Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
At first sight, Spellcaster appears to be another of those Four Mega menu- driven adventures that Sega seem to do so well. After a while, it becomes apparent that it definitely is one of those Four Mega menu-driven adventures that Sega seem to do so well. But it has a few differences which I think make it their most entertaining to date.
The plot is standard stuff: playing mystic Japanese warrior, Kane, you have to find out who's duffing up the peasantry, using whatever information and equipment you come across during your travels. Unlike Y's and Phantasy Star, which were very much "RPG lovers only", Spellcaster is presented in a format which should appeal to arcade and adventurers alike.
Getting from location to location is no longer a matter of moving a little figure around a scrolling map, nor is combat all menus and hit points. Instead, you choose where you want to go on a menu, and your warrior sprite sets off along the scrolling road to his destination, using any of eight types of magical offence and defence to avoid or rap any obstacles or enemy Samurai and monsters. At the end of the road, you usually come across some kind of warrior magician, who puts up a hell of a fight before he expires and maybe leaves something behind or gives you some clue in his dying utterance.
At this point you can usually make some fairly simple deduction about what your next move should be. If you haven't a clue, a visit to one of your allies usually reveals all about that mysterious word or object you just found. In most cases the connections between problems and objects are fairly straightforward, and if they're not, a bit of experimentation with the item often helps. Anyway, You can always avoid risks by asking for a 24 character "save game" password before making an important move.
The adventure bits feel like a set sequence of scenes which you're being led through, which might be seen as a limitation by you veteran adventurers, but I wasn't bothered by it at all, because there's no aimless wandering about, getting lost or fumbling around with commands to slow the plot down.
You might think this makes the game easy, and, though I haven't finished it, I have to say that you're more likely to get stuck on one of the arcade sections than on an adventure problem.
Another of Sega's huge arcade adventures, with the bias a bit more on the "arcade" than the "adventure" for once.