I’ve surprised myself at how pleased I am with these three new additions. Because of the language barrier I wouldn’t be able to play two of them and the third is unofficially ranked as the worst Sega Mega Drive/Genesis game ever… So why am I excited about these additions?
First, they’re were cheap and they are all in Excellent condition. Yay! Second, they all have pretty good artwork. And finally (and oddly) I found a positive review about Sword of Sodan on Sega-16.com that does a great job painting an entirely different impression of what is commonly thought of as a horrible game (more on that below the screen shots).
Rent a Hero looks like it could be a very cool game. I’ve read that it is a RPG that uses the Phantasy Star 2 engine but the combat is real time and similar to 2D fighting games. Sounds very interesting! I believe there is translated ROM lurking around the Internet. I might have to check it out.
Super Hydlide is a RPG that I almost bought back in the day. I loved the cover art so much I found it very hard to resist. A good friend was able to talk me down and save me from some disappointment. To this day I don’t know if Super Hydlide is bad or if it would have just been too complex for me as a kid… But now when cover art is enough I finally have this one for the Mega Drive side of my collection.
Rent a Hero – $8.00
Super Hydelide – $5.00
Sword of Sodan – $10.00
Plus $14.00 for shipping (approx $12 per game)
Now, back to Sword of Sodan. I had never played this game and from all I read and what I saw of it on youtube I was ready to agree with the common consensus that it sucked really very hard. Then when browsing Sega-16.com I found a fans lengthy comments about his experience with Sword of Sodan and I was impressed. Not with the game but this gamers point of view and ability to explain the mechanics of the game and all the details that everyone else seemed to have missed.
If you’ve got some time check out the scathing review (3/10) posted as the official Sword of Sodan review by Sega-16.com.
Below are goldenband‘s detailed experience with Sword of Sodan.
Originally posted on Sega-16.com post #11:
Brothers and sisters, I am now among the few, the proud, the “WTF-is-wrong-with-you?”: for scarcely an hour ago, I beat Sword of Sodan on its highest difficulty setting. That is, Normal difficulty, three starting lives, and using the guy character — whose name is, I kid you not, “Brodan”.
Jokes aside, I think the game is far better than its reputation. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got loads of problems, and I totally understand why people are frustrated and annoyed by it. It also didn’t help that the game defaults to the hardest difficulty setting — it makes the first level almost unplayable, at least without a lot of experience and patience.
But it seems like Sword of Sodan is yet another entry in the long line of offbeat games with strange controls, and apparently high difficulty, that get trashed relentlessly as “worst game ever” (paging Bokosuka Wars)…but which, if you actually take the time to learn their idiosyncracies, are totally playable and even fun. I’ve gotten to the point where, on any setting except Normal/Brodan, I can beat the game at least 50% of the time.
I think I even…am I allowed to say this here?…like Sword of Sodan. A lot of people complain about the stiff animation, but it doesn’t bother me at all — it’s as if I’m playing a medieval painting come to life. And I like the fact that there’s no music during the levels, it’s a welcome change from all the in-your-face Poochie power-chord bullshit that plagues so many games from the early 1990s.
For the record, I want to dispel a few myths and misunderstandings about Sword of Sodan:
- “You have to crotch-stab everyone” – Totally not true, and a really bad strategy to boot. The overhead (Up+C) and thrust (Forward+C) attacks are the key to this game, and 99% of the time, they’re the only attacks you’ll use.
- “The pits in Level 5 are invisible” – Again, not true, they’re just concealed. If you look at the backgrounds closely, there’s a little divot in the stone floor that shows you exactly where they are. Almost everyone gets this wrong, including the guy who wrote the GameFAQs walkthrough, but kudos to the Sega-16 reviewer who gets it right.
- “The hit detection sucks” – OK, it kinda does, but at least it’s consistent. Once you learn where the hit boxes are on your enemies, they’re pretty reliable.
- “It’s unbelievably gay” – I can’t really argue with that, because it’s easily one of the most homoerotic games I’ve ever played, on a par with NES Ring King even. (Cue Jerry Seinfeld saying “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”) I’d normally assume it was all unintentional, but when even the programmer bio in the manual says that “he may be on Uranus”, you really start to wonder. Actually, I think it’d be totally awesome if the whole game was deliberate camp; maybe John Waters could direct a sequel? “Sword of Sodan 2: The Battle of Baltimore!”
Having said that, there are two things that 100% suck in this game, at least if you’re playing on Normal difficulty. One is the first level, which is relatively easy with Shardan (the girl), but a nightmare with the guy, who doesn’t have enough reach to match the pikemen; a flaming sword (ahem) is the only answer here. The other one is the giant soldiers at the start of Level 5 where, unless you have an orange potion or a shield, it’s basically impossible to kill them if they double up on you.
There are some other things missing from the GameFAQs walkthrough, and I’ve thought about either emailing the author, or writing a second walkthrough of my own. For example, you can get through Level 4 (the zombie level) without taking a hit, simply by immediately jumping to the far right side of the screen and attacking repeatedly. Done correctly, it works every time: the zombies never have a chance, because you push them offscreen faster than the scrolling can catch up.
There’s a warp in Level 5, triggered by falling into the third pit (IIRC), that sends you straight to Level 6 and bypasses the rest of the giant soldiers. And in the final boss battle, you can actually drive him backwards just by kneeling right next to him! I also think he has some sort of regeneration timer — sometimes I’ve had to kill him three or four times before he changes into the wizard form, but if I do a lot of damage quickly, it only takes one cycle. (The occasional audio chime might have something to do with this? Not sure.)
So…anyone else out there who’ll stand up for this much-maligned but lovable freak of a game?
Originally posted on Sega-16.com post #11 by goldenband.
And while we’re diving deep into Sword of Sodan take a look at this Easter Egg which I also discovered while browsing Sega-16.com.
Originally post Sega-16.com 10 Best Genesis Easter Eggs.
If you grew up in the ’90s in North America, you most likely have memories of the FBI logo screen and slogan “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” in most arcade games. Indeed, it has become a cultural icon of the time, although now merely relegated to a retro and sarcastic saying (Major League Baseball proved this false). At the time, it was on the forefront of the very serious War on Drugs… which in retrospect is sort of ridiculous.
However, to really get that arcade feeling, the kind people at Electronics Arts added a unique Easter egg for players looking for a quick fix. During the game, if you drink one of each kind of potion at the same time, your character’s chest bursts open and you fall to the ground, dying. Text appears that reads “Winners don’t do drugs.”
Oh, man…. my younger brother and I busted Sword of Sodan wide open back when it was released because he bought the game and was so annoyed then amused that we played it too many times to get his money’s worth. Thanks to experimenting, we found that potion trick on the second day with the game, figured out the pit jumping (they’re absolutely not “invisible” as you noted. The slash move and noting the hit detection are the keys to winning, and I think we got to the point where we’d both be able to ply through the game start to finish on maybe two lives.
Anyway, I find it amusing (and odd) that some people who fall back on the crotch stabbing move also call the game homoerotic or whatever. Why can’t games be seen as what they are and not some automatic barometer of someone’s sexual preferences? Maybe a bad game is just a bad game and that’s that.
Er… Unless it’s a Choaniki game.. then, yes… it’s a little bit “gay”… but in an intentionally campy way.
Rent-A-Hero is amazing, but you’ll have to hunt down the translation (I’m not sure if it was ever completed as I don’t follow the ROM scene). The annoying thing about this great game is Sega passed over it for a US localization (too Japanese for western tastes, I’d say) and there was a Dreamcast update that also never saw the light of day in the US. Worse, the Xbox port of the Dreamcast game WAS localized about 80 – 90% into English, but the project got canned. I actually still have a build of that version I got when I was writing for another web site (I did a few reviews of the game, one of which is here: http://www.digitpress.com/reviews/rentahero.htm) and it’s a shame it never got a proper US release, as it’s pretty funny stuff.
Super Hydlide also gets called the “worst” game in a few places, but given that there were a bunch of games in the series made for the MSX (that got better with each new game) and later a Sega Saturn game called Virtual Hydlide (which is kind of awful at first, then once you get used to it it gets pretty decent, especially the last stage with the weird visual design), I tend to defend the franchise a tiny bit. The game is a bit daunting for younger players, but I recall spending a lot of time with it and while I never finished the game, I got far enough to appreciate it more than people who played for an hour or two and tossed it aside. Then again, I played way too many RPGs on the Genesis, so stuff like Faery Tale Adventure or Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday (which some hate intensely) I’d defend at least a little for what they do right over the things they do wrong…
Man, I’ve never heard of Sword of Sodan, but now I really want it, be it bad or good, doesn’t matter, it looks interesting! 😀
but RPG’s.. pfft.. don’t have the time! >_< There's actually only one RPG I try to follow and take the time to complete, and that's the Final Fantasy series ( I know, super cliché ).. but even there I only had the time and energy to finish three of them, VII, X and XIII. I loved all three of them 😀 But I only go through an RPG maybe once every 2 or 3 years haha..
I actually think you’d like Gauntlet IV a lot, as you can play the non-quest Arcade mode and get through it in a MUCH shorter time. But I think you’ll want to play the quest at some point because the fast-paced gameplay will hook you in. I actually didn’t think it would work as a RPG, but it was a nice surprise because Tengen kept it simple by not changing the core gameplay.
Also try Cadash (another arcade “port” that’s a psuedo-RPG), Wardner, Rastan Saga II (goofy fun and another Arcade game), Wonder Boy IV and V(for starters)…
I just love this blog and all the interesting and helpful commentaries it brings ^_^ I’ve nominated it for the Versatile Blogger Award 😀
Check it out: http://retro-video-gaming.com/2012/06/19/versatile-blogger-award/
Thanks stopxwhipsering! I read a little about the Versatile Blogger Award and is seems to be something created/invented by another wordpress memeber. It’s a fun idea. We should whip up or own award just for Retro Video Game blogs.
We should! That would be really cool ^_^
You have a great collection of MD games. I used to collect JP MD Games. Had around 50, some of my games…Sunsoft JP Batman in the small box, U.K cardboard box Double Dragon, US Technocop, JP Rainbow Islands & Newzealand Story. Still kept JP Strider, love the box art!
Thanks TAGGSTA! Sometimes I feel a little out of control when I see how fast my collection is growing but I really do enjoy it.
Did you end up trading or selling your MD games just to focus on your OutRun collection? That Sunsoft Batman is an excellent game! Newzealand Story was also a favorite of mine.
Tell me something, does that sign on the Outrun screen actually say “I’ve taken a nut.”? 🙂
I have a few co-workers from London and I’m pretty sure that means it’s out of order and I couldn’t help but get a good chuckle out of it.
So many of the Japanese Mega Games have great artwork (Like Strider). That’s why I put my Japanese games on the left shelf in my collection; they’re more prominent in the room from there.
I sold my jap collections of MD, SFC, Saturn, Dreamcast, N64 and PC Engine GT & Nomad to fund other things in life….moving from the UK to Aus being one of them. Still have the odd JAP game knocking around in boxes. Have 2 360’s, PS3 and Wii with a fare few retro games on them…..brought some games so many times lol
The OutRun machine says ‘Ive Taken a Hit’ ‘Someone will be back shortly to fix the issue’
Like ‘Taken a nut’ more tho lol.