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Sword of Sodan (Sega Genesis)

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Sword of Sodan (Sega Genesis)
This wretched port is the proof that even before EA became infamous for their greed, they still couldn't challenge everything.
Genre(s): Beat 'em up
Platform(s): Sega Genesis
Release: 1990
Developer(s): Innerprise
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Country: United States

Sword of Sodan is a game developed in 1990 developed and published by Discovery Software in 1988 for the Amiga line of computers.

This article will focus on the Sega Genesis version, which was published by Electronic Arts in 1990.

Why It Sucks

  1. The character sprites for the main characters were completely remade from scratch. While the male hero looks better than his looks the Amiga, the female character looks awful, with the head being too disproportionately large for her body. She also looks nothing like her Amiga counterpart.
  2. The graphics look good, but in motion looks really terrible, the sprites of the enemies barely move, the main characters animation frames don't reach the double digits, and the final boss in his wizard form has at best one.
  3. The controls are awful.
    • The characters have really slow and awkward attacks.
    • Jumping back never works, because the same combination, is used to turn around, despite the existence of another way to do it (by pressing back and the attack button).
    • The fact you cannot turn around freely is also annoying.
    • Jumping, in general, is also not very responsive as sometimes the character jumps much less than it should have.
  4. Beyond atrocious collision detection, the game only registers hits at specific distances and with specific moves, this is especially noticeable with giants, who despite being large, the game only registers hits on them, when using the upwards slash and at every close distance.
  5. There is no invincibility after hit, which means you can lose all your energy in seconds. There is invincibility after you lose a life, but it only lasts half of a second.
  6. Few but extremely annoying enemy types:
    • The lance soldiers have a lot more range than you and appear in massive numbers, they also come from both sides, and if that happens, you will lose lots of health, the best technique to deal with them is crouching and mashing the attack button to stab them as fast as possible.
    • Ax soldiers are slightly better due to their shorter range, and only appear in one stage, but they appear also in massive numbers and from both sides, so the same tactic as with the lance soldiers is to be used.
    • Flying demons are small and weak, but they are extremely hard to hit, as they flight outside your range and get close to you, the best way to hit them is using the upwards slash (up + attack button).
    • The giants are easily the most annoying enemies, the only attack that registers hits is the upwards slash, and that's only if you are really close, they also attack faster than you, and you must slash them twice to force them to kneel, and then slash them twice again to behead them, however, if you don't do it in time, they get up and recover all the health lost, they also come always in pairs.
    • Zombies are just a pain in the ass, they come in massive numbers, and go through you while dealing damage slowly, and when killed they send a chain of 3 big energy balls that is really hard to evade.
  7. The sound is horrible:
    • There is no music except for the title screen and when you beat a stage (which sounds like it belongs in an Atari 2600).
    • The game is filled with awful sound effects mainly from grunts of enemies, and especially from the flying demons.
  8. The blood effects are awful, the colour makes it look like ketchup, and just like everything, it's barely animated.
  9. The shield that existed on the Amiga version was removed, which means you cannot block, making the Genesis version harder than it should be.
  10. The mechanic of potions, feels like is there more as an anti frustration measure, however even it has some problems:
    • The orange potion (magic zapper ability) only hits one enemy on the entire screen, and you have close to not control which, so it's better to save it when fighting giants, or the final boss.
    • Red potions are called Vitallium, so it makes you think that these will restore your health, but what they do actually is increase your damage, it's actually the hydronium potion (the blue one) the one that restores your health, also the effect is pretty much unnoticeable.
    • You can also mix grey potions with the other potions to obtain different effects, however only one and a half of the effects are good: the life up (red+grey potions) useful, the elemental weapon (orange+grey potions) doesn't seem to have much use as just like the regular red potion the effect is not very noticeable, and the shield aka blue+grey potions) seems very useful until you realize that the flying demons can still hurt you even while having the shield.
  11. You cannot jump and attack at the same times, which makes the combat annoying, especially taking into account the flying demons and giants.
  12. Every level is worst than the last:
    • Level 1 is a basic level but it has an enormous amount of enemies, sometimes from both sides
    • Level 2 is similar to level 1, but is filled with spike traps everywhere, which force you to go slow and makes the entire stage tedious as hell.
    • Level 3 is where the game starts to become hell, the flying demons start appearing, and massive amounts of axe soldiers, and you finally meet the giants who ambushed from both sides for the only time in the game.
    • Level 4 is just an endless onslaught of zombies which you cannot kill fast enough without them getting in contact with you, and it's almost impossible to cross without losing some lives.
    • Level 5 is just plain awful, it's filled with giants, but what's worst, it's filled with instant kill pits that you can't possibly know are there, and of course, the giants can push you there, much worst is the fact that you have barely any space to attack them, due to the pits.
    • Level 6 is just abominable, it starts with an onslaught of flying demons, after that, you are ambushed by an old man that throws energy balls endlessly, next you get to the most awful part, in which massive fireballs travel across the ground come from off the screen, giant pillars try to crush you and giant instant kill spikes come at random from the floor, then you must cross magma rivers by jumping in moving platforms with terrible detection that can lead to instant kills, while still dodging the fireballs, and if you manage to reach the end you must go and kill the boss who spat fire at you during the entire stage, and he dies in 3 hits.
    • Level 7 is the final boss fight against Zoras, and has 2 phases, the first phase is a giant monster who constantly spawns flying demons in groups of 2, and throws you 2 energy balls at once (especially when you are at a decent distance), attack you with his claws and contact damage and he is only vulnerable when his belly becomes red, the problem is first the flying demons constantly annoy you, second his energy balls are really hard to dodge and the absolute worst part is that Zoras has a metric ton of health, so much that the fight can easily last: 7 ENTIRE MINUTES, of course, if you survive that long.
    • The second phase has Zoras in his human form, throwing a barrage of energy balls, your best choice is simply to crouch and mash the sword button as fast as you can.
  13. The difficulty even in easy is a complete nightmare, but only for the abysmal design of the game, which includes, ludicrous amounts of enemies, cheap death traps, broken enemy hitboxes and slow controls.
    • You only have 7 lives and no continues, at least you can increase your number of lives with a combination of potions.
  14. Both characters have differences that are barely noticeable, supposedly the female character is faster while the male deals more damage, but after trying both, it felt like using the same exact character, and sure as hell the game doesn't tell you about these differences.

The Only Redeeming Quality

  1. The game's graphics look decent (not counting the awful animations).



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