Best not to touch this one.
RELEASE DATE: January 1990
Leave it to a game I’ve never heard of to defy all my expectations. Demon Sword, a fast-paced, slice-and-dice action game has hints of greatness amidst the bamboo trees, but falls flat in a couple key areas. 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 are unique: the “B” button throws a shuriken, while the “A” button throws darts. In order to truly slay your opponents, you have to combine the two attacks, which wouldn’t be bad if you didn’t have such a short life bar and a penchant for getting hit. To be fair, the enemies fly around all over the place and it’s pretty hard not to get hit, even if you’re avoiding them as much as possible. The key to this game would seem to be patience, but it’s hard when you Sonic shoes on and you can jump 50 feet in the air, simply by pressing “Up.” Seriously, this is one of the fastest NES action games I’ve ever played, but Taito, bless ’em, didn’t know how to handle the speed of the character. This is Demon Sword‘s fatal flaw and a Catch-22: you can walk slowly through the bamboo forests, killing anyone who would fly at your face and acquiring delicious power-ups, or you can feel like a true samurai and run and jump through the environments, but you’ll die a lot quicker. You shouldn’t have to make that choice, and a pox on Taito for forcing you to!