"There Can Be Only One!"
In 1990, Sword Of Vermillion, hit the Sega Genesis, as one of the first RPGS for the console, and while it may not be quite as good as other early Genesis RPGS, such as Y’s III, and Phantasy Star II, it is still a fairly good RPG.
In Sword Of Vermillion, you have been raised by the kind hearted Blade, a former Knight, in the sleepy village of Wyclef. But Blade is dying, and on his death bed he reveals, that you are in fact the Prince of Excalabria. You true father King Erik, was murdered, by the diabolical King Tsarkon.
From here you set out to avenge your family, and reclaim you birthright. But first you will need to claim the rings of power, become stronger, and ultimately obtain, the legendary Sword Of Vermillion, before you can even think about taking on Tsarkon.
SOV, is fairly linear. You travel the world, in a 1st person perspective, visit towns, help them with their problems and complete dungeons. And yes, it is linear, but name a Japanese RPG that does not equal linear gameplay, come on, I dare you, can’t can you?
What SOV has in linear gameplay it more than makes up for with it’s fun, and it’s unique approach to RPGing.( I just made that up;)
SOV, presents lot’s of different gameplay variations. When exploring towns, and in combat, the game presents a 3rd person perspective, while exploring dungeons and the over world, a 1st person view is used.
The battles in SOV, are in real-time, as in most Action/RPGS, but there are also random encounters as in more traditional RPGS. However, the battles are unlike the typical Action/RPG affair. They play much more like Streets Of Rage, as they are presented in a side view, and you have complete freedom of movement. You can attack with you sword, cast magic, from your different “Magic Books”. Or run away, by heading towards the extreme right or left of the screen. Boss battles add a whole other dynamic. In these the sprites are huge on screen, not unlike a fighting game, Boss monsters are always large and impressive, and often have unique strategy involved to defeat them.
The Graphics, are very good, for an early Genesis game. Sprites are large and well detailed. Both in 1st and 3rd perspectives, the Graphics are solid, and truly Sega Does What Nintendon’t. However there are some instances of “palette swapping”. What would an old-skool RPG be without it?
The Sound/ Music, is good. The sound effects are get the job done, but the music as in most RPGS, steal the show. The music in a word rocks. It is so awesome, that it really is a shame it was not available for sale.
The Game tends to be difficult, at the beginning. Which will result in many early deaths.
The linearity of the game may not appeal to some.
The box also lies, with it's dubious 100 hours of gameplay.
Palette Swapping, is fine for monsters, but for the dungeons it kinda sucks ass.
The Bottom Line
Overall, Sword Of Vermillion, is a fun old-skool, RPG, and while it may not have the 100 hours of gameplay, that the box proclaims, it is still a good 30-40 hour fantasy romp.