Screenshot of The Sword of the Samurai

The Sword of the Samurai

(Zeppelin Games, 1992)

A gang of evil ninjas has captured lots of people and taken them hostage, so as a noble warrior, you must rescue the hostages and kill the gang’s leader. The story sounds rather similar to that of Shinobi, and the game itself also bears a remarkable resemblance to it. Three hostages need to be rescued on each of the seven levels. There are several different types of ninjas, each of which needs to be dealt with in a different way. This is a fairly decent platform game with clear and colourful graphics, although there are very few sound effects, and while it’s not quite as good as the game that inspired it, it’s still worth trying out.

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Screenshot of Sword Slayer

Sword Slayer

(Players, 1988)

Follow the storyline of Spartacus, a gladiator in the Roman empire who seeks to escape from the arena. The eleven scenes in the game take him from the arena to the streets of Capua, where he rushes to a temple and then on to the forest, before finally escaping. Throughout all the scenes, you’ve got to slay other gladiators and legionnaires, and sometimes eagles. It gets monotonous fairly quickly, and the Spectrum-like graphics are mostly in the same colour, but the game deserves a special mention for using digitised sound effects.

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Screenshot of Swords and Sorcery

Swords and Sorcery

(PSS, 1986)

Reviewed by Robert Small

A much hyped game upon release that also suffered from delays. Was it worth the wait when it finally arrived? I would say yes. Explore dungeons, fight enemies, collect objects, use magic and enter into conversations with the dungeon dwellers. All the fantasy elements are there. Everything is nicely displayed on-screen – a view of the action on one side, a map on the other, and dialogue at the bottom. The controls are a headache, though, at least at first. The MIDAS system was supposed to be a unique selling point with Swords and Sorcery but it didn’t go any further than this game, despite plans to use it in future titles. There are a few bugs as well, which is a shame, but it looks nice enough, has that classic Dungeons & Dragons atmosphere, and hurling insults at opponents will raise a smile or two.

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Screenshot of Syntax

Syntax

(Blue Ribbon, 1988)

Rebel forces from the planet Syntax are planning to invade Earth, and you have volunteered to fly to Syntax in your impulse-drive fighter and defeat their dastardly plans. You must fly around the planet in the search for ten crystals which you must drop down ventilation shafts. Nearly everything about this game is poor. The graphics and sound effects are very basic and it’s difficult to work out where it’s safe to fly. Many of the areas you can explore are restricted in size, and the controls are very sensitive, so flying your fighter in a straight line is quite tricky, as is avoiding flying into buildings and rebel ships. You’ll end up crashing far too frequently.

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