Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Lots of cute, original and well-animated monsters to kill, with an interesting variety of viewpoints. Some nice static shots too.
Bright, arcadey tunes throughout with some interesting spot effects. Not desperately atmospheric, though.
A huge quest with fast 'n' furious action - and plenty of it. Not a vast amount of ‘adventuring’ or role playing involved: just keep on killing and avoid being killed.
A maddening challenge for killing freaks, with an interesting mix of gamestyles - vertically scrolling mazes, platforms and a spot of trading and questing. The 32-character password system is annoying and unnecessarily overcomplex.
Part of the Sega Action range rather than Adventure Role-Playing, the game offers a gentle introduction to questing. The kind of satisfying action that would help a dedicated joystick-weilder make the transition to fantasy role playing.
Another king has turned nasty - this time its Golvellius, a king who has been dead for over a thousand years. Now Golvellius is back with a vengeance, and he’s terrorising the people of his old kingdom by sending demons to live in the one valley in the land of Aleid where fresh water is to be found.
Fresh water, and magical healing herbs known as Mea used to make the valley a beautiful and good place. Now it’s a nightmare zone, known as ‘The Valley of Doom’. The beautiful Princess Rena bravely entered the valley to fetch some Mea for her ailing father, was kidnapped by demons and hasn’t been seen since.
Love. The best reason there is for a quest. A wandering warrior named Kelesis heard the tale of Princess Rena’s tragic fate, visited her father and fell in love with the girl the moment he saw her picture. Picking up a bottle of life potion, and pausing only to collect a sharp sword and pair of magic boots from a friendly old crone, with a toss of his wild green hair he sets off to rescue the princess.
Play takes place in three modes. At the very start, there is a horizontally-scrolling platform section which Kelesis must complete in order to reach the entrance to the Valley of Doom. Then there’s a plan view sequence in which the hero battles with minor demons while searching for the route to the next major demon on his list, followed by vertically-scrolling sections inside the valley itself as he makes his way towards each of Golvellius' seven henchbeings.
Kill a henchbeing, or major demon, and like as not a crystal will be yielded up. Collect seven crystals and the long-dead king himself will be forced into combat.
Much of the action is frantic hack ‘n’ slay - the forces of evil do their best to deplete your life force, and you do your best to chop demons to pieces with your trusty sword. Each dead creature earns you gold - up to a maximum limit that is governed by the number of bibles you are carrying. Bibles, like many of the useful items in the game, can be purchased from a little old lady who only accepts precious gold in payment.
(Image caption) Up against Sly's relatives in the first scrolling section!
The old lady, like the other helpful characters, lives in an underground cave. To reveal the hidden mouths of these dwelling caves you need to kill some of the demons that guard the entrances - later on in the quest life becomes a little more complicated, as the caves only reveal themselves when you are carrying the appropriate item and strike special objects.
(Image caption) Deep within the Valley of Doom.
Kelesis lives by the sword - he never was much of a brainbox. Fortunately there’s little for him to puzzle over in the game. Interaction with the cavedwelling characters is minimal, limited to a yes/no response to an offer to trade, or noting down a handy hint or tip. A status screen reveals how much the hero is carrying in the way of gold, spare life potions, crystals and useful items, but few decisions need to be taken. It’s chop, chop, chop rather than puzzle, fret, fight...
Should the hero expire, all is not lost. It’s not possible to save a game position, but a password system allows you to return to fight again with all your possessions intact - you just loose half your gold.