Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Heaps of beautiful static screens - many with neat animated sequences plus some gorgeous detailed graphics in the later arcade sections. Many of the enemy sprites lack animation.
Generally foreboding soundtracks help add atmosphere, while decent arcade-style spot effects beef up the action sequences. Sparse sound effects during adventure section, though.
The plot just gets thicker and thicker, although the straightforward style of gameplay doesn't provide much room for exploration.
Continue option and password entry make it really easy to keep on playing, while plenty of game variety keeps the interest level high. The interesting storyline gets you hooked and the action just doesn't let up!
With an entertaining blend of action and adventuring, with puzzles,exploration and hands-on combat, Spellcaster offers an easy route into the fantasy arcade adventure genre.
Anyone fortunate enough to have the coveted second issue of S will already have the low-down on this fantasy adventure game. If not...
Evil forces are at large in mediaeval Japan: high in the mountains, holy temples are being raided by nightmare creatures of unknown origin. The head honcho holy man, Daikak, suspects the attacks to be the work of some ancient enemy, and calls upon the mystic warrior Kane to find out just what the hell is going on!
(Image caption) One of demonic Boss monsters zips around the screen, while Kane gets his head out of the way!
As Kane's quest takes him deeper and deeper into this oriental detective mission, his actions are guided and controHed in alternate adventure and arcade action sequences. Moving to new location brings up a static picture, with the options to look, talk to other characters, pick up and use objects. A floating hand allows you to examine particular objects on screen, and it is usuaHy here that Kane discovers vital clues as to his next move.
Progressing through locations sees the viewpoint alter to a Shinobi-style horizontaHy scrolling section, where Kane runs and jumps across obstacles, and can put his speHcasting abilities to good use, raining down aH sorts of elemental powers upon his unearthly adversaries. Kane also has a useful line in Ki force which spurts forth from his hands, like an R-Type energy blast!
Despatching the demons and devils that continuaHy make Kane's life a hard one, often reveals blue or orange balls: collect these and Kane's Strength and Energy are gradually replenished.You have to keep a close eye on both meters, for as Kane's Energy increases, he can attempt the more difficult spells, and as his strength diminshes, he grows ever nearer to death!
A variety of Boss creatures appear, and must be defeated before continuing. Kane's efforts are usually rewarded with another snippet of information to send him on his way.
And so it continues, as the story slowly reveals its innermost secrets. There a few departures to the gamestyle, in that later sections include a boat trip on (and beneath) the sea of Dannoura, a giant pyramid to explore, and a vertically scrolling shoot-out with final monster!
(Image caption) Meeting characters in the adventure section.
With an intriguining storyline, plenty of puzzling and some tough arcade sections, Spellcaster makes an extremely addictive arcade adventure. It's not role playing exactly, but bridges the gap between the arcade and adventure gamestyles, by introducing the best aspects of both.