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Swordquest games, were they actually good?


zzip
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I was a fan of Adventure-type games on the 2600, like Adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc. When Swordquest came out, it seemed right up my alley. At first I was really into Earthworld, reading the manual, the comics, going through the game and trying to figure out its puzzles. But it would always end up doing the same thing over and over again, not getting anywhere, so I got bored. I tried Fireworld, but I liked it even less.

 

Plus it was frustrating because the slightest touch of a moving wall meant you had to start over. And people complain about the pits in ET, or that ET seemed to have no point! In fact my argument as to why ET couldn't be the worst game ever made was because games like Swordquest exist :)

 

But maybe I'm wrong. Just like ET isn't a bad game once you understand how to play it, maybe the same is true for Swordquest? Anybody enjoy these games? What's the secret to enjoying them, and not getting hopelessly frustrated?

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I haven't gotten around to them yet because my impression was always that they're kind of pointless outside of the original contest. I'm not sure if there's other goals in them that would make them worthwhile today. I'll play them eventually and see what they're about.

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N to the O.

 

I got it as 12 year old and don't think even as a 47 year old I fully understand it yet. :lol: From what I do understand it seems terribly underwhelming, i.e. lousy mini-games aside, you have to "place the correct objects in the correct rooms".

 

pretty much my experience. I got this after Raiders of the Lost Ark. My friends and I had a blast figuring out that game's secrets. I was hoping for more of that with Swordquest, but I never could make much progress. I was always left with this nagging feeling "maybe I'm not smart enough to figure out Swordquest!" more like 'not patient enough' lol.

Edited by zzip
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I'm not sure why or how, but I had Earthworld and Fireworld BITD. They must have been dirt cheap and thought they were going to be more along the lines of E.T. or Raiders. Could have cared less about the contest* and was disappointed that the games were even more abstract. Struggling to find anything nice to say about them besides the box art, and the way stairways were drawn and animated. Guess I thought of them as mini-game compilations of sorts and *tried* to enjoy when I was bored, but it wasn't Pac-Man or E.T. that made me start shying away from the VCS by then. It was shit like the Swordquest series. ;)

 

*Even back then knew *I* wouldn't win, nobody ever wins these things and/or was just some stupid marketing ploy. Turned out I was right on all counts. :lol:

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I really enjoyed them back in the 80s. I never really knew what I was doing, and never came close to finishing them but I thought they were fun. I'm a sucker for anything D&D-themed, and they were a nice change from bottom shooters & maze games. Some of the mini-games were better than others, certainly, but there was a lot of variety, good graphics, etc.

Edited by BydoEmpire
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I'm not sure why or how, but I had Earthworld and Fireworld BITD. They must have been dirt cheap and thought they were going to be more along the lines of E.T. or Raiders. Could have cared less about the contest* and was disappointed that the games were even more abstract. Struggling to find anything nice to say about them besides the box art, and the way stairways were drawn and animated. Guess I thought of them as mini-game compilations of sorts and *tried* to enjoy when I was bored, but it wasn't Pac-Man or E.T. that made me start shying away from the VCS by then. It was shit like the Swordquest series. ;)

 

*Even back then knew *I* wouldn't win, nobody ever wins these things and/or was just some stupid marketing ploy. Turned out I was right on all counts. :lol:

 

I was blown away by the sword on the title screen. Impressive for a 2600. And I liked the idea of the zodiac puzzle, (but not the way it was done). That's about the only good stuff I can say about it :P

 

Fireworld- I have nothing good to say there lol

Edited by zzip
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I liked E.T., loved Raiders, hated Earthworld.

Atari implied Earthworld was an Adventure type game. Having loved Adventure, I shelled out about 30 or 40 bucks, (a lot of dough for a young teen) Got it home, hated it, and felt ripped off. I'm still pissed about it. Just about my only bad memory from my early Atari days.

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it wasn't Pac-Man or E.T. that made me start shying away from the VCS by then. It was shit like the Swordquest series. ;)

 

*Even back then knew *I* wouldn't win, nobody ever wins these things and/or was just some stupid marketing ploy. Turned out I was right on all counts. :lol:

 

I hate contests, and stupid marketing ploys.

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Ah yeah that was another thing. I really disliked that it wasn't all self contained within the video game itself. e.g. you needed the comic book to really get what the clues were about, In my household after a year or so who knew where the heck that comic book would be. :lol:

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Heard about Swordquest before it had a name, hyped as a multi-cartridge sequel to Adventure. One of my original thoughts was how the heck they were going to export your character from one to the next. Once the contest was attached to it, I figured out that the early report was wrong and it was a waste of time. It would either be insanely difficult with only a few Brainiacs figuring it out, or being selected from a pool of thousands of "winners". Either way, an elimination round would be needed...and who has the time to devote to that?

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As a kid I was given Earthworld (along with many other 2600 carts 'cause he got an nes) from my cousin in 1987. No one else I knew had it or had heard of it. I never knew about any contest, or that I was supposed to have a comic book to decipher the 'clues' I received, or that this game was based around the zodiac. Most of the rooms I was VERY off on what I thought was depicted as the 'boss' within. (it was actually the zodiac symbol!) As well most of the items I had no idea what they were. I called the talisman the Ninja Suit, the leather armor was the Strawberry however once I learned it protected you in one action sequence I started calling it the Shield! Oddly enough I did stumble across 3 clues as a child, even though I had no idea what they were; I thought they were scores, although I couldn't I figure out how the scoring worked! I found clues by `using` items (leaving) them in rooms to kill-pacify what I tought was the boss within!

 

Then around 1992 after having a Sega Master System for a while I dusted off my old 2600 and posted an ad in my school, looking to buy old 2600 carts. Of the carts I picked up, one was Fireworld. I had always wondered if there were anymore to this Swordquest game, why have a subtitle if it's the only one! SO I was very eager to try this game. I had to peel some stupid neon green antidrug sticker (you know the one, this guy, looked kinda like the guy that models for bathroom signs, with his hands covering his mouth?.. anyway...) off the front to see the artwork. I liked Earthworld better. But the gameplay! YES every room has it's own minigame! YES!, the rooms are differently shaped! YES!, it`s like I maze I'm lost already, whats this, it looks like some rooms are changing...! But in the end I never found a single clue (or scored as I thought!) in Fireworld. Then many years later around 2001 I discovered AtariAge.com when I dusted off my 2600 interest again and FINALLY learned what was up with this game series. And discovered that at least Waterworld was released. I've played the ROM and with NO help from gamefaqs.com or anything else I BEAT that sucker. It's a shame that the last one to be released and at the worst time ever was also the best of the series. It was overall an actually playable game, mainly cause it had clues, even if minor and cryptic, as to what items should go where! After learning about and downloading & reading the comics I tried to find some `logic` as to where to place the objects in EW & FW, but to no avail because it takes systematic trial & error and just pure dumb luck to obtain clues in both these games.

 

Long story short, I had no knowledge I could win gold and jewels (well not really, this was 1987), I had no idea what the point of the games were, but I can tell you EW & FW each spent a lot of time in my 2600 (and I didn`t get FW until 1992!) So that says something. Sure there were better games out there but just like ET and Pac-Man, Swordquest wasn`t such a bad series, people just love to hate on stuff, however it wasn`t that good either.

EW had too much wandering & not enough action sequences. On the other hand FW had TOO many action sequences making the trial & error aspect of the game VERY tedious. It`s only saving grace WW was sold during the crash when no one was really appreciating video games and Atari`s collapse meant no chance of winning the prizes as described on the box. Plus, I`m sure it`s blocky graphics just served as a reason to buy a Colecovision or Intellivision if you were gonna buy anything while stores where practically giving away their video game stock.

 

Obviously my love of SQ series and it leading me to AtariAge explains my username!

 

PS Was the contest version of EW ever dumped, there was that articale with that guy from Atari back in Feb of last year where he stated he had (assumingly) the only EPROM of the contest cart left, cause he was the guy that designed the contest clues. As well, ever any word on a FW contest cart dump...

Edited by Torr
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