MAGIC SWORD / Capcom / Arcade
In the early 1990s, it was hard to find an arcade where the sounds of Magic Sword's BOOYA! BOOYA! BOOYA! were not wafting through the air. Nearly two decades later, however, it's just hard to find an actual *arcade*, and when you do it's usually just a repository for overpriced racing cabinets and the latest flavor of Dance Dance Dance Danceathon. The game was popular, but has gone on to become one of Capcom's forgotten franchises, never getting any kind of a follow-up game. Recently it was released on the Xbox Live Arcade, however, so who knows.
Anyway, there are some endearing qualities about it, but honestly it probably deserves to be forgotten for the most part. It's a balls-out hack-and-slash fest that doesn't have much of a concept of defense, dodging or really anything but constantly swinging your sword at a non-stop wave of oncoming foes. As such it's a major quarter-sucker and seems more about plundering your pockets than anything else.
It's kind of like Taito's earlier arcade hit Cadash, but really simplified and geared more toward action. One or two players play as nearly naked barbarians who yell a hearty BOOYA every single time they swing their swords. There's also an assortment of partners characters can pick up - ninja, wizard, etc. - who follow you along like a "shadow trail" and help attack the enemies. These guys are sprung from locked doors you see along the way, yelling some really hilarious Engrish such as "Get rid of me!" and "Evacuate me!" The other interesting oddity is that the game offers 50 levels, but you can start at any 10th level. The downside to starting closer to the end is that there's an experience system which makes both you and your allies more powerful as you go, so you miss out on levelling opportunities by skipping the earlier levels.
The game is fairly smooth and fun to play, but does frequently seem cheap. Enemies usually don't respond to your sword swings in typical arcade style, especially bosses, so you get a lot of unavoidable retaliatory hits, and there's such a constant wave of traps and oncoming enemies there's a lot of cheap hits as well. All by design, of course, since this is an arcade game and the goal is to drain your change as much as possible.
The game is alright for a run for two players every once in awhile but really doesn't offer a lot of substance to keep you re-playing. Even for 1990 it also looks a little uninspiring graphically. The music is pretty decent, but the BOOYA BOOYA BOOYA does get on your nerves after awhile.
* Gameplay Video