Genre: Action Developer: Shueisya Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1 Released: 1989
Mystic Defender was one of the first adventure games released for the Genesis back in ’89. The game looks and plays like a Genesis sequel to the SMS game Spellcaster, minus the RPG elements (in fact, both games are based on the anime Peacock King Kujakuo). Mystic Defender is a very good game, and is still one of the better Genesis games in existence.
Mystic Defender is the story of Joe Yamato, who has been given the job of infiltrating Azuchi Castle and rescuing the daughter of the supreme deity Alexandra. Seems Alex has been kidnapped by Zareth, a warrior determined to revive his dark master, Zao (which looks like a giant tree of organic material that shoots out flying fish-tadpole things).
The game is played from a side view perspective, similar to Castlevania and other side scrolling games. The weapon system is set up like R-Type, with a power bar that you use by holding in the fire button (which powers up the standard weapon to a really powerful attack). Joe picks up special weapons as the game progresses – Psycho Magic, which shoots out three fireballs at full power (you start with this), Flame Magic, which envelops Joe in a in a cloud of flame and shoots out a controllable flamethrower (you find this in level one), Sonic Magic, which shoots out six balls of power (at full power, four balls bounce around the screen and smash into enemies. You find this in level two). Then there’s the most powerful magic of all, Thunder Dragon Magic, which summons a giant three headed dragon that destroys everything on screen with two giant blasts of fire (this can only be used once, but you find them scattered throughout the game). There are also two other icons to pick up – a red symbol, which lets you power up your weapon faster, and a blue symbol, which replenishes one life block.
The graphics are excellent for such an early game. The attention to detail, especially in Joe’s design, is great! The creatures are also designed very well (a really good boss is the flying priest that turns into a giant slug-like creature with the priest for a head). The control is very good, though it’s a little tricky trying to jump onto platforms sometimes, and it’s been remarked that Joe really needs a diagonal firing system. The music is also good; it’s very atmospheric and really seems to fit the game.
An interesting note: Mystic Defender has the only bit of officially Sega-sanctioned NUDITY in a Genesis game! If anyone remembers the controversy surrounding the old Genesis game Stormlord (Razorsoft wanted nude fairies in the game, but Sega said no), it’s kind of a surprise to see a naked girl in a Sega game! When you encounter Zao, Alexandra is stuck on top of him (presumably Zao is draining her life force). She’s visible from the waist up, and she’s topless. . . then when you kill Zao, he slides down into the ground, leaving Alex floating in the air, encased in a bubble. As Zao slides down, it’s revealed that Alex is totally nude! Granted, she’s only about an inch and a half tall, but it’s the principle that matters.
Mystic Defender is a great game, worthy of a purchase (if you can find it; it seems that older Genesis games are getting harder to find as time goes on). Still, it’s a worthy addition to anyone’s Genesis library.
SCORE: 8 out of 10