Saturday, March 18, 2023

Sword Of Kadash (part one)

Fortress Of The Dragon

For almost a decade (wow, that long?) I have tried to play as much of a game (as possible) before attempting to write a humble review. In light of that revelation, I'm going to do things differently for this next game and shall post here as I progress through. Hopefully, I won't get stumped and give up - yikes, that would be embarrassing!

Without further ado, here is possibly the first episode of a mini-series for what appears a modest-looking action RPG (and I'm being kind there). It's called Sword Of Kadash that was originally released on lesser computers back in 1984/5 before finding its true home right here for the Atari ST in 1986 thanks to Dynamix /Polarware, Inc.

It was developed by Kenneth L. Hurley and if that name sounds familiar then maybe you came over to the Atari ST around the same time as myself? Do you remember the graphical demo 'Monarch'? Yep, that simple animated screen was mind-blowing to witness. I was new and couldn't get over the impressive power of my new 16-bit computer!

Anyhow, enough waffling by me. Yes, you guessed it, it's time for some funky screenshots...

Update: part two of my gripping playthrough is ready to view!

The start screen is one of the prettiest in the game with a lovely tree... However, it's all visually downhill afterwards. Hey, don't be too quick to rush off before looking around and umm maybe switching the control system? Joystick works great.

Ah, you started off well I see! This is the screen that proves just how sneaky the game can be. Wait, what was that flickering that I saw? Did you see it? Well, I think you should go and investigate that flickery wall. You never know...

Yeah, a secret room with a couple of weapons. Wait, I'm getting that sneaky vibe again! Which weapon?

What is this game about?

We are a traveller looking for his fortune in Persia but the local thugs had other ideas. The only way they will let me go is if I enter the Fortress of the Dragon to find a sword. You've guessed it, the Sword Of Kadash, which is guarded by a dragon called Aladag. A myriad of rooms is waiting to be explored but beware of the many hidden dangers!!

Upon loading, I'm instantly reminded of the Apshai games due to (ahem) modest visuals and top-down display style. Getting around is easy thanks to effortless joystick controls and you're immediately thrown into the thick of it with the opening rooms offering a glimpse into the type of dangers that lay ahead - secrets, weapons, traps and monsters.

It plays to be cunning but it's also tough figuring out what is the right thing to do. Screenshot time...

There are many different types of treasures and here I can see a chest. But it's a room full of nasty critters that are also incredibly tough to kill. So, shall we waste effort killing them for a chest? Or leave it and scarper?

Hmm, now I've already got a sword, which is a fantastic weapon but this room has lots of daggers and picking them up provides experience. Be careful, one of them might be booby-trapped? What shall you do?

It's now that you should use magic to nip down and grab that scroll. Watch out for traps!

So what's my plan?

Well, because the "dungeon" is massive, I know this won't be completed anytime soon. Inside are many rooms with numerous traps, items, cursed items and bizarre monsters just itching to be slaughtered. My progress is slow but the adventure is addictive and gratifying. What appears a humble game, isn't. Most monsters are bigger than me in size and strength - but don't feel the need to fight all battles, sometimes it's best to grab the loot and run.

So, the plan is simple and one that I'm sure you've already guessed? Yep, I desperately desire to complete a full map of the Atari ST version of Sword Of Kadash. I've already begun this massive task and it's made playing the opening screens so much better. Plus it's now easier to identify traps, hidden walls and cursed items. Gaming like we did as kids ;)

Yep, mapping is fun but time-consuming so don't wait up! Hey, do want some more screenshots...

Sword Of Kadash has a cruel game designed to be learnt by the player bit by bit. I say it all the time, but I don't think you can get anywhere without making notes to remember the different pick-ups. Argh, many are cursed!

Wow, there was a hidden passage! However, to my right, is an invisible wall blocking me.
Wanna grab the loot?

Doing so, these two goons appear. That invisible wall means we have to be sneaky! Run...

The CryptO'pinion?

Wait, this ain't a review. This is simply the first stage of my Sword Of Kadash playthrough. Well, I hope you have enjoyed scrolling through what I hope is the first of "many" articles about my progress. This game is indeed huge but there appears to be a method in its madness thanks to the way xp and hit points are earned. It's a bit (umm) different.

Yes, I'm loving every second of what I can imagine some might assume aged and ugly? Older gamers won't mind, but the younger folk shouldn't be put off by the amateur visuals. Plus, it appears to have been designed with replay in mind. Ie, you will die so make notes as you explore deeper into the fortress - to aid progression in the subsequent attempts.

Download it and see where the adventure takes you - let me know in the comments below?

I'm heading back into the dungeon but, before I go, I'd like to greet PP for helping me out with a number of ST hacks recently (cheers big man). Right then, wanna see what I've mapped so far? The image below is just a thumbnail so click on that to view the hi-res image! Tell me what you think of this ancient yet fascinating RPG in the comments below...

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