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Mystic Defender

Ah the early days of the Sega Genesis.  In those early days Sega was the only one supporting the system so they could not afford to be picky with the games they brought over.  These would also encompass games based on anime or manga that next to no one was familiar with.  In the case of Mystic Defender, it was based on the manga Kujak Ō.

Mystic Defender was released in 1990, part of a second wave of Sega Genesis releases.  The story takes place in an alternate Japan where demons and magic exist.  The sorcerer Zareth has kidnapped a woman named Alexandra to use as a sacrifice to resurrect the god Zao.  Apprentice sorcerer Joe Yamato (god that is generic) is dispatched to keep this from happening.  I didn’t make the connection at the time I saw it but the anime Peacock King, itself an adaptation of the manga Kujak Ō depicts the same events as this game.  A sequel to little known Master sytem game Spellcaster, it ditches the role playing elements of that game for straight action.

A platform action game, you control Joe through 5 stages of maze like action as you slay demons on the way to the exit.  Your only means of attack are the spells you receive as the game progresses.  All spells need to be charged first, represented by a bar.  The power, range, and duration of a spell are determined by how long it was charged, adding an element of strategy to the proceedings.  Since Joe is still learning you’ll either receive magic after clearing a level or find them as you go.  Some end up being worthless (rebound spell) while others are insanely overpowered like fire.

The only power-ups available are health items, a screen clearing lightning spell, and an item to shorten casting times.  I said the levels were maze like; although most of the levels are rather short, they are full of twisting hallways and looping architecture that require some navigation.  Luckily there isn’t a time limit so you can explore at your leisure.

There’s nothing wrong with the game so much as it shows its age.  The controls are a bit stiff, which is at odds with how fast you move.  The rigid jumping will frustrate the hell out of you as you try to make precision jumps.  One missed platform will drop you back as far as the beginning of the level.  While the magic you have is useful I wish there were more spells to liven up the action.  There is some variety in your spells but it’s very easy to use one spell for the entire game.  The bosses are the only things that pose any real challenge in the game and that is being generous.  Combine the short length with no real challenge and you can probably finish the game in 20 minutes.

There are far better action games on the system but that is to be expected considering the platform was viable for 7-8 years.  I can remember thinking this was the coolest game in the world back in 1989 but now it doesn’t stand the test of time.   You would be better served playing something Gunstar Heroes or Dynamite Headdy.  This game sort of acts as proof of just how far developers were able to push the Genesis over the years, something that I miss seeing.

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Yes she’s completely butt ass naked.  They didn’t give a damn it seems.

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