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Lord of the Sword

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Released: 1988

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: Sega Master System

Publisher: Sega

Submitted by: Stuart Hunt

One of my dad's favourite super heroes when he was a kid was Green Arrow. I'm not really sure why, I liked him because he was obscenely liberal and had a fabulous beard, I presume he liked him because he shot pointy things at fat men. So why am I talking about Green ARROW in a review of Lord of the SWORD? Because one of the many pleasant surprises in LotS is how well the bow and arrow attack works…in Lord of the Sword, but whatever.

Another pleasant surprise is how in-depth the story is, though this is a common pleasant surprise amongst the Master System.  Landau wants to be king, but first he must prove himself worthy, the followers of Ra Goan are pissed and want to stop him. That's a basic approximation. It adds a kind of semi-linear sort of play which is our next pleasant surprise, though each section is a straight walk from left to right the game's progression is not so simple. You will need to visit towns and castles, some of which will not be open, between the hacking and the slashing and the bow-and-arrowing. But don't groan RPG elements because there's none, just different locations open after different king-worthy tasks have been completed.

Want one more pleasant surprise? Okay. Here – the enemies. For instance there's one samurai enemy that rushes at you, disappears before you very pixels and then reappears above or behind you. How cool is that? In a Master System game! There's giant eyeballs and jumping undead and what look like werewolves in emo hoodies.

I can't say as I know why so much effort went into LotS but that could be today's mindset that places the Master System as the ugly step-daughter of the 1980s consoles as the result of the 'America is the world' view on the history of video gaming. But the important thing is they did put that effort in and it makes Lord of the Sword a…well… a pleasant surprise amongst the Master System's library.