sequence of three instead: however, they can all be knocked back regardless, potentially ending the fight very quickly.
    • Ice Beast calls down large balls of ice from the sky, but he can only do it a predictable 45 degree angle, so they are easily struck and deflected backwards into his face. His smaller ice needle projectiles can be deflected too, but since they deal little damage individually and are generated in a huge storm, this is nowhere near as egregious.
    • Dragon Vroll's fireball attacks can be bounced right back as well. Deflecting all of them causes it to collapse for a while, thus opening it up for sustained punishment.
  • Turns Red: All bosses become at least a bit stronger once their health gets halfway down. Lupus Rex, however, literally gains a blood-red aura around himself, as he starts moving and attacking faster, as well as spitting three shots at once instead of one.
  • Wham Line: Vroll drops one when finally confronted:
    Vroll: Ah, Bathoryn! Good to see you made it home.
    Bathoryn: This is no home of mine!
    Vroll: Not you, wielder. I was talking to Bathoryn.
  • Worthy Opponent: In spite of his monstrous appearance, Hogre is one for Bathoryn. Upon finally defeating him, he even acknowledges that Hogre fought bravely, and says goodbyes to a fellow warrior before striking a finishing blow (which was requested by Hogre himself, to end the torment of Vroll's spell binding him.)
  • You No Take Candle: Hogre speaks in this manner, consistently dropping articles in his sentences.


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