Demon Sword has hints of greatness amidst the bamboo trees.
While the concept is borderline Ninja Gaiden (instead of being a ninja in the city, you’re a samurai in the woods – kooky!), your attacks – shuriken and darts respectfully – are unique. In order to slay your opponents, you have to combine the two attacks – which would be fine if you didn’t have such a short life bar and a penchant for getting hit. The enemies’ movement patterns are indiscernible, and they always seem to know where to hit you, even when you go out of your way to avoid them.
The key to Demon Sword appears to be patience, but it’s hard when the main character has Sonic the Hedgehog speed and you can jump fifty feet in the air simply by pressing “Up.” Demon Sword is one of the fastest NES action games ever, but Taito, bless ’em, doesn’t utilize the speed properly.
This is the game’s fatal flaw: you can walk slowly through the bamboo forests, killing anyone who flies at your face; or feel like a true samurai and run and jump through the environments, only to die repeatedly. Real masters of the demon sword shouldn’t have to make that choice.
PUBLISHER: Taito DEVELOPER: TOSE GENRE: Action
RELEASE DATE: 03/29/88 – (JP), 01/1990 – (US)