Saturday, January 24, 2009

Retro Saga part 17: Magic Sword




Knights of the Round, King of Dragons, Black Tiger, and Ghost and Goblins. What do all these games have in common? Yes, Capcom made them, but they also dealt with fantasy-themed worlds, with monsters and weaponry. While I enjoy that they did a lot of games like this, it kind of felt kind of redundant since it seems like a lot of arcade games that they made used the same formula, especially Knights of the Round and King of Dragons. I think it started to get boring right after they released Magic Sword for the arcades and Super Nintendo. While it isn’t a horrible game, it just feels plain and dry, by this point.

The story of Magic Sword is told like this. An evil lord known as Drokmar has taken over an unknown land with the power of a crystal called the “Black Orb”. He now hides within a 50-story tower, and it is up to the main hero of the game, Brave, to scale the tower and stop the evil lord and bring peace to the land.

The game play of Magic Sword is more on the lines of Black Tiger and Ghost and Goblins. Magic Sword is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game where you control Brave and go through 50 short levels with some having a boss fight at the end. Your main form of attack is your sword. During the game, you will find keys to unlock doors. Now this would just be fine if there was treasure behind the door, but there is something more. In each door, there is usually someone trapped inside, and you can pick him or her up to use as allies, like the knight throws spears, the Amazonian uses a crossbow, and you get the idea. Each ally has a different ability that helps out in different situations. A good example is the priest. The priest not only brings up a barrier, but he is more effective against undead enemies. You also have RPG elements where your sword is stronger after each boss fight. Careful though, because you can easily lose your powered-up sword and go straight back to a weaker sword. I will talk about that game play component later. Another interesting component is that when you beat the final boss, you can choose to either become the good guy and destroy the power, or take the power and become the bad guy. That’s pretty unique since I haven’t seen such a twist like that since in Double Dragon, where at the end, you have to beat your brother since to the girl you saved wants only you or your brother. That’s interesting since you usually see the main hero become the good guy, and everything is rainbow and lollipops.

The graphics in the game are pretty impressive. They are nothing special, but it gets the arcade and Super Nintendo job done by showing off 16-bit graphics. Not as well as Final Fantasy 6 or Super Mario RPG, but like I said, they get the job done. The music though is actually pretty good. It’s not as good as Final Fantasy 6, but it doesn’t seem fair to compare this game to that game, though the composer, Manami Matsumae who is known for games like U.N Squadron, his participation in Megaman 1 and 2, and Adventure of Lolo on the Gameboy resulted in a good job.

Sadly though, this is where I’m going to talk about the faults of this game and the reason why I think this is one is best left unknown. First off, the main hero is just so stale and boring. I mean, he looks like He Man. It wouldn’t be any different if they made the hero a girl in a bikini, like the girl in Golden Axe. Secondly, the game gets really boring really fast. It’s due to most of the levels looking like the same thing. This means that the game gets stale and repetitious. What else could I say? Oh yeah, I HATE how you can drop your sword. What’s the point of having a super strong sword when you can easily just lose it after getting hurt? I also don’t like how many allies are in one level. You can easily just have one ally for 5 seconds and then just pick up another one. They also have their own life bar. What’s the point of having them around if they can get hurt also? The game itself can get pretty annoying since it seems like you have no time to breathe because there is a non-stop onslaught of enemies. It’s not Ghost and Goblins hard, but it gets annoying due to how small everyone is.

While this game is ultimately forgettable and bland, it’s an interesting game, and it’s fun to put in and play if you don’t have other games to play. You can get this on the Super Nintendo or again, off of one of the Capcom arcade collections discs.

This game gets a 5 out of 10

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