Sword of Vermilion
Description official descriptions
The "cousin" of Sega's RPG Phantasy Star II, Sword of Vermilion is a role-playing game with action combat in a medieval-fantasy setting.
A third-person, top-down perspective is used to move around towns. A first-person view is used for overland travel outside of towns. A third-person side view perspective (a la Double Dragon or Final Fight) is used for the combat sequences.
The player is cast in the role of an ordinary young man who discovers that he is really a prince, and the son of the deceased good King Erik. He is charged with traveling around the land of Excalabria to collect the eight magic Rings of Good, defeating a number of boss enemies on the way to confronting the evil King Tsarkon.
- ヴァーミリオン - Japanese spelling
Credits (Genesis version)
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Average score: 67% (based on 17 ratings)
Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 25 ratings with 2 reviews)
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.
Genesis · by MasterMegid (723) · 2006
It's tough, but playable. The overall routine is quite fun, find out in which direction I need to travel from townsfolk, find the one that has the map of the route, complete a dungeon or cave if necessary, then move on to the next town and repeat the routine. It's very linear, in a good way, there's only a bit of backtracking. The overworld consists of a primitive map, like early Ultima games, divided into quadrants, but you also have first person view, in fact the overworld, not just the dungeons, is like a giant maze with trees and stone pillars, actually resembling Space Harrier in the first person view(released by Sega about 4 years prior).
The town/village graphics strongly resemble Phantasy Star III's, which came a few months later. The towns and villages are cute, resembling dolls and doll houses. I think the dungeons play quite well, part of solving them usually requires finding a map in the dungeon itself, like in Zelda games. You need to have a light source in a dungeon, but you find better ways of creating light as you progress e.g magic spells. One interesting thing is the spellbooks, you buy a spellbook rather than learn a new magic spell. If you don't think you need a certain spell anymore, you can sell it, the way you'd sell redundant weapons and armor.
There isn't any real need for grinding in this game, I think the fighting has been planned out so that you're never completely out-classed by your opponents(if you are, you're probably going the wrong way).
The background music is often impressive too, nice and melodic, but also hard rocking at times. One of the credited composers is Hiroshi Kawaguchi(Hiro) whose composition credits include Hang-On, OutRun, Space Harrier and Fantasy Zone.
The story is thin. It can be thin and still be good and the story of the evil warlord Tsarkon has its moments, things get revealed as you go, like you're solving a mystery, but like a lot of early RPGs e.g the first three Phantasy Star games, your dialogue with the townsfolk, which is really what tells the story, is pretty unrealistic. It's mostly "kill monsters to advance to the next town", a town tour.
So the game is playable and doesn't require grinding, but I'd still strongly recommending relying to save states as the combat system isn't exactly great. One false move and you can get caught under a hail of blows and die. Another problem is the combat magic, it would make sense to be able to switch spells during combat, depending on the type of opponent and the how many of them there are, but the game doesn't allow that, you have decide which spell to have at the ready, before the encounter. I also think the development team has too many laughs at the player's expense, putting in too many fruitless dead-end paths or worthless equipment that puts you under a curse. Then there's the matter of the sword of vermilion itself and the way it's hidden from the player. Maybe the developers think they're clever, that's highly debatable. And there's also that other "clever" puzzle involving sleepy Dr. Basil.
The Bottom Line
It's probably about as good as the first three Phantasy Star games, even better in some ways. The play routine is pretty satisfying and there's a little bit of decent story, backing it up.
Genesis · by Andrew Fisher (695) · 2018
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Game added by PCGamer77.
Game added June 10th, 2002. Last modified November 29th, 2023.