Magic Sword (マジックソード Majikku Sōdo ), full title Magic Sword: Heroic Fantasy, is a side-scrolling arcade action game released in 1990. The game casts the player as "Brave One", a heroic swordman who must journey to and fight his way through a mystical tower in order to confront the dark lord, Drokmar, and destroy a magic orb which he plans to use in order to rule the world. The game was ported to the Super NES as a single-player only version, and the Arcade version is included in Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. An enhanced version with HD graphics and online co-op play was made available as a package bonus with Final Fight: Double Impact for download in April 2010.
The gameplay consists of side-scrolling fighting, with some platforming elements. The player controls only the main character. The accompanying ally is controlled by the computer, who follows the player diligently and only attacks and jumps when the player does. The player is allowed to carry one item that can assist him or the current ally.
The player has a magic meter. It fills up while the player is not attacking, but it empties completely each time the player attacks. If the player attacks when the meter is empty or is blue, the player can only perform a melee attack when the standard attack button is used. Magical allies like the priest and the wizard will not attack in this situation. If it is red but not full, the player and any magical ally teamed up with him will perform a weak ranged magical attack alongside the melee attack. If it is full, the player and any magical ally teamed up with him will perform a strong ranged magical attack alongside the melee attack. Non-magical allies will attack when the player attacks regardless of the status of the magic meter.
The player's health is displayed as a set of five HP bars and a number next to the HP bars that counts the number of sets of five full HP bars beyond the ones that are shown on screen in case the player has more than five full HP bars. The ally has a separate HP meter that maxes out at four HP bars.
Full screen attacks can be performed either instantly when a magical book is collected or on demand at the cost of one full HP bar.
There are 51 floors to fight through in the game. Eight of these floors have boss characters at the end, including Drokmar himself at the end of the 50th floor. Additionally, there are seven "Secret Doors" which allows the player to bypass levels when specific maneuvers are performed.
A long time ago, a powerful sorcerer known as Lord Drokmar was seduced by the dark powers of the Black Orb (ブラックオーブ Burakku Ōbu ), who promises eternal life to its wielder, and attempted to cover the world in darkness to create a lightless hell on Earth. A brave warrior of light, however, stopped his plans and confined the demon inside the 50-floor tall Dragon's Tower (竜の塔 Ryū no Tō ). For unknown reasons, however, the brave warrior was unable to fully destroy the Black Orb at the time.
Now, suddenly the Black Orb has returned to its master, and Lord Drokmar has ressurected from within the tower alongside an army of ghouls and demons from Hell. The influence of his magic spreads across the lands as Drokmar resumes his plans to capture all light within the Black Orb and rule over a darkened world. The hopes of the inhabitants once again rests on a brave warrior determined to fight against the armies of Hell throughout the 50 floors of the Dragon's Tower, defeat Drokmar and shatter the Black Orb once and for all. However, is he the right person? can he resist the temptation presented by the Black Orb?
After defeating Drokmar, he will tempt the warrior with the power of the Black Orb to become immortal and control the world, and the player is able to choose whether or not to shatter the Black Orb, giving the player a choice of two endings. Taking the orb results in the warrior becoming corrupted by the power and turning into the new Dark Lord, which is listed as an instant game over. while refusing it shows the warrior destroying the orb and thus ending Drokmar for good, banishing evil from the world and restoring peace to the land.
- Brave One - Alan the Brave (勇者アラン Yūsha Aran ) (age 24, 184cm, 85kg) - The main protagonist of the game. Alan is a 24-years old barbarian-type hero armed with a sword. He lives in the village of Maura with his mother, who was once a dragon slayer herself. Alan carries the same blood as a descendant of Estoril of the Yvette Clan (エストリルのイヴェット一族 Esutoriru no Ivetto Ichizoku ), but this fact is only known by his mother's adopted father and village elder, Ris (リス Risu ).
- Belger the Brave (勇者ベルガー Yūsha Berugā ) (age 25, 188cm, 92kg) - The 2nd player character. A violent thug that's very easy to anger, but in his chest runs the blood of a knight who helps those in need. His father was the last knight of King Mutra (ムートラ王 Mūtora Ō ), and he went down together with Harlar Castle. His mother died of illness when Belger was only 2 years old, after which he was taken in and raised by the village elder Ris. He has been a warrior on an adventurous journey for the last 3 years, and just recently returned to his village. Belger's backstory was only given by Gamest, since the Super Famicom port scrapped him due to the removal of 2-player gameplay. He shares his name with the final boss of Final Fight.
The allies who can join the player during the quest include:
- Amazon Sara (アマゾネス サーラ Amazonesu Sāra ) (age 19, 165cm, weight unknown) - An adept archer and one of nine female warriors from the Amazon country who left for the Dragon's Tower seven months ago following a revelation from the elder's crystal. As the party saw the tower at the distance, they felt the power of darkness and couldn't move anymore, but Sara encouraged them to keep going. A talented archer, her crossbow fires 2 bolts at a time. Low firepower but high speed. At Level 8, her bolts are engulfed with flame.
- Ninja Gai (忍者 凱(ガイ) Ninja Gai ) (age 27, 172cm, 62kg) - The young head of a ninja unit serving Shogun Nobunaga. Under orders to find the "Overlord Blade, Samurai Sword" (覇王の剣, サムライ・ソード Haō no Ken, Samurai Sōdo ), the whole unit scattered across the entire world. When Gai regrouped with them at the Dragon's Tower, he found out only 14 out of the 108 members were there, including his two close subordinates Sasuke (サスケ) and Saizou (サイゾウ). Fast but not so powerful, Gai can throw 2-5 shurikens that bounce around floors, walls, and celings to hit enemies. He shares his name with Guy from Final Fight.
- Thief Derek (シーフ デレク Shīfu Dereku ) (age 21, 173cm, 60kg) - A member of the Western Thief Guild. Under orders of the guild's chief, Dahl (ダール Dāru ), the group sought out the treasures hidden in the Dragon's Tower, but one thief unknowingly unsealed the monsters within, and before long the group was thrown into chaos by the power of the demons. Derek was the only thief able to resist falling into confusion, but still remains trapped within the tower. Armed with a dagger and 1-3 bombs, Derek can also detect hidden or booby-trapped treasure chests.
- Priest Ariol (僧侶 アリオー Sōryo Ariō ) (age unknown, 175cm, 65kg) - A priest on a study jouney. During his journey he arrived at the city of Erun, a mountain town with a panomaric view of the Dragon's Tower. Feeling an ominous air, he went to the local church and found a group of nervous priests getting ready to leave. After hearing the tower's story from one of the priests, Pascin (パスキン Pasukin ), Ariol felt God's guidance and decided to join them. Slow and weak, Ariol creates holy bullets into a rotating barrier around him that can be launched to seek enemies and deal double damage to the undead.
- Big Man Uuma (大男 ウウマ Ōotoko Uuma ) (age unknown, 223cm, 210kg) - An inhabitant of the village of Tanree, separated from Alan's village by a day on horse. Its members are all mild-mannered people who uses throwing axes for hunting and as weapons. They were among the first to react to the tower's strange aura, sending 19 men to investigate it, Uuma among them. A strong and endurant ally, Uuma uses a slow but powerful throwing axe that returns to him when thrown like a boomerang.
- Wizard Niura (魔法使い 二ウラ Mahōtsukai Niura ) (age 87, 169cm, 60kg) - A powerful magician. For several months, more and more wizards started to feel the omen about the upcoming incident at the Dragon's Tower. Using astral magic, Niura reports this incident to dozens of disciples scattered across the entire world, and he himself ventures into the tower with two disciples, Aruga (アルガ) and Tarool (タルール Tarūru ). Niura has the strongest attacks but is slow and frail, he conjures magic missiles that rotate in a barrier around him and can be fired in multiple directions. The wizard lowers his hood from Level 4 and above.
- Lizardman Ryugo (リザードマン リューゴ Rizādoman Ryūgo ) (age unknown, 220cm, 100kg) - One of many lizardmen who gathered at the Dragon's Tower after feeling the Dark Lord's ressurection, and now serve the powerful darkness. Unlike the other demons who can't survive far away from the tower, the lizardmen possess the strength and force of dragon knights. Although serving the power of darkness, lizardmen have also a latent admiration for the power of light that can destroy it. Strong and quick, Ryugo is an enemy that can be bribed into an ally only if the player holds a diamond ring as his special item. He throws 3-4 swords that pierce through enemies. The lizardman can also be found as a prisoner, but only on a few floors.
- Knight Lothar (ナイト ロタール Naito Rotāru ) (age 30, 189cm, 90kg) - A knight from the Rama Dynasty, the strongest battle state in the world under Emperor Rama III (武帝ラーマIII世 Butei Rāma San-sei ). Lothar is 2nd Commander of the Royal Palace Order, an elite knight unit admired across the border for its fighting spirit and feared for its strength. The unit is known as the "Blue Order" (青の騎士団 Ao no Kishi-dan ) due to their uniform's color. During a reconaissance mission around the Dragon's Tower with a team of 5 knights and his subordinate Keith (キース Kīsu ), Lothar encountered a group of priests led by Ariol. Lothar is the strongest ally, he can throw 1-3 spears that pierce through enemies, and can only be found in the upper levels of the tower.
- Chimera - Boss of the Tower Entrance (Beginning). This chimera is actually a spiritual projection created by Lunge Bungo, the boss of the 12th floor.
- Coral de Armadell Prince-elector (コラル・デ・アルマデル 選帝侯 Koraru de Arumaderu Sentei-kō ) - A child born from a civil servant of the Visigothic Kingdom, Marks (マルクス Marukusu ), and Keena (キーナ Kīna ), a normal town woman. At age 12 he discovered he had dragon blood flowing within him and ran away. Afterwards he met with Lord Drokmar and, in awe of his majesty, became one of his followers, taking residence in the Dragon's Tower. He confronts the heroes in the 4th floor, displaying great pride about his dragon heritage before transforming into the Gold Dragon (レッドドラゴン Reddo Doragon , lit. "Red Dragon").
- Chieftain Lunge Bungo (族長 ルンゲ・ブンゴ Zokuchō Runge Bungo ) - Born the prince of an ancient and prosperous kingdom from Africa, Lunge Bungo's childhood was without problems, but once he reached adulthood he got involved in a war for succession and hid himself in the jungle before collapsing. Saved by a passing Drokmar, he swore allegiance to him henceforth. He's faced in the 12th Floor, fighting the heroes out of boredom in the form of the Skull Chimera (メイジキマイラ Meiji Kimaira , lit. "Mage Chimera").
- Emerald Dragon (グーリンドラゴン Gūrin Doragon , lit. Green Dragon) - A large green/emerald-colored dragon faced in the 17th Floor (29th Floor in the SNES version). He's the younger brother of the Red Dragon and fights the heroes in an attempt to clear away his brother's regrets.
- High Priest Long Yan Dong (大僧正 竜眼洞(ロンイエントン) Daisōjū Ron Ien Ton ) - The son of a magician from Ancient China's Yin Dynasty. He learned magic since an early age, surpassing his own father in skill at age 9. At age 15 he found two large poisonous insects he named Tarōmaru (太郎丸) and Jirōmaru (次郎丸), and in order to feed them he started a temple named after himself as bait to gather food from those who assembled there. When the insects reached adulthood, however, they turned on Long Yan Dong and, although he managed to kill them, he lost his life as well. Lord Drokmar appeared before him as he wandered the Netherworld and revived him and the two creatures, offering him a place on the Dragon's Tower in exchange of his services. He's faced in the 24th Floor, grateful he has no need to hunt food for his "sons" as he sics the two Celestial Serpents (キングクローラー Kingu Kurōrā , lit. "King Crawler") at the heroes.
- Kupisnika the 2nd (クピスニカII世 Kupisunika Ni-sei ) - The eldest son of Kupisnika the 1st, king of the Ancient Chavín civilization from South America. After succeeding the throne, the young king realized the country's affection was entirely directed at his younger brother, and in a fit of jealousy slaughtered the whole nation, ending his unhappy life as well. Lord Drokmar reincarnated his soul inside the Dragon's Tower as a member of the dragon clan. Confronted in the 36th Floor, where through Drokmar's power he summons the soul of Coral de Armadell and fuses with him to become the two-headed Hydra (ダブルドラゴン Daburu Doragon , lit. "Double Dragon")
- Shinto Priestess Galgariani (神官 ガルガリアニ Shinkan Garugariani ) - A priestess who has served Lord Drokmar well before even his banishment into the Dragon's Tower. For a very long time she has sought to bring her master back to the world, and finally succeeded in ressurecting the Dark Lord. Originally a cleaning servant working for the Gods of Olympus, her long journey began the moment she accidentally happened upon the Black Orb, becoming the catalyst for all following events. She guards the 49th Floor, where the door leading to Drokmar's "Illusory Palace" (幻魔宮 Genmakyū ) is found. Having waited a century for a pure and brave man to serve as a fit sacrifice for Drokmar, Galgariani fights the heroes by turning into the Queen Chimera (メイジキマイラ2 Meiji Kimaira 2 , lit. "Mage Chimera 2").
- Lord Drokmar (魔王ドラクマー Maō Dorakumā ) - The main antagonist, a sorcerer who obtained the Black Orb and gained the position of Demon Lord of Darkness (闇の魔王 Yami no Maō ), ruler of the Dark World (闇の世界 Yami no Sekai ). He desires to lead the world into darkness by capturing all light within the Black Orb, and thus rule over both the light and dark worlds. The only way to stop the process is to defeat him and destroy the Black Orb. He's the game's final boss, awaiting for the player at the 50th and final floor of the tower.
During development, Capcom was going to program the gameplay, so the player could have up to two allies (four in total in a two-player game). The hardest part of the game was the placement of enemies in each stage. One of the last features implemented in the game was the secret doors. The Super Nintendo version was announced in the 1992 Winter CES.
- The game shares many gameplay similarities with a previous Capcom side-scrolling game, Black Tiger, and is often considered a spiritual successor.
- On both the 38th Floor and secret 45th Floor, "The Creation of Adam" can be seen in the background. This detail was removed in the SNES version.
- Alan the Brave, Derek the Thief, the Chimera, Lord Drokmar and two minor enemies are featured as characters in Adventure Quiz: Capcom World 2. Priest Ariol later made a minor cameo in Dr. Strange's ending in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- Alan was one of the available characters in the canceled RPG mobile Capcom Super League Online.
Arcade Version [Staff]
Game Design: Y.Ohnishi, T.Sadamoto, Y.Okamoto
Character Design: Kurisan, K.Kitayama, E.Nishihara, T.Saramoto
Art: Y.Fukumoto, M.Kawamura, Y.Maruyama
Title Design: S.Yamashita
English Story: S.Maxwell
Program: Y.Egawa, Y.Tsunazaki, S.Okada, Y.Oronishi
Special Thanks: Poo, A.Yasuda, Nin Nin, K.Yokota, H.Minobe, Y.Ohji, T.Kuhara, T.Matsunaga
Presented by: ©Capcom
SNES Version [Consumer Staff]
Character: Yamazou, Zizii, Hyper Bengie
Title Design: Ikki
Soft: Imo, Yoshilim, Kanekon
- NOTE: Kouji Murata is uncredited for boss and enemy programming for this version.
Merchandise and Advertisements
- Gamest #52: Magic Sword Full Strategy Guide (October 30, 1990). "Magic Sword Color Illustrations", pg. 6-7
- Gamest Extra Vol. 81: All Capcom (October 15, 1992). "Capcom Game Character Encyclopedia". "Protagonists" section.
- Magic Sword (May 29, 1992). Japanese Super Famicom manual pg. 13-34