RPG Legion


SpellCaster for the Sega Master System is a somewhat unique game. It has two different modes of play. There is the action mode which is a basically a standard side scroller, where you shoot the enemies with your Ki power (or cast spells). In between the action sequences is the adventure mode. The adventure mode shows a picture of the village, or temple (or whatever) that you happen to be at. At the side of the screen is a menu that lets you choose what to do there. The adventure mode is where you talk to people, and advance the story. It's really a quite interesting game, albeit rather short.

Gameplay: 8/10

As I just mentioned, the game has two different modes, action and adventure. In action mode the game is a standard side scroller. There are enemies you need to defeat, as well as pits in the ground to jump over (and sometimes some other obstacles to avoid). To help you out, you can use your Ki power to shoot at the enemies. There are also a number of spells that you use to help out. To cast spells you need energy, and the only place to get energy is by defeating creatures. When defeated creatures will sometimes leave an orange sphere that gives you 10 energy. The action mode may be a little primitive, but considering the game's age, and the fact that the action mode is only half the game, that's no really a big problem.

In action mode, you'll usually find a boss at the end of each area. Each boss has different attack patterns, and a lot of the bosses can only be hit in certain spots, or at certain times. Generally, however, it's not too hard to figure out how to defeat the bosses. Nonetheless, the bosses are usually fun to fight.

In the adventure mode, you get to see a picture of the location that you are at, and you are presented with a menu with options of what to do. In the adventure mode you can talk to people (if anyone is there to talk to), cast spells, use items, and there are some other options as well. In the adventure mode is where the story of the game advances, and where you figure out where to go next. The main point of the adventure mode is figuring out what to do. It's usually not as simple as talk to someone and have them tell you where to go next. Usually you'll need to try different things in order to advance the story. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out what needs to be done.

A problem I have with the controls is that you need to press pause to bring up the menu to select spells (and as anyone who has an SMS knows, the pause button is on the console not the controller). Of course, a lot of SMS games have this problem, so I really can't hold it against the game too much. Another problem that I can hold against the game, is how you cast spells. In order to cast a spell you need to press down and button 1. If you press both at the same time though I doesn't work. You need to hold down button1 and then press down. It makes it rather cumbersome to cast spells, it also means that you'll occasionally cast a spell when you just want to duck down (and this can be rather annoying).

At the very end of the game, there is another mode of play. I don't want to spoil the game, but this mode is somewhat unexpected, although not breathtakingly special or anything. However, it does add another aspect to the overall game.

To continue the game you need to enter a really long password. The password consists of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and punctuations. Normally passwords like this rarely work, but in this game, I never had too much trouble, but I still recommend getting two passwords in case one doesn't want to work. One problem is that if you make a mistake entering the password, you must reenter the entire password, you can't just fix the letter you entered wrong, considering the length of these password, I find that annoying.

Difficulty: 5/10

Mostly I give the game a 5 difficulty because of the adventure scenes. The action scenes are all rather easy, especially since you can get almost infinite energy to cast heal spells. Later on some of the action scenes are a little difficult, but as I mentioned with an almost infinite supply of heal spells, it's nothing to worry about. The only hard action scene is the Pyramid, which is one gigantic maze. It can be quite difficult to find your way out of it. None of the bosses are particularly hard either, largely because of the ability to keep healing yourself.

The adventure scenes are a different story. Later on it can sometimes be a little tricky to figure what to do. Though it's not a huge problem. When you get stuck, you can just try using every item, and casting every spell at each location you can visit. Still, some of the adventure scenes require some thought to figure out.

This is probably a good place to mention how short the game is. It shouldn't be hard to beat the game in less than 5 hours if you know what you are doing. Even on the first play through, I don't think it would take more than 10 or 15 hours (unless you get stuck in the Pyramid like I did the first time through).

Replayability: 9/10

Personally I think the game has a fairly high level of replayability. The game is short, so if you decide to play through again you don't need to dedicate a huge amount of time to playing the game. Plus the game is kind of fun, and worth playing again every once in a while. The main reason I would suggest playing through a second time is to get all the secret items. The game actually has quite a few secret/optional items. In fact, every weapon and armor in the game is secret/optional, and some can be very hard to find.

Graphics: 8/10

Overall, not too bad of graphics. The picture you see in adventure mode usually looks pretty good. (remembering that this is an 8-bit game). The graphics in the action scenes are pretty well done too. The backgrounds look good, although some of the monsters are fairly difficult to tell what they are supposed to be (but maybe that's the way the game is supposed to be). None of the spell animations are anything spectacular, but they look good nonetheless. The bosses are usually fairly large and look good, but have little animation. They move around the screen, but they usually don't have many frames of animation. However, for an 8-bit game, the graphics are fairly good.

Sound: 9/10

I liked the music in this game, it reminds me of Phantasy Star music for some reason (and that's a good thing). There aren't a whole lot of different themes, but the themes that are there are really good. I especially like the Pyramid music (which is good considering how much time I spent there). As for the sound effects, well I've never known an 8-bit game to have good sound effects, but the effects in this game at the very least aren't annoying.

Story: 9/10

The game has a surprisingly good story (for an 8-bit game, don't expect some epic novel-like story). You play the game as Kane, who has been training at Summit Temple. As the game starts, Daikak (your sensei), tells you of an attack Enriku Temple. Guard were sent there, but haven't returned. Of course it's your job to figure out what happens. That starts off this grand adventure that takes you to out to the sea, to an ancient pyramid, and even into the Underworld. The story is quite well advanced, and you get to learn what is really going on. There are some plot twists that really make the story different than most older games. I found it was a little hard to follow the story in one or two spots though. I think something was lost in the translation (which isn't unusual).

Overall rating: 8/10

I probably would have given the game a higher rating if it were longer, and perhaps not so easy to get 999 energy. I really like the game, and I recommend playing it. It's a short game, so even if you don't like it you won't have wasted a whole lot of time. However, I think it is a good game, and definitely worth playing through once or twice.