Best Game Ever – Sword of Vermillion

Developed by Sega (possibly AM2)
Published by Sega for the Sega Genesis
Released 1989

Your father passes away

You know why the videogames of yesteryear are better than the games today: Simplicity. I find myself taking frequent breaks from the overly done games of today to play a game on my old Sega Genesis. After all, why watch hours of passive cut scenes in Resident Evil or Onimusha when I can jump on turtle shells, fall into never ending pits of death or practice killing vampires in the luscious 2D side scrollers I loved as a child? Games made more sense then than the games of today. They were simple. Shoot bubbles at enemies, pop them. Eat the crystals or Cakes that drop and keep going until your rescue your woman. Easy, right? Who wants to play a game where you are the dream of a dead race that might have existed inside of someone’s imagination? Is that plot confusing? It should be and that’s how I felt when I played Final Fantasy VIII.

You maybe wondering what I am getting at. The games of today suck compared to my biased nostalgia and memories of games like Mario 3, and the Adventure of Link or Bubble Bobble. And it is with love for those old time classics in my heart that I am going to pay tribute to one of the best RPG games I ever played: Sword of Vermillion.

In game shot
Split topdown and first person view for amazing adventure!

I can vaguely remember when I was somewhere around 7 or 8 or whatever the hell age busting my ass for an entire summer to buy a Turbo Graphics game system just for the game Bonks Adventure. My Nintendo, while great and having over 200 titles on my basement floor, was no longer cutting it what with Nintendo not making games for it anymore. Well there we were, pops took me to Toy Works and I had 160 dollars. He said, “What do you want?” At the time I couldn’t remember the name Bonk so I was trying to explain the game to them but no one knew what the hell I was on about. What I ended up leaving with, very accidentally, was Sega Genesis. And how.

The 1st game I bought for it was Sword of Vermillion because it was pretty much one of the only games out at that time. The Sega Genesis was still pretty new. They were still running the “Genesis DOES! What Ninten-don’t” ad campaign on TV.

Sword of Vermillion, how I love thee. How clever I thought I was naming my Character “Billya.” My name, in case you didn’t get it, is Billy… but when you’re like 7 or 8 adding the “A” on there was a clever way of pretending my name could sound like it came from a Harryhausen fantasy film.

SoV was an awesome game and tough as shit for someone my age then, but not so today. It’s an RPG of sorts that used a weird overhead mini-map system when moving around and had plenty of randomly
spawning monsters. In battle though it was kind of like the legend of Zelda in that it was real action. And for boss fights it was a side scrolling real time action fight. There was no real strategy per say, but tell that to a kid who is struggling with his multiplication tables.

enemy design abound!

The plot is this: Our adventurer Billya is called to his dying father (or so he thought) Blade. Blade tells you that your real father was King Erik of Excalibra. He and his long time friend and Ally Tsarkon the King of Carpathia were collecting the 16 rings of the gods. 8 good and 8 evil. Of course, like the clumsy fools they were, they started with the rings of evil first and they eventually turned Tsarkon into a total douche, he killed Erik, crushed Excalibra and decided to go after the rest of the rings. To anyone paying attention you might have wonder if the rings of good would have made him become neutral. Well… they don’t. Anyway, Blade escapes with you apparently as a baby along with the Ring of Wisdom (which is a ring of good). Blade tells you to go and get it and begin your quest of ruining Tsarkon’s shit.

And did I? Hell yeah I did. I busted some skeleton ass in that cave, got my ring and traveled on. You pretty much travel the mini map to different locations each harder than the last. You go to a kingdom, meet a king and he either tries to kill you, send you on an errand or both. Eventually you get a ring of good from him. One king was a total cock though: The King of Swiftham, a dirty, greedy bastard. If he represented a real life person I bet he would run a grocery store with 10 dollar potatoes and 2 dollar 8 ounce sodas. Well he makes you go to 3 separate caves to get 3 gems for him. Eventually he gives up the ring. In another town a little girl meets you on the road and you help her out. It turns out she is a giant 2 headed fire tossing demon. You own her ass like a total pimp and she gives you a book of healing. BONUS!

Boss battle

Eventually you make your way to Excalibra and meet an old dude who tells you more of the game’s backstory, and then fueled by the rage of some unknown guy killing the father you never met you go to Carpathia. There’s a hot princess who totally wants you there so in my head I imagined getting it on with her before heading off to take on Tsarkon. He is in a cave, however his area is locked, and in order to get to him you have to fight EVERY boss you fought previously all over again to get their keys to get to him. BOGUS!

In the final battle, like all evil weenies, he offers you his hand in partnership despite the fact that it’s crammed with 8 evil rings and he’s the guy who killed your daddy. You say NO! NO YOU BEAST I WILL DESTROY YOU! At least that’s what I was yelling at the TV. And take him on in mortal combat. 2 men enter. 1 man leaves. Guess who? ME. That’s right bitch! Then I traveled back to Carpathia for some sweet sweet loving in the tender hands of the princess. YES! The end! You are my hero!

Anyway, I still sneak off from World of Warcraft, Halo or whichever of today’s games to find solace of reliving the fantasy in that world of Sword of Vermillion. The game is easy by today’s standards, but goddamn what a sweet escape.

A second opinion by Jay:

I got Sword of Vermillion and Phantasy Star 3 the same Christmas and the next few weeks of my life were RPG bliss. It took the Christmas that gave me Heroes of Might and Magic 3 and Warlords 3 to match such a game saturated holiday. I’d always run off with my new games only to be yelled at by my parents to join in the festivities, as if playing their gifts wasn’t festive. Sword of Vermillion was a very straightforward game and pretty easy compared to the RPGs I learned with, like Phantasy Star 1 and 2. I had a blast with it and it was ultimately more fun than Phantasy Star 3, although I could always tell it lacked a lot. The map system reminded me of Miracle Warriors for the Master System, which was a better game that I hope to enshrine eventually. I don’t remember Vermillion as fondly as Billy, but it was very solid fun.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments