Fantasy of the Sord


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Rating: 4.2/5 (77 votes)
| Comments (43) | Views (108)

MarcusFantasy of the SordFantasy of the Sord is a classically styled adventure game and a finalist in our 6th Casual Gameplay Design Competition. In answer to the call of the competition, Klint Honeychurch has taken the theme of "exploration" and given us a sweet little nugget that harkens back to the early days of console gaming; a time when a flurry of pixels was as well-designed as the high-polygon count, 3D models of today.

The story behind Fantasy of the Sord is a simple and familiar one: the gods have selected you as their champion to rid the land of an evil that has come over it. No questionable motives or complex character development, just good versus evil. Begin your quest by selecting a character, the choice of which is inconsequential and purely for aesthetics. Use the [arrow] keys for movement, [X] to use your equipped weapon, [Z] to cast the selected spell, and [S] for the in-game menu. The menu is where you can select your weapon, select the spell you want to use, or save the game's progress.

Traversing the world is achieved in a standard platform style. You'll have to negotiate ladders, jumps, moving platforms and other hazards that will hinder your progress through the game. You will face creepy-crawlies such as spiders in the trees, bats, and big bugs. Luckily, a couple of swipes with your weapon, and they're history.

A variety of weapons are sprinkled throughout the land that you will find. Some that will deal great damage and recover slowly, others that are quick to use but deal only a small amount of damage. Learn to know which is the right tool for the job at hand. Spells are much more elusive, though, becoming available only after defeating one of the boss creatures in the game. Some spells will allow you to heal from damage and even teleport from one part of the screen to another. These spells are a nice addition to the game, and you will have to learn to use them well if you are to be able to collect all the different weapons in the game.

Fantasy of the SordAnalysis: Those who might turn their noses up at the retro appearance of the game will miss out on an extremely enjoyable adventure that embraces the theme of "explore" with all its might. The design affords the player some freedom of choice where to explore, and yet does a good job to nudge in the direction necessary to complete goals. Fantasy of the Sord so perfectly emulates classic adventure games in both graphics and gameplay that it will feel nostalgic to anyone familiar with them. This game could have fit in very well with other adventure games on the consoles of the 80s.

The creatures follow predictable paths, there is no complex AI hiding underneath the surface. Spiders move down out of the trees when you hit a certain point on the screen. Bats slowly come down to your level and follow you. Bugs simply scurry back and forth along their platforms. Everything you find is true to its classical heritage and serves to create the illusion of a true retro-fantasy displaced in time.

Aside from a couple of grammar issues, the only real criticism I have is the choice to hide the relative strength of each weapon from the player. With such a large number of available weapons, some visual indication of the characteristics of each weapon is needed, even if it was apparent only after the weapon was collected. While some of the fun may be to try different weapons out on the various denizens of the world around you, some sort of damage scale would have been nice.

For an excellent exploration experience and a flash back to a simpler time, look no further than Fantasy of the Sord. The retro-styling, excellent game design, and spot-on controls really make this game shine bright.

Play Fantasy of the Sord

43 Comments

This game is awesome, and should have beaten Grandfather hands down. I actually like retro graphics.

Even if the weapons don't have stats, the enemies, or at least the bosses, should have life gauges. Then it would be possible to compare weapon strength.

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Yay, FotS! We all like you!

@ganondorfchampion: enjoyed this one so much (though I didn't get to completing it). Think I beat two bosses.

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This game and Explorationland ought to have been in the final three. Fantastic games. Great review.

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The music is so addicting. O_O I played it during the competition and I still can't get the music out of my head. XD

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LittleLight Author Profile Page November 24, 2009 11:49 PM

Great game, great review, and the graphics will have you dreaming of beating Pitfall at the arcade.

I'm very glad the review mentions problems with GRAMMAR... not particularly because this game is the most miserable example of grammar failure (it really isn't), but because the casual game world in general doesn't seem to give a rat's-axe about clean, polished text. I understand that this is often an ESL issue, but sometimes it's just laziness (or representative of the End of Good English). Drives me crazy.

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Am I missing something here? I thought the grammar quirks were all part of the retro package, making fun of japanese-to-english translations. The game title seems to suggest this...

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I can't even get by Mr. Blockhead. O woe is me lol.

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Has anyone

beaten the final boss? Or has anyone found the 2nd sword from the bottom left-hand corner of the screen? I can't help but feel like they're related...

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@Little Light

He made it clear in the description that the grammar was deliberate.

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I beat the last boss.

Don't use teleport or the boss will bug out and you'll almost certainly die instantly.

Not really that great. It was just a larger stronger square dude.

It was fun, but I really wanted to try out the last weapon that I grabbed causing the credits to scroll. I wonder if it's different for different characters. I was the rock man.

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The 2nd sword from the bottom left-hand corner of the screen

is at the left of the beginning of the game. After you know how to "fly", go to the leftest of the game. There you can also find the secret boss, which is much harder to beat compare to the final boss. The sword

is not required for beating the final boss.

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Mar, I'm in exactly the same position as you...

Some weapons (such as the scythe) stun him enough so that he only moves forward very slowly - using the technique of doing nothing but hammering X and healing whenever he gets close enough to knock me back, I've hit him well over 150 times, but nothing seems to have any effect. It's got to be something to do with the missing sword - either that or he just isn't beatable :(

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(sorry for the double post!)

Morrison:

That's the second sword from the bottom right, not left.

But, does this mean you beat him? Please, tell us how!

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Just beat the game and saw some of you were having troubles with the final boss. I used the 3rd from the right sword on the bottom row (looks like a twisted staff) and got on his left hand side, just kept hitting him, running, healing and hitting. After less than 20 hits he died.

Once you beat him, if you continue, you start at the beginning and you can use the final weapon (looks like a boxing glove on a spring).

I played as a wizerd and once I won I was given:

an invisibility spell which allowed me to walk through enemies while I kept the spell button down, but drained my magic pretty fast.

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Sorry, I wasn't very clear in my last post. I meant

the secret boss left of where you start, not the "final" boss that you get the fly spell from.

I have two theories, which I can't seem to implement.

One:

one time I made the secret boss fall of the screen by falling off one edge, respawning, and then quickly teleporting to the left. Unfortunately, I also had a million bullets flying at me from the two flying circles, so I died right afterwards and couldn't confirm whether or not that killed him

Two:

I have every single "sord" except for the one 2nd from the bottom left. Maybe I'll only get that final sord when I finish the secret boss. Since the title of the game is the "Fantasy of the Sord," maybe I have to hit the secret boss once with every single sord...but I can only get through maybe half the sords before he kills me. Can somebody who has more skills than me try this and confirm?

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OK, I just found out that

for the secret boss, if I fly back up to the platform on in the upper right-hand corner, the secret boss will try to squash me and will fall into the pit. BUT...this doesn't "defeat" him.

I've also tried

hitting various parts of his "cube body," like his forehead, his back, and his underside, to no avail. Very frustrating!!!

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how do you get the whip sword in the first level?

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Desincarnage November 25, 2009 9:13 PM

This is strange. I keep getting cool swords from ennemies, but these do not seem to add to my inventory. What's up with that?

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@ Mar

Im stuck at the same point where you are

I'm at the

secret boss, and i tried everything! But nothing works on him. I also kinda guess that the weapon, second bottom from right has a connection with it. But i can't find it. And i can't get past the block's second jump! I somehow alsway get stuck underneath him with his second jump. Aargh! Agrevating!

Can someone help us!?

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It seems that the enemies that give you weapons only do so when they are the first enemy on a screen to be killed. Otherwise, you see the weapon flash but don't get it.

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edit:
With the words "But i can't find it" i mean i cant find the connection between the secret boss, and the weapon you get before the boss.

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Same situation, i am missing the one heart upgrade and one weapon, maybe they are in the same unfound place, if it was just a weapon missing i would suspect you get it from the final real boss but the missing heart makes me wonder.... does anyone have all heart and magic upgrade??

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CommanderJim November 26, 2009 9:06 PM

Why am I finding so many weapons and ladders that I barely can't jump to? Do I have to find another way to get to them, or is the platforming just really hard?

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For anyone who is having trouble with the "final" boss (the small white cube in the clouds:

Equip the sixth sword in the second row of your weapons inventory. For your spells, equip "Earthquake" and make sure you have a full green bar before heading into battle. As soon as the cube is in pursuit, cast Earthquake once, then again (if you're lucky you can kill the floating white spheres he summons as well). Then take the sword and just start stabbing away at him. Keep enough distance to avoid being damaged but just stab like crazy otherwise, and the battle should end soon.

@ JIGguest:
You'll have to

defeat a third grey cube boss in order to receive the "teleport" spell. Without it, you will not be able to bridge that gap between you and the whip. Personally, I thought it was well worth it, even if that weapon's rather weak - it's got one hell of a reach for faraway items.

And as soon as I got it, I started living out my personal pixellated Indiana Jones fantasy. :p

@ David:
Yeah, I've been everywhere and am still short one heart block from a full health bar - I'm pretty sure it rests with the post-credit boss.

@ Mar, Marty:
I feel your pain! I can't seem to beat him either. :c

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I found a bug/cheat:

Defeat any boss, and you'll receive a new spell. DO NOT pick up the weapon he drops, instead, leave the screen and re-enter, and the boss will come back to life. Defeat him again, and you'll get another spell - you can repeat this until you have all the spells.

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zbeeblebrox Author Profile Page November 28, 2009 2:28 AM

@ Desincarnage: Yeah, I had the same thing happen. What's up with showing sword symbols after killing enemies if you don't get those swords? But I was able to beat the final boss fine with just the scythe, so whatever.

Great retro game. VERY NES, esp. with the flat black background minimally covered with patterned sprites. SO many games did that. And the music was beyond awesome.

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Shadow Ninja Ben Author Profile Page November 28, 2009 10:42 AM

@ zbeeblebrox and desincarnage: When you kill enemies, they occasionally drop weapons. if you get them w/ your weapon, you do not acquire it. you must walk over it to pick it up. if you accidentally hit it with your sword, go out of the room, come back in, and kill it again. it'll drop it again and again, which gives you another chance to get it.
hope that helped :)

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I'm pretty sure the grammar errors were on purpose.

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FungusTrooper November 30, 2009 12:30 PM

I'm in the same boat as a lot of people seem to be.

Spoilers if you haven't beaten the game:

I'm at the secret boss, the wall of death - I found that you can teleport under him when he jumps to drop on you, but that only works half the time - sometimes he actually doesn't raise high enough for there to be any space under him at all, killing you instantly, and other times he'll chase you so close to the edge you actually have to jump off the edge to survive his ascension, but it's next to impossible to be coordinated enough to teleport under him after that happens.

You can also use "invisability", but this drains your mana too quickly.

I'm using the bottom right weapon, and I must have hit him possibly 80 times before dieing on my best run, only to get chased over the edge and have the boss clip into me.

Anyone know if he's possible? Maybe someone can hack it and find out, if the owner doesn't post soon.

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FungusTrooper November 30, 2009 12:32 PM

Spoilers for those who haven't beatn the.. final boss and gotten the bottom right weapon:

The secret final boss seems impossible imo. You can teleport or invis under him when he jumps, but sometimes he doesn't jump high enough and clips you instantly, and other times his radius gets messed up and he ends up chasing you off the edge of the platform. I had a very lucky run and must have hit him 50+ times with the punch glove, to no avail.

Bah, I wanted to finish this :(.

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@FungusTrooper

One way to "beat" him is:

as soon as you see him, run to the right and "fly" up to the platform with the ladder. The boss will almost get you, and will drop down into the pit.

But, this doesn't actually beat him. He doesn't die and if you move off of the screen and then back again, he'll be back to pummel you.

I've returned back to this game every couple of weeks just to see if I can't think of something new that I haven't tried before. I don't think he's beatable...

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For the secret boss:

i used the bottom right weapon, the rose looking one. It hits about three times per swing. Also, if you jump then attack, the weapon attacks slow enough you can move your character slightly back without turning face. the block always seems to go high enough when you hit it enough so you teleport under it. My problem is I always end up turning my character after a while and dying, but the method seems consistent. Ive gotten about 30 to 40 whacks this way but no death.

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I found a way of getting the hard-to-find second weapon on the lowest row.

I edited the save file to give it to myself, since I couldn't find it honestly in the game! (Sorry.) It looks like a broad-bladed sword with a serrated edge and has a long recovery time after striking. It's not a good weapon for boss fights.

At least it is built into the game. Dunno where to find it, though.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a way of defeating the secret boss even by cheating with save files :(

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I finally couldn't take it any more, so I used a .swf decompiler to extract the script. I feel I should state for the record that I've since deleted all ripped content and will not be distributing or reusing anything from the game; I certainly don't want to steal anything from the author, just get some closure on a game I really like. :)

Anyway, this is what I've found. It's not all good news I'm afraid:

The secret giant boss is

technically beatable, but has 10,000 hit points. By way of comparison, the final pre-credits boss has 300. Even if you did manage to kill him, nothing special would happen: He doesn't drop a sword or spell, and would respawn as soon as you left the room.

The missing sword (bottom row, second from left) is

supposed to be dropped by one of the flying orbs in the cloud temple area, but for some reason it doesn't appear.

And the last health bonus is

non-existent - there are 17 health slots, but only 16 heart powerups in the game.

So, to sum up:

Sorry folks, either by design (to fit with the slighty-shoddy-poorly-translated-retro-game aesthetic,) or due to bugs, the game just isn't beatable. It would be great if Klint Honeychurch made a fixed version - I really enjoyed the game, and would love to get some closure on it ;)

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@David S

Thanks for finding all of that out man. It was really frustrating me!!!

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@David S

for the research, at last I can be at peace

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Haha, I just realized something!

To create a game that inspires players to deconstruct the swf file and read the game's script...well, that just suits the "explore" theme almost perfectly!

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Anonymous December 4, 2009 1:00 PM

How do you fly? And how do you get sord on platforms that are just that little bit too far away??

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Those weapons that enemys drop but you dont get: if the enemy dies and the wapon flashes above our head instantly, you didn't get it. You picked them up with your wapon, so leave the screen, come back and kill them with your fist sword. The weapon should fall, and then pick it up yourself.

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confused April 17, 2010 4:25 AM

how DO you fly? also, how many bosses are there? i have all but four swords on the bottom row and 5 spells, including teleport and earthquake. am i missing a boss who is supposed to drop a spell "fly"?

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I got "fly," but how do I get to the "cloud" region? I beat 3 bosses: Lava Cave, the Bloody Temple (where the half-ladders are), and one off to the bottom right of the map.

Giant White Cube: is that the secret boss?

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Great game! Castlevania meets Ginormo Sword. I loved the character and enemy design, although the bosses and backgrounds were a bit boring at times. Also, I somehow beat the boss with the ball and chain weapon first, which became my go-to weapon for almost the rest of the game.

@Sahai Thanks for the tip, I was stuck on the white boss but the "slow sword" did the trick.

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Also, I'm pretty sure the "grammar issues" were intentional, given the game's title.

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