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Sword of Sodan


1990 Electronic Arts

Sega Genesis



Here's another computer game from back in the day I had interest in but was never able to track down. One day in 1989 I was in an old Egghead Software store and saw this game running on an Amiga. First thing I noticed was that the characters were very huge, that was a big deal back then. I played it for a few minutes and forgot all about it.

Seventeen years later I pick up a copy of this translation and I am glad I never bothered to obtain the original. When writing game reviews it's a good idea to vary up the descriptions once in a while, use some colorful language as to keep things interesting. This game sucks. There is no other way to describe it.

You walk right to left and kill the same guy over and over and over again. The main enemy does not change at all. You can choose a male or female barbarian but it doesn't really matter because both have the same attacks. Speaking of which,  you are limited to four main attacks, a horizontal swipe, an overhead chop, two types of stabbing attacks. Thing is the stabs cover the most distance and do the most damage so there's no other reason to do the other ones.

You start the game. A guy comes out you. You poke him to death. Another guy shows up. You poke him to death too. Ad infinitum. This is some fun shit.

It wouldn't be so bad if there was like, some variation once in a while. You can jump, but you can't jump and attack. The only reason you need to jump is to avoid traps. You can duck but the bad guys can hit you in a crouched position, so there's no reason to ever do that either. Speaking of the bad guys they come out both sides of the screen, sometimes five or six at a time, and since you only have one attack that's effective and this is yet another game where it's a pain in the ass just to turn around (this must be a curse Genesis games commonly suffer from because this is like the third Genesis game I have that has this problem) they tend to surround you and you can't kill them fast enough, resulting in cheap deaths that would not happen with any other fighting engine in any other game... I don't know. They must have borrowed the Coleco play-test monkeys for this game.

On top of all that bullshit past level one suddenly they start throwing traps into the mix also. But they're not the usual side-scroller video game traps that you don't have to worry about once you figure them out, they're the pain in the ass traps that you cannot avoid. Level two features spikes that come out of the floor on nearly every single step of the level. Even if you do avoid the fucking things half the time the bad guys knock you into them. Then there are parts where barrels roll on the floor. You would think it would be easy to avoid them. It is not. Later on there are spiked pits you have to jump over but the enemy characters just walk over with no problem. Yeah that makes sense.

On the plus side the graphics are decent, when they stand still. When they move you notice everyone has two and three step animations. The backgrounds blow rodent ass. The sound is ok, but it starts grating on your nerves when you hear the same death scream from the same generic enemy type five thousand times. The bosses look pretty cool actually, but then you fight them and see how cheap and under realized they are. Level two features these two giants that surround you. They are easy to beat because you can poke them to death. Thing is even if you hit them in the legs when they die their heads fly off. Lame.

So in case anyone was wondering, EA used to suck back then too.


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