Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #169: Demon Sword

Title : Demon Sword

Publisher : Taito

Developer : TOSE

Genre : Action / Platformer

Players : 1

Release Date : 1990

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $6 - $8

I find it hard pressed to be any more manly than showing off your beefcake abs while wielding a fiery, seven-edged (count 'em SEVEN!) sword in front of a Demon-ridden castle. But hey, that's DEMON SWORD for you! It's all about kicking that demon arse. Talk about a generic name though. It's so typical of the Japan to US cross over to complete butcher names. Sure, DEMON SWORD is all well and good, but when you have a title like THE LEGEND OF ACALA in Japan, come on. What's wrong with that!? It's much more dramatic!

Bah, fine, give me my Conan the Barbarian look alike. Never understood why these warrior types never wanted to wear any armor and expose every vital point. Not very battle-friendly, eh? Oh, and I hope you're ready to "release the power!" as the box clearly states. I'm not talking about Nintendo Power, which is the only true power. I'm talking about your battle powers in this hack and slash platforming adventure. Basically, it's a level up system...but they made it sound "epic"

I HAVE THE POWEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! No He-Man game for the NES, that's the real tragedy here. You know, I think practically everyone I knew that had a NES back in the day had this game except me. Not sure why I didn't. I sure as hell rented it enough times to the point where I actually found the manual for this in my attic. Funny..manual from a game rental place, but no box and no game. What was I thinking?

Wow, talk about side tracked to start off this review. My apologies. I'm on cup of coffee # 4, and I'm trying to run reports at work while trying to write a review and remember what the hell I played in this game the night before. So as I consult my DEMON SWORD monster vanquishing notes, you can enjoy this title screen for two seconds.

Pretty damn dramatic if you ask me. All those flashing lightning bolts. But the hand...the hand looks a bit awkward. A bit bent. MAybe it's because of the armor..I don't know. And the sword. That sword does not look like it'll function correctly. If you slash at something, those jagged edges get in the way. Hell, if you even STAB someone, it'll just get stuck. I would just throw this thing away and get a straight sword. This thing is just a tad bit too much for me. The blacksmith needs to go back to smithy school.

As it turns out, you play as Victar (not a very threatening name...) attempting to put this sword back together in order to defeat the dreaded demon horde! But finding these pieces is harder than you may think as you much traverse across three different, and violent worlds to recover them. Seriously, Victar. Just grab yourself a nuke.

Here we go, three different worlds, with two levels per world, and a final demon zone equals a whopping seven monster filled stages! Worlds. Levels. Stages? What's the proper terminology. Notes for a future blog post, eh?

The real enjoyable factor of Demon Sword lies in its fast paced and relentless action. The levels are huge, the enemies are numerous, and the amount of abilities you have are insane. You of course start out with your dinky little demon sword, that grows as you recover each piece. The more it grows, the stronger it gets, and the better it is to use against your foes. But, if you don't feel  like using your dumb looking sword, you can always hurl daggers at your foes as your jumping in the air in any direction you want.

If you think you can jump on something, you probably can. If you think you can kill something, you probably can. I found myself just darting all over the place, landing on trees and bouncing off them to get higher and higher into the stage all the while being chased by flying skeleton heads and blasting them out of the sky with a giant laser beam. What the hell kind of game is this!?

First of all, the cover looks like a medieval- conan-the-barbarian-styled game...but it's actually more of a ninja-esque game. Make up your mind dammit! Despite that, holy crap is this game brutally fun (and difficult). Enemies swarm you quickly, and I honestly found myself dying a lot more often with normal foes than the bosses at the end of each stage.

The visuals in this game are downright spectacular and are some of the best on the NES. I'm talking vivid colors, great character animations and sprites, and insanely well crafted level design. It was definitely the first time in a long time I actually found myself enjoying a platformer for the NES. If it wasn't for the insane difficulty and controls.

Audio tends to be a bit bizarre, and I was really hoping for some killer jams in this soundtrack but I was left wanting. Damn...needed that ninja gaiden music in this bad boy. It's not horrible, but it's definitely not as memorable as I wanted it to be.

Here's the real problem - as fun as the game is, you'll just find yourself dying over and over again to the point of absolute frustration. Killing enemies is semi-impossible considering you need to attack with your sword and with your little darts AND with your so-called laser beams all the while flying at break neck speeds. Slow down a little my samurai-friend! You're rushing to your own death! Everything feels a tad bit TOO fast if that's possible. I felt like this game was running at 3x speed.

Ugh, getting nauseous from the the screen...oy.

Okay, so yeah the game is TOO FAST...but it's also one of those games where you find yourself laughing out loud and going "WOO HOO!" to your TV while people look at you like you're crazy. Definitely a keeper.

Final Score (out of 5)

Until Next Time, Keep On Gaming!



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