The Let's Play Archive

Sword of Hope, The

by ddegenha

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Original Thread: Once Upon a Time, a Man Died: Let's Play Sword of Hope



It's That Time Again!

Hello out there in SA Land, I'm back for another LP after taking a short break following my LP of Bahamut Lagoon. For this occasion I'm taking a step back in time to take a look at an RPG from the dawn of the Gameboy Era.

Title Music

Our newest offering dates from 1989, and had the distinction of being one of the earliest RPGs on the Gameboy along with Final Fantasy Legend. It was produced by Kemco, a rather obscure gaming company in this day and age that used to be bigger. In the 80s and 90s they were responsible for games like Spy vs. Spy, Drakkhen, Dragon Wars, the Top Gear series, and Shadowgate. It's a very simple game, with some excellent music.

If you wanted to describe Sword of Hope, you'd probably do worse than to call it Shadowgate crossed with Dragon Quest. Anybody who grew up during that period might well remember seeing this box on store shelves.. well, in English. The US and the European releases were pretty much simultaneous and had identical covers except for language.

For once, however, I think the US and European markets got the better end of the box art deal. Seriously, how likely would you be to buy this?

The game's interface is very simple. Up at the top of the screen we've got our character information, followed by an image of the current room and our gold and experience totals. The commands at the bottom right are how we interact with the game, while the lower left corner shows our available paths.

Each room in the game has its own image. A dot in front of an arrow means that moving in that direction will result in an enemy encounter. It's possible to avoid encounters by moving in a direction away from an encounter and coming back later.

Enemies appear on a blank white screen, with a limited selection of commands. This game does have an auto-battle function, if you're in a hurry. Escaping is generally not worth the trouble.

Equipment is limited to one weapon and one armor. We've got three stats, with the first two visible here. Dexterity affects how much damage you do to enemies, while stamina reduces damage you take. Armor and weapons simply increase these two basic stats.

Agility affects damage you cause using magic. Our hero's name is Theo (no input here!), and he's a fairly balanced type with a lot of magic eventually becoming available.

The game is kind enough to let you see how much experience you need for your next level at any time. There aren't any real choices you can make about developing your character, but the ability to gain levels shows the difference between this game and something like Shadowgate.

When I say basic, by the way, I mean VERY basic. Sword of Hope doesn't have a battery to save your progress. Instead, you have to visit a character in the game and get a password. I have fond memories of having a half-dozen or more passwords written down on various pieces of paper while playing this game.

How shall I do this?

As you'll soon see, this game's story is fairy tale-like... so that's how I'll be telling the story. Narrative will be in plain text, while mechanics information will be in italics. I'll be taking this LP and any future ones a bit slower, shooting for about 2-3 updates per week. Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts.

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