Spellcaster (SMS)

Spellcaster Box Art


System: SMS

Release Date: September 1989

Developer: Sega

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Action Adventure

Sega wasn’t afraid to try out different genres on the Master System, which is apparent with Spellcaster. What we have here is a mixture of action and adventure, with neither done particularly well. I guess this is an anime adaptation that loses out because of its translation. You are Kane and since your 13th birthday, you have resided at the Summit Temple where you’ve learned all matters of the ancient arts of war.

There are two types of screens. First, the adventure screen, where you see the scene in front of you and have a number of options on how to interact. Only one of them will work at any given time and you need to find the right action that trips the next encounter. Sometimes this is simple, other times you’ll scroll through all of your options until you stumble upon the right one. There are a number of spells that can be cast by praying to certain gods and these are often the solution to the problem in front of you. Other times it’s an item that you’ve recently picked up that must be used in order to defeat what blocks your path.

The second type of screen is the action screen. This is a side scrolling affair. Kane attacks with his ki blast with Button 1. He’ll need to clear obstacles in his path and avoid enemies and their projectiles by jumping with Button 2. When you pause the game, you can choose from one of the many magic spells. These are activated by charging the ki blast by holding Button 1 and then pressing down on the d-pad to unleash the pain.

Bosses are prevalent and are usually made up of the Izumo clan, who are out to stop you from your quest. You have to find the weak point and then learn to avoid the attack pattern of the boss at hand. These were pretty simple after learning to take your time and not try to rush them.

I only made it about halfway through the story before I tapped out. You need to collect Strength and Energy in the sidescrolling action portions. Strength is your health and is replenished when enemies rarely drop blue balls. Energy is used to cast spells and is replenished with the rarely dropped orange balls. I got to a point where I needed magic to fly over lava pits that automatically kill you. I didn’t have any way of easily gaining the energy and kept dying. This is when I decided to call it a game and just let the temple burn.

Graphics: 1.5

The action graphics are bad. The adventure graphics are typical anime.

Sound: 1.0

The music and sounds aren’t impressive in the least.

Gameplay: 1.0

The action stages are very basic. Magic isn’t very often used outside of boss battles. The adventure scenes have no real nuance to them.

Difficulty: 1.5

You have unlimited continues, so die all you want. Trying to figure out the logic isn’t even that hard, it just can take time as you have to keep clicking through the menu.

Fun Factor: 1.0

It’s really not that fun. The action scenes are boring and the adventure scenes leave a lot to be desired.

Overall Grade: 1.2

Spellcaster earns a D+. This is a world where ramen is spaghetti and that’s just not a world I’m ready to live in.