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Master of Darkness (Sega Master System) artwork

Master of Darkness (Sega Master System) review

"If anybody is a fan of the 8-bit Castlevania games, than this is an obvious choice for a pick-up. For other people, this is a solid platformer worth a may like it, you may love it, but you won’t hate it. "

The Hunt for the Vampire Begins...

You play as Dr. Ferdinand Social, a psychologist and investigator of the paranormal whom is looking into the abominable murders that have been occurring during the light of the full moon. After receiving an ominous message via his oujia board, he goes down to the Thames River to investigate. This leads to a grand platforming adventure where you battle through 5 levels (with sub-areas) leading up to an epic battle with Dracula himself! During your journey, you’ll hop across moving platformers, kill zombies, and dodge really, really (seriously...really) annoying bats.

Master of Darkness (Sega Master System) image

Castlevania on the Sega Master System

Although the story has a bit of a spin on it, Master of Darkness is an unabashed Castlevania clone plain and simple. Some of the core gameplay aspects really mirror Castlevania with the main and secondary weapon system, how you find power-ups, and the staircases and platforming in the game. A few of the areas in Master of Darkness appear to have been ripped directly from Castlevania like the clock tower. The base storyline is obviously similar as well by having you fight against the vampire threat of Dracula. However, Castlevania was a really good game, so pulling from it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and there are some differences between the two games.

One of the more noticeable differences is that Master of Darkness looks pretty good, being made in 1992 and on a more powerful system. Also, the game is set in England during the Victorian era and has you battle through a slew of different environments from the docks by the river, to a wax museum, to a diabolical laboratory, to the obligatory castle level. The weapon system is a tad bit different as well by having 4 main weapons available: a knife, cane, axe, and a rapier. Each weapon has a different range and power rating, and if you aren’t careful you may downgrade your weapon with a “power-up!” Finally, the difficulty that Castlevania is perhaps famous for is absent here. Master of Darkness isn’t super easy, but is definitely not hard either.

Master of Darkness (Sega Master System) image

Innovation? No, but Solid Platformer Nonetheless

I give Master of Darkness a 7/10. I honestly haven’t played too much of the 8-bit Castlevania series so perhaps the game is a bit fresher for me than for some others, but I liked playing it. I appreciated the fact that the game tried a bit harder than most platformers to tell a story...even if I did question why a psychologist would be fighting against Dracula...but I suppose weirder stories have been told. Some of the enemies are pretty stereotypical, like bats (these guys are annoying), zombies, and skeletons...but the game didn’t really feel stagnant or used. The gameplay itself is decent...I was never really wow’ed by anything, but I definitely enjoyed playing through the game. If anybody is a fan of the 8-bit Castlevania games, than this is an obvious choice for a pick-up. For other people, this is a solid platformer worth a may like it, you may love it, but you won’t hate it.

Rating: 7/10

Never3ndr's avatar
Community review by Never3ndr (April 30, 2014)

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