BattleMaster, a little-known action RPG for Sega Genesis, emerges from the shadows of Arena, a developer with a mixed track record. But does this game break the mold and demand your attention?
Graphics: A Humble Beginning with Room for Improvement
In terms of visuals, even for an early Genesis title, BattleMaster leaves something to be desired. The characters appear rather diminutive and lack the detail that could make them more distinguishable.
Backgrounds, while serviceable, don’t exude the vibrancy one might expect. Yet, it’s worth noting that the introduction and death cinematics are surprisingly well-executed, offering a glimpse of the potential that could have been further explored. The map screen strikes a balance between aesthetics and functionality, marginally outclassing titles like Super Hydlide.
Music: A Sonic Triumph That Steals the Show
Where BattleMaster truly shines is in its musical score. Though not extensive in its variety, the pulsating electronic soundtrack manages to impress. The sound effects, notably the satisfying clash of swords in melee combat, enhance the gameplay experience.
Gameplay: Striking a Balance Between Depth and Accessibility
The standout feature of BattleMaster lies in its unexpectedly intricate gameplay mechanics. Players commence their journey by selecting both race and class, shaping their character’s capabilities, troop count, and initial HP.
What sets BattleMaster apart is the inclusion of a group of up to 14 troops that accompany you. This introduces a unique twist to the action RPG genre. Combat mechanics remain straightforward, allowing for both melee and ranged attacks.
While the control of troops isn’t flawless, it adds a layer of strategy. Players have the option to choose from various formations for their troops, and the ability to rally them if they begin to stray.
Length and Challenge: A Test of Endurance and Skill
BattleMaster doesn’t hold back in terms of difficulty. With seven expansive locations to conquer, the game offers hours of gameplay. The availability of multiple routes, races, and classes adds a significant layer of replayability.
However, the saving mechanism, reliant on an unwieldy password system, leaves much to be desired.
Overall Verdict: Uncovering a Hidden Gem
Scoring an 8, BattleMaster’s challenge may prove to be a deterrent for some players. Nevertheless, it stands as an ambitious title for its time, offering a unique take on party control mechanics. The tagline “Fight your own battles” provides a glimpse into the innovative gameplay that would go on to influence later series like Star Ocean and Tales.
Embark on an epic journey with BattleMaster, where commanding a formidable party sets the stage for thrilling action.
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