Back in the 1990s there were some great fighting games that were much more unique than what you typically see on display these days. The Bushido Blade franchise, developed by Japanese studio, Light Weight, was definitely a series that stood out. It featured fully 3D movement (not 2.5D like Tekken) so that you were able to maneuver your chosen character all around the games’ various battlefields.
Since that time, there really hasn’t been much in the way of innovation when it comes to the fighting game genre. The Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and Dead or Alive games are pretty much slight updates of previous titles within their respective franchises.
Well luckily, Polish developer Jakub Kisiel, AKA Kubold, has recently released a game (on both Steam and GOG Early Access) called Hellish Quart that harkens back to the good old days of yore, when developers used to actually create unique products. Just to give you an idea of how great it is, it currently has an “Overwhelmingly Positive” ranking on Steam.
Some of the elements that make Hellish Quart so enjoyable are its relatively fast loading screens, smooth and convincing animations, intuitive gamepad controls, and exactly the feeling I used to get from playing both Bushido Blade and Bushido Blade 2—deadly quick game-overs, satisfying metal clangs and bangs, exquisite sword swipes, lunges, jabs, and oft-wincing ‘oh that’s gotta hurt!’ guffaws.
You won’t find any stiff and stilted movements in Hellish Quart. That’s because the game uses active ragdolls and motion-captured fencing animations. Indeed, Kubold previously worked as a Witcher 3: Wild Hunt animator and motion capture actor.
Later, he announced Hellish Quart in the summer of 2020 and caught a lot of attention from Bushido Blade franchise fans (including obviously me as well). And just like the Bushido Blade games, Hellish Quart involves one-on-one third-person duels, and a single weapon strike can cause instant death.
The present character roster is a little on the small side, but each fighter definitely stands out. Your 17th-century sword duelists include a Zaporozhian Cossack, Turkish Janissary, and so forth. Kubold has stated that he’d ultimately like to aim for a total of 12 playable characters with their own unique fighting styles, along with 12 different arenas (and six difficulty modes) for the full release.
As an Early Access release title, Hellish Quart offers either quick fights, survival mode against the game’s AI, or local multiplayer. Both a single-player story mode and online multiplayer are being developed for the full release. Polish writer Jacek Komuda, who was the writer of the first game in The Witcher series, is currently working on the cinematic story-part of Hellish Quart, which will become available sometime in the future.
I wasn’t able to find out exactly when Hellish Quart will be leaving Early Access on PC, so we’ll have to wait and see. Kubold also hasn’t mentioned anything about potential console conversions of the game, but that’s always a possibility and would help to bolster its popularity.
Hellish Quart has some pretty good graphics so you’ll need a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. Therefore, you may just want to invest in a superior gaming rig:
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