Written by David Kudrev
The SEGA Master System was quite a unique console, especially with it’s titles, and later in the years (as in the mid 90’s) many 3rd party companies continued to develop titles for the platform, take Tectoy’s port of Street Fighter 2 for example. Due to the overwhelming competition that SEGA had with the NES in the 8-bit era, it was hard for SEGA to bring out original titles that would win audiences over. Sonic the Hedgehog was the exception naturally, and whilst talking about big-named platform titles, another title, which never got to see the day on SEGA’s 8-bit console was Castlevania.
No worries, the Japanese company SIMS developed Master of Darkness instead (aka Vampire as it was called in Japan) for both the Master System and the Game Gear portable console.
The storyline, is that you play as a psychologist by the name of Dr. Social, who was investigating the Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian England. (which evidently has more than one Big Ben?)
Along the way you will be battling thugs, bats, rabid dogs, zombies, and floating lady ghosts with quite an arsenal at disposal.
No whips in this game, but you do have the likes of knives, stakes and fencing swords, as well as secondary weapons like boomerangs, bombs, and a pistol. The game feels great, the controls are solid, graphics are quite atmospheric as you wander across London in the night, the music is quite groovy/gloomy which definitely pulls you in to the overall presentation.
After defeating Jack the Ripper (which is the level boss for Stage 1), Dracula then makes an appearance, mocking you about how Jack was under his spell, so off you go to the next level which is the House of Wax. After that you wade through wave after wave of enemies throughout cemeteries, clock towers, laboratories till you reach the Master of Darkness himself.
The only negative thing I can say about the game, is that if you die somewhere at a level, you have to start from the beginning of the level, and these levels are quite big too. 5 stages segmented with 3 rounds for each.
With the challenging factor aside, Master of Darkness was probably one of the better clones of Castlevania on a console which doesn’t start with the letter N and ends with intendo. All in all, it was a solid platformer for the Master System with a decent challenge, and atmosphere to boot.
4.5 out of 5
– Graphics & Sound
– Music is pretty boss yo!
– Controls were great
– Solid clone of Castlevania
– no mid-level spawn points (when you die, you’re back at the start of the level)