Infernax is an exceptional throwback to the days of NES-era Castlevania games. More specifically, Berzerk Studio’s latest might as well be the modern reimagining of Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. It features tough combat and precise platforming, but the similarities don’t end there. You’ll also have to deal with a day-night cycle and somewhat cryptic puzzles. Of course, Infernax includes several modern quality of life improvements, but its most fun feature will give players yet another jolt of nostalgia.
Younger readers might not remember the days of the Game Genie or Game Shark. Nor are they likely to have spent their recesses arguing with their friends about how to unlock secret characters in Mortal Kombat. In those days, cheat codes were almost required for video games. Many titles took advantage of them to add all kinds of wacky modes to a game. For example, what would Goldeneye 007 be without DK mode? Probably still one of the more important console shooters of all time, but definitely not as hilarious.
As modern engines have made development easier, designers don’t necessarily need to include as many debug modes, which have made cheat codes a bit rarer. Plus, so many games put a focus on online multiplayer where cheating is more heavily looked down upon. Thus, outside of some developers like Rockstar, we often don’t see many games launch with the kind of silly codes they used to when the industry was younger.
Keeping in line with its billing as a return to the late 80s/early 90s, Infernax doesn’t shy away from giving players all kinds of cheat codes to work with. This does several important things that only improve the experience. If you’re struggling with combat or platforming, you can simply make yourself invulnerable or get infinite jumps. If you just don’t have as much time to place, just give yourself 99,999 Gold and buy all the upgrades without needing to grind.
Importantly, this drive to keep the game approachable seems to be at the core of Infernax. Even without cheating, the game gives you two difficulty modes. I’ve played quite a bit on both of them and the easier difficulty simply gives you more checkpoints and an extra life to work with. The actual fights seem to be exactly the same. This slight change still lets someone meet the game’s challenge, just in a way that’s more manageable.
Past these cheats that make the game more approachable are ones that really let Berzerk Studio let loose. Remember, this is a Castlevania-like. That means a medieval setting where you’re fighting zombies and demons. Now, imagine that your character just gets a jetpack. Or maybe you’d rather give him a chainsaw. There’s even a Bike mode, which is just as ridiculous as it sounds. In short, Infernax isn’t afraid to get weird. It’s the modern equivalent of summoning a Shelby Cobra car into the battlefield in Age of Empires 2.
The best cheat in the game though is saved for the famous Konami code. We won’t spoil the surprise for you, but if you input the code at the title screen, you’ll get to play this Simon’s Quest look-alike as a character from another famous Konami game. Remember how you could play as Bill Clinton and Prince Charles in NBA Jam? It’s kind of like that in terms of how silly the code is.
Infernax’s base game is certainly worth playing, especially if you’re a fan of older Castlevanias. That said, you’ll have the most fun if you embrace your inner cheater and break the game apart with a massive chainsaw. Though I would suggest playing through the game “normally” for a bit. Not only is that experience rewarding, but you’ll appreciate the ways the many cheats break the game if you’ve already experienced everything the straightforward experience has to offer.