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Sword of honour
H aiiiiya! Take that! Dishonourable samurai san. You take my sword, I take your life. It's the way of the warrior, so who am I to argue? I either get my sword back or I've got to kill myself. When it's a choice between beating a few lily-livered ninjas to pulp and slitting my own throat, it's easy to decide whose blood is going to be cascading down the oriental pathways.

That's about as much background as you need in Sword of Honour. The eastern hokus pokus tries to give some meaning to the adventure, but really it's just another excuse to put a Bruce Lee fight-alike through his paces. Your warrior wanders round the paths, past pulchritudinous backdrops, beating some people, bribing other and collecting miniature statues of Buddha from monks. Then it's on to the castle to tackle Damion, the East's most devious miscreant, and he's a notorious swordsnatcher to boot.

Budding game?
The game boils down to being a beautiful beat-em-up that requires only a low level of intelligence to progress from one level to the next. Objects have to be collected during your travels – you wouldn't believe how untidy the Japanese countryside is – and then plied on the appropriate person. Most are used to persuade enemies to give you safe passage from one screen to the next, but to get the Buddha statues, you have to find the right object to give to the right monk.

Sword of honour Weapons can be collected to supllement the powe of your samurai's fists of fury, but it's surprising how many times you have to slash enemies with your huge ninja sword before they lie down and die. You might as well threaten them with a potato peeler for all the damage it does. But when a warrior comes at you with an over-grown chopstick, your character crumples to the floor after the first couple of blows. There is no justice. A gruesome ball-and-chain type weapon adds some welcome ferocity to the proceedings – you can flying it straight into your opponent's face – but generally the game's too tame and too lame.

Sword of stone
It's all very simple. Sword of Honour is an OK beat-em-up, but this sort of game has been done many times before and this one doesn't break any new ground. Sure, the backdrops look stunning, but the animation is not particularly special, the storyline is inconsequential and you find yourself hankering for something more – a new twist to the routine of hack-and-slash, a decent puzzle to solve (one that is really going to test your intelligence), some humour, something unexpected. Something that means I'm not going to have to wander up and down beating ninja warriors for the rest of my oriental days.

Bruce Lee die-hards will lap up the game's martial machinations, but by now games should have progressed beyond the usual beat, hack and slash-em-up. Something along the lines of Jackie Chan meets Cynthia Rothrock would go down a treat. A beat-em-up with more class, more style, more substance, more humour, more everything.
Neil Jackson

Amiga Format, Issue 39, October 1992, p.107

COME OUT FIGHTING
Plenty of moves are available to the budding ninja. Here's a choice selection.
Punch right
PUNCH RIGHT
The most basic move, a swift smack in the face.
Crouch punch
CROUCH PUNCH
And a swift one to the goolies for good measure.
Kick jump right
KICK JUMP RIGHT
Or how about a kick in the head? That'll do the trick.
Kick low right
KICK LOW RIGHT
A great move to use against enemies with sensitive toes.
Chain right
CHAIN RIGHT
Whack 'em in the face with the chain. Nice lacerations.
Roll
ROLL
If you're on the receiving end, just roll out of the way.
Sword of Honour
Kingsoft/DMI * £25.99
  • Detailed backdrops give the game a real oriental flavour.
  • Good range of enemy-mangling weapons.
  • It's easy to control your warrior.
  • A password feature would have lessened the game's repetitiveness.
  • You get a terrible feeling that you've seen it all many times before.
verdict: 67%


Ehre wem Ehre gebührt!

Sword of honour logo

Was tut ein tapferer Shogun, wenn ihm das Lieblingsschwert geklaut wird? Na, etweder er begeht Harakiri oder er holt den Dolch zurück – letzteres kann er hier schonmal üben...

Sword of honour Wer jetzt nur ein wüste Karate-Klopperei erwartet, wird, je nach Geschmack, enttäuscht oder angenehm überrascht: Sword of Honour ist ein Game für Action-Freaks mit Forscherinstinkt – in über 50 Screens warten zahlreiche Gegenstände auf ihren Entdecker, die Fundsachen können später gegen andere Nützlichkeiten eingetauscht werden. Geschicklichkeitseinlagen und Unterhaltungen gestalten die Säbel-Suche abwechslungsreich, wenngleich der Schwerpunkt natürlich beim Vertrimmen der Bösewichte liegt. Über 10 verschiedene Tritt- und Schlagvarianten beherrscht der Held, hat er erstmal eine Waffe (Dolch, Shuriken etc.) gefunden, kommen noch ein paar dazu.

Zwar liegen die ersten Gegner relativ schnell auf der Matte, doch geht der Energievorrat im Verlauf des Spiels dann recht flott zur Neige, Macht nix, denn durch Aufsammeln von Nahrung lassen sich die Lebensgeister wieder wecken, außerdem hat man ja fünf davon.

Zu den Stärken des Programms zählt die Steuerung der Held hört auf den Stick genauso wie auf die Maus in Verbindung mit den Icons am unteren Screenrand. Ob man seinen Widersachen nun im Stil von "Barbarian" oder ganz klassisch auf den Leib rückt, immer reagiert das Sprite zuverlässig und flott. Auch die Animationen sind gelungen, die etwas blaße Grafik schon weniger. Und daß es Musik zwar im Titelbild, im Spiel dann aber bloß noch Soundeffekte gibt, ist wirklich enttäuschend, genau wie der Umfang des Games – 50 Bilder sind halt letztlich weniger, als sich das hier anhören mag... (rl)

Amiga Joker, September 1992, p.96

SWORD OF HONOUR
(PRESTIGE)
ACTION - ADVENTURE

63%

"SCHLAGKRÄFTIG"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPASS
61%
74%
48%
63%
82%
64%
FÜR FORTGESCHRITTENE
PREIS DM 89,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
512 KB
2/JA
NEIN
NEIN
ANLEITUNG


Sword of honour logo  CU Amiga Screen Star

They have always been popular but, after a bit of respite, could Ninjas be back in fashion? Tony Dillon dusts up on his moves and finds out whether there is still life in the old genre...

Sword of honour BEATING 'EM UP
There was a time in the heyday of the Commodore 64 when martial arts games were all the rage. Classics of the genre include Way Of The Exploding Fist and International Karate to the more strategic games such as System 3's acclaimed Last Ninja series. Since then, things for the dark vigilantes have been a bit quiet – until now that is.

An Emperor's mighty sword has been stolen by a rival arch-Ninja. With it went his honour and, not surprisingly, he would rather have it returned to its rightful owner rather than lose face in front of his own people. As a result, he has hired you, the best ninja in the land, to get into the enemy temple and do whatever you deem necessary to retrieve it.

However, unlike the many computer game heroes you keep reading about, there is no way you are going in alone.
Help comes in the form of the blessed statues of Buddha. There are four of these beauties to collect – two of which can be found in the first two levels – and they must be placed in strategic places within the temple to open doors, letting you into previously unseen areas and generally helping your progress.

PICK 'N' MIX
DMI's Sword Of Honour (SOH) is a cross between Fist, Last Ninja and Psygnosis' Barbarian. It has all the arcade elements of the second, and icon control of the Psygnosis game. Not only do you get to fight your way through the game, there are also puzzles to solve, maps to make, and one or two objects to use along the way.

The first things you'll notice upon loading are the controls. Picking up the joystick, a wide variety of directional moves coupled with presses of the firebutton sends the Ninja, leaping, jumping and fighting all over the show. So what are all those arrows in the bottom panel for? If you think back to the days of Psygnosis titles such as the aforementioned Barbarian, you'll remember that they were mouse-controlled arcade games, with icons replacing joystick moves. SOH lets you play with either simultaneously, with the left button selecting a non-aggressive move and the right button for more violent gestures. This might seem like an odd thing to do, but it does make for a far more playable game in places where very intricate movement is required, like jumping over a spike, when accidentally selecting the wrong direction could be disastrous.

MAPPING IT OUT
Sword of honour Walking across the first screen, you come across a door set into the backdrop. Pushing up at this point makes your character walk through the door 'into' the screen – which makes a change from all the 'walk left to go right' games we're constantly bombarded with. Each of the levels is made up of roughly twenty screens, and laying them out this way adds a mapping element to the game. Now, not only do you have to do all the right moves to get through the exit at the end of the level, you've also got to find the thing.

A couple of screens on, and you find your first fight. This is where the game begins to stand out from the crowd. SOH isn't a joystick pummeller like most games in this genre. Instead, careful thinking is necessary to lay the most blows on your opponent while avoiding his. Of course, different types of enemy require different strategies. Quick fire, close-up punching works fine on an enemy with a range no longer than your own (i.e. an unarmed fighter), but as most characters carry some sort of weapon (poles, swords, etc.), you have to find the right moment to leap in, attack and then jump out again.

As you can see, the sprites are huge. You may think this won't give you a lot of room to manoeuvre, and you would be right. However, if you are the sort of person who keeps accidentally rolling off screen when the battle is going your way, then don't fear – help is at hand. Tapping the 'return'-key at any point 'locks' the exits meaning that if you're in battle, you can't leave the screen. Tapping it again unlocks them.

Sword of honour GIVE AND TAKE
Along the top of the screen are ten empty boxes. These gradually fill with the items you collect throughout the game – weapons, the Buddha statues, and various other items. These are used to get past some enemy characters thereby saving your energy. The rule of thumb, though, is: if a character has something to say to you, then it's an even bet that there is probably an object somewhere that you can give them to gain safe passage. For example, early on you pick up a fan. Using the fan gives you the message 'Yeah, you feel much cooler'. A little later on a particularly hard-looking Samurai says, 'It's a hot day – beware of the sun'. Bearing in mind that the Samurai is probably roasting underneath all that armour, you give him the fan, which he accepts gracefully. This side of the game adds real atmosphere to an already excellent adventure, and is probably why I'm writing this review after playing the game for five solid hours.

Visually, the game is a scorcher. The attention to detail is astounding, even the way the ninja's jimmy-jams wave when he walks and the way his shadow changes shape depending on his movement. The backdrops are gorgeous from start to finish, going from mysterious paper walls with hints of action shadowed on them, to huge panoramic fractal landscapes complete with trees, waterfalls, and tiny birds flying around in the backdrop.

Sounds are simple but atmospheric. The intro holds the only concession to music in the game, but there are constant background sounds such as leaves rustling, or birds singing that paint a perfect aural contrast to the vicious sounds created in battle. If the Rocky films used a car door slamming to give their punches some impact, then SOH uses samples from the Gulf War. It's been a hell of along time since we saw a good example of this sort of game, and it takes something as good as Sword Of Honour to make you realise that. It's an excellent combat title, but there is so much more than that in there that you would be a complete fool to miss it.

CU Amiga, September 1992, p.p.62-63

WEAPONS GALORE  To begin with, you have only your hands and feet to fight with, which are more than capable for most nasties. During the game, there are stacks of other weapons you can collect to aid you, such as a ball and chain, a sword, shurikens and throwing knives – all of which are there to make your life a little easier. To make things even easier (Ha!) there's loads of food dotted about too, to top up your energy when things are getting tight.

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of disks:
number of players:
hard disk:
memory:
 
August 1992
Combat
Dynafield
Mouse, Joystick
2
1
No
Any machine

 

DMI £25.99
Battles, bartering and blood – cracking stuff.
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
89%
83%
88%
87%
OVERALL 86%