Gaming History 101

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The Countdown Obscura Horror – Day 2: Master of Darkness

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DAY 2: Master of Darkness

Master_of_Darkness_CoverartThe Sega Master System how I do love this 8 bit system. You know poor Sega never got Castlevania until the Mega Drive/Genesis so it was up developer SIMS (Soft development Innovation Multi Success) to fill that void. How this developer is still going to this day I don’t know, but I’m going to boldly state that Master of Darkenss is the best game this company developed. Other honourable mentions include the Dreamcast port of House of the Dead 2 and the best fishing game ever, Sega Bass Fishing on the Dreamcast and later the Wii.

Now before you Americans shout at me and say, “its actually called Vampire: Master of Darkness,” I will politely remind you that in Europe the “Vampire” part was removed.  Maybe because of censorship, similar to how Ninja Gaiden turned into Shadow Warrior, but this is not always clear. Vampires were scary guys in the 90s (so were ninjas for that matter). In Japan this game was In the Wake of Vampire and it also came out on Game Gear.


Now the Master System is well know for its match page terrible box art, but Master of Darkness blew us all away by presenting a fantastic art piece. You have the main protagonist standing up against Dracula as he unloads the armies of Hell from his cloak and it looks amazing. This cover is so epic in scale that when you put it on the shelf next the the rest of your boxed Master System games, they’ll probably fall of the shelf in sweet surrender (that or your place is haunted and you probably need to call someone to get that checked out).

master_of_darkness_2Once you fire up this bit of 8 bit awesomeness you discover you’re playing as the psychologist Dr. Social who is investigating a series of Jack the Ripper inspired murders in London only to discover Dracula. Not only did SIMS solve the unsolved mystery of who Jack the Ripper is but this is probably the first game ever where you play a psychologist and a finely Victorian dressed one for that matter.

If you’ve played this game or looked at screen shots you’ll most likely be already shouting about the similarities to the infamous Castlevania series, at least the original on NES. The similarities are very apparent, from the mechanics of the stairs to the last fight being with Dracula. If you’ve played both you will probably side with Castlevania being the superior game but Master of Darkness really does deserve more credit. For starters you have the glorious palette of the Master System making this game look over the top colourful which kinda works. Did I mention you play a psychologist in this game? You can switch your primary weapon so your not just walking around with a whip all the time you can also use a hammer, an axe or just rely on your trusty dagger. If that’s not enough you can use your secondary weapons like your trusty Victorian pistol or bombs because explosions right? In all seriousness even with my fan boy boner for Master System its impossible not to compare this game to Castlevania.


Regardless of the comparisons Master of Darkness is a fun game you can quite easily get through in an evening. It’s not perfect, Dr Social seems to walk through this game like he’s taking a casual stroll, then again he is wearing a fine suit so maybe he doesn’t want to get it too messy. He also seems just a tad to tall for the platforms he’s navigating as well. You do explore some very interesting levels, I love the opener which has you walking through the streets of London in a more accurate Victorian setting that Ubisoft could learn from for Assassins Creed. You also explore a house full of wax dolls, which was quite creepy for a 8 bit game.

Master of Darkness gets the level design and setting down and despite the systems limitations the soundtrack is not bad to boot either. I love the fact I can just boot this game up and finish it within a hour. Definitely worth a look and also you play as a psychologist. Did I mention that part?

Obscura Horror Verdict: Under a hour of Victorian styled fun filled monster slaying

Written by jamalais

October 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

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