http://www.castlecrashers.com/ <- link to game
I'll come right out and say this: If you spend money playing Turtles in Time in the arcade or The Simpson's arcade game...buy this game. Flat out. You will not be disappointed. For those of you who think side scroller...old....well yea. But! That's what makes this game so fun. There is "no 3D, no hyper realistic graphics, no boobs". Instead, we roll with hand-drawn animation, which is brilliantly done by The Behemoth team.
When you first start the game you can choose between Four Knights. Pretty easy, right? Naw, not really.
- Red Knight - Thunder (Electricity): Will electrify and stop enemy units when using your magic. Decreases your magic bar pretty fast since it can be used constantly.
- Blue Knight - Frost (Ice): Shoots spikes diagonally downward and freezes most enemy units.
- Orange Knight - Fire (...fire): I have not played as him yet so I do not know how the fire acts.
- Green Knight - Poison (Death Cloud of doom): If you want to beat the game as fast as possible, this is your knight. The poison cloud that this guy uses is not only really deadly, you can use it a ton before you are empty. Not only does it do quite a bit of damage, it actually poisons enemy units so they constantly get knicked away. This is imperative when playing with multiple people because you get experience based on the amount of damage you deal. (*Speculation)
The game differs from old school arcades in one large manner, and that is because it isn't an arcade game. Castle Crashers is also an RPG where you can level up and strengthen your knight in 4 catagories: Strength, Magic, Defense, Agility. They are pretty self explanatory... and I suggest upping the magic and defense, but that was my strategy. You also get your choice of weapon from a frog's belly. There are tons of weapons to choose from that grant bonuses to your abilities, (+1 Str -1 Magic). On top of that, you can also roam around with an animal of your choice. This animal does many different things depending on what it is. The Giraffe helps you level up faster, while the BiPolar Bear attacks any unit that is near death...which if you are playing with a friend, use potions. -Segway- There are also items you can use like potions, arrows, bombs, and SANDWICHES. The last one is in all caps for a reason, hint hint nudge nudge.
The game isn't that long, maybe about 4 hours with two people playing. More if you are solo. I knocked it out with a friend in a single night from 1am to about 4:30 [Ya ya, that's 3.5 hours]. The game offers lots of replay value with new characters, new weapons, and just in general it is so much fun to play. There is also online play co-op story mode, online versus mode, and a thing called quaff where you button smash to win an eating contest. (Hot air balloon filling up from the Simpson's arcade game anyone?) As of writing this though, the online part is seriously lacking, but they are aware and are trying to get it fixed asap.
The lowest score for this game I have seen is an 80%. The highest is 95%, so that is saying something for a side scroller game in a modern game world. They really have gone back to basics for this one, just simple buttons and addicting as can be.