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Sword of Sodan

version: jp - year: 1991 - developer: innerprise software - publisher: sega - format: mega drive, 4 mbit cartridge - condition: mint - rarity: common


Choosing the hero or the heroine doesn't affect the levels or the ending


Even the hands are identical, and they don't look very feminine to me!


The graphics have been downgraded in this port but the gore is still present


Some enemies have been added in different spots


Half-way through the game, the last boss briefly shows up (only in the MD version)


The graveyard may seem impossible at first. Just jump like a madman and slash dem dirty zombies!


Here, fall off the platform and you lose a life. This is one of the most frustrating parts...


The only way to kill the giants is to decapitate them! You must be at the right distance though or you'll just miss the target thanks to ugly collision detection...


Invisible pits, they will drive you nuts! The only way to find out where they are is to actually fall into them and lose a life. Jump and get lucky. Awesome design right?! One of them teleports you to the next level though...


Zoras first form plays very differently compared to the Amiga. The fight is very long and exhausting...


...while Zoras true form is simply insane! Equip the invincibility spell twice and hack your way through him to have any chance at all


The MD ending sequence is missing a screen compared to the Amiga version


Time for some highscore and not much else since there is no trace of the Replay option...

Review - Sword of Sodan (SoS) was originally released on the Amiga back in 1988.

The huge sprites, the amazingly detailed graphics and the highly atmospheric sound effects made it an instant classic of the time, which proved once and for all the outstanding capabilities of the A500 compared to the machines of that period. In all truth, the game was also accused of being a typical example of style over substance meaning that gameplay wasn't very good.

If you take a close look at the game, it will become immediately apparent that it has a number of gameplay flaws like bad collision-detection, and slow response time of the character on screen.

Add to this some occasionally unfair traps and you get enough elements to discourage most players to play the game for more than a few minutes.

Despite these evident shortfalls, Sword of Sodan is still remembered fondly by many Amiga gamers because it managed to create a unique atmosphere of mystery while it masterfully took advantage of the Amiga technical capabilities. A bit like Shadow of the Beast, it was considered to be a tech demo but it also provided a fierce and enjoyable challenge to players who were dedicated enough to spend time on it trying to find the best strategies to go through the game.

About this Mega Drive port of SoS , I must sadly admit that most of the magic that made the original game so intriguing to play has vanished.

For one thing, many levels (including the awesome beast ride) have been mysteriously left out including many types of cool enemies. Moreover, it graphically looks less detailed and less colorful while collision detection is even worse!

The character animations aren't very impressive too but this was inherited from the Amiga version, just like that lone foreground layer of parallax scrolling which seems to purposefully hide traps and platforms from the player's view in the most inappropriate moments...(a strange use of parallax indeed, already seen in Battle Squadron).

About sound effects, they lack the great quality they had in the original version while the awesome speeches and the few bgms that were also present in the original are simply missing here...

At this point, it would seem that there is little to save here especially for casual gamers who a looking for a cheap Genesis cart or for a quick download. To these people, I just say to stay as far away as they can from this game and to spend their time and efforts elsewhere!

So who might enjoy this poorer rendition of the original Amiga SoS? Well, people who played the original version or people who played the Genesis version back in the day might still find it fun to play, not out of masochism but out of nostalgia.

Mega Drive SoS has a few elements going for it. It has zero loading time (the Amiga version is on 3 disks), it is in glorious full screen (no black borders as seen in the Pal Amiga version) and once you learn the levels, you can go through the game in about 15 minutes! This means that it is the perfect game to try to finish when you have a few minutes to spare before going out or whatever.

Compared to the Amiga version, the Mega Drive port might seem more accessible because it gives players the option between Easy and Normal Mode and it is possible to select up to 7 lives (against only 5 in the Amiga game). Moreover, when finishing a level you regain all of your drained health and this was not the case in the Amiga version.

Despite this, the Mega Drive version is harder than the Amiga's for a couple of reasons:
1- worse collision detection (if possible!) with slow response time
2- enemies can attack you from behind, forcing you to turn around to face them (Left + B button). This feature is absent in the A500 original as enemies don't attack you from behind.

Also, Magic potions work differently. In the Mega Drive version, potions can be combined to achieve a number of different effects such as getting extra lives, skipping levels or activating the flaming sword. This wasn't possible in the original game which in turn had better looking spells though. Combining potions is a very important element and choosing the wrong combination can seriously mess up your game.

In the end, SoS is most definitely a very average game that I only recommend to nostalgic players or to people who enjoy old school, unfair and cheap 2D fantasy slash'em ups! If you belong to one of these groups of players, then SoS will provide a very tough but ultimately rewarding challenge. An unearthly challenge that will probably demoralize you and frustrate you so much that you'll probably start beating the shit out of your system…

A challenge that comes straight from the old days and ultimately, a challenge that will put a huge smile on your face once you finally make it!

Bottom line: ultra challenging fantasy action game with below average graphics and gameplay....5/10










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