Written by  :  Mickey Gabel (379)
Written on  :  Apr 21, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars

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The ultimate barbarian fighting game, where a moment of hesitation can mean your head - literally!

The Good

Oh, what fun! This game is one of the oldest fighting games ever. Unlike those before it such as the excellent Golden Axe or Double Dragon, in this game is no side scrolling, bash many pitiful enemies. That is NOT the barbarian way. Instead, it is a lot like today's fighting games - two equal opponents have it out, until one of them loses his health or whatever. But Death Sword was way before Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, or these newfangled Tekken, Virtua Fighter and Soul Calibur, with their fancy hardware assisted 3D graphics and FPU's. No siree, Death Sword was programmed and played the hard way, with CGA graphics and a processor so slow it couldn't run a toaster.
But seriously, Death Sword is a very good fighting game. There are many moves, blocks and cool rolls to knock your enemy off his feet. You have to have quick reflexes and even quick wits if you want to kill off the more advanced enemies (they all look the same, but they fight increasingly better). You cal also block your opponent's sword, but you have to block the sword were it hits - if you parry a head shot, then you are wide open for a stomach thrust, and you better believe your enemy, whether human or AI, will take advantage of it.
But what makes Death Sword even more special is the decapitation strike. One second of not paying attention can mean the end of the game for you, and if you use it well and time it correctly, your enemy.
This game is fun, and I still play it today - since it apparently still runs perfectly under modern hardware and on Win98.

The Bad

The interface has one bad point: the left and right keys are right next to each other, with no other key between them, as was almost the standard back then. Imagine using a slanted keypad, when the left and right arrows are right next to each other, and you will get some idea how frustrating it is.
A larger variety in the game play and graphics would be better - the game is fun, but after half an hour its becomes boring fighting the enemies who look all the same, over the same background.
And has anyone ever suceeded defeating the evil wizard? I don't know anyone who has, and even though I tried quite a lot, I can't even get close to it - it's too hard to finish the game, and now I will never know how it ends and if I get the girl. sniff.

The Bottom Line

A great fighting game, the predecessor in spirit to today's fighting games, and still more fun the some of them.