Blades of Vengeance

Rating: B

Fantasy nerds rejoice! At last there's a cool game for you to play on your Sega Genesis. Blades of Vengeance is a platform adventure that will provide you with hours of hack and slash fun. Control one of three brave champions: The Huntress, The Barbarian, or The Wizard. The plot is typical cliche fantasy: Mannax the Dark Lady has conquered the kingdom and it's up to a lone hero to save the day.

Progress through 8 increasingly hazardous levels, fighting monsters as well as gathering the gold and magic treasure that will aid you on your quest. At the end of each level await fiendish bosses such as demons and evil wizards that require both cunning and brawn to overcome. There is a weapons shop between levels where you can buy armor and magic, which you will need if you hope to succeed. In terms of the three characters, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The Barbarian has the most powerful attack, but no magic. The Huntress has a special bow attack, but is not as powerful as the Barbarian. And of course, as you have already guessed, the Wizard has powerful magic skills but is the weakest warrior of the three.

Blades of Vengeance may be played either alone or two-player, and though in two-player mode both characters must always stay close to each other, there is the cool ability for one player to explore ahead while the other remains behind with his game paused, during which time he is safe from harm. Controls are simple. You have a regular attack and a strong attack. Special attacks can be used once you have armor. To activate them, you need only press up on the D-pad until your special charges, then release it with the attack button. Special items such as healing potions and magic wands may be selected by pressing the start button and scrolling through your inventory, then used by pressing "A". Holding down on the D-pad causes you to crouch and block enemy blows. You can also get a glimpse of the immediate, off-screen area by pressing the start button and scrolling around with the D-pad while holding down "C". This ability is especially useful when trying to determine what's below you when standing on a ledge.

The graphics are clean and colorful and there are a good variety of enemies. In terms of the sound, I would have liked to have heard more effects such as groans and clanks and other such little things that might have added to the atmosphere of the game. Just a little more work in this department would have gone a long way. The same can be said for the music, while, though adequate, is fairly generic and nothing too fantasy-sounding or memorable. (Maybe the developers should have played some Cadash or Rastan before setting tunes to this game?)

Though it's nothing spectacular, Blades of Vengeance is certainly worth getting a hold of, a fun and well-designed game that will appeal to fans of the genre even more. Besides, a scantily-clad warrior babe on the cover art? How the hell could you not buy this game? Hubba hubba! Just look at those hips and gams!

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