Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Die by the Sword

Go To

"You fight like a kobold!"

A 1998 hack-and-slash game made by Treyarch, notable for its unique "VSIM" control scheme that allows players to position their swords at one-to-one correspondence with your computer mouse movement in a full 360 degree range. To slash enemies, you simply move the sword from one side to the other; to block, you swing your weapon into the path of the enemy's swing and the weapons will bounce off each other. You can also hold the left mouse button to bend your arm 90 degrees, which makes it easier to block or use shorter-ranged attacks.

Damage is calculated based on the momentum-physics of character movement speed plus your mouse speed and where on the opponent you hit. Due to the lack of sequels, the gameplay is completely unique even today. By comparison, Mount & Blade/War of the Roses and the later Jedi Knight games' hack-and-slash mechanics are downright simplistic.

Though simple in concept, the controls take some practice, and even on easier settings the 3-hour single player "Quest" mode is almost cruel without the godmode cheat code. The Arena and Tournament modes were more fun, especially in online or LAN multiplayer.

An expansion, "Limb from Limb" added a second, shorter Quest, more charactersand arenas, and the 2 vs. 2 "Ogre Hockey" arena that used the VSIM control system to turn Die by the Sword into a sports game.

The game was a financial failure at the time of release (due largely to heavy competition from the first Tomb Raider I) but was rereleased on here.

Not to be confused with the 1991 film about fencing and revenge, By the Sword.

This game provides examples of:

  • Boisterous Bruiser: Our hero, Enric.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: Ordinarily the view is behind your character, but when you approach an enemy, it will automatically become a fighting-game style Camera Lock-On that keeps the two of you in frame, though you still move in full 3D. This becomes a problem when you face 2 or more opponents at a time, since the enemies the camera doesn't focus on will still attack you.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Losing legs will make you hop and jump around a bit slower, losing your shield arm means you can't block as effectively, and losing your sword arm makes you completely helpless.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: "A" and "D" turn, rather than strafe ("Q" and "E" strafe). This ends up being a much better choice for gameplay, since turning is more important to keep your sword pointed the right way, but initially it will throw you off.
  • Developer's Foresight: If you try to pull out your weapon in the beginning of the tutorial, the narrator will stop you. Once you get to the combat training part, he says that you can finally pull out your sword. "I assume you already know how."
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Using the mouse VSIM one-to-one control, instead of the keyboard "arcade" control that performs a whole attack in just one button press.
  • Game Mod:
  • God Mode: Hold F1 and type MUKOR. You're welcome.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: You can cut off enemy limbs, pick them up and then beat enemies to death with it. Especially useful if the enemy's limb was holding a weapon, as this greatly extends your range. You can also throw the limbs, but it takes inhuman levels of timing and accuracy to actually hit a moving opponent this way.
  • Knock Back: Successful hits will knock a character back, calculated by the strength of the swing and the sizes of the both characters. The giant Orcs, for example, tend to knock the tiny Kobolds across the entire arena with even minminal mouse movement. Useful when knocking opponents into environmental hazards like spinning blades, bottomless pits, or lava.
    • Both character's weapons also get knocked back in a successful block, which directly affects their position for subsequent moves.
    • The knockback is explicitly exploited in the "Ogre Hockey" arena of the expansion pack, where the whole point is to knock the "ball" character into the opposing team's goal.
  • Nintendo Hard
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: every successful cut causes a little explosion of blood. By the time you've died, your avatar has lost several times his/her own body weight.
  • Pig Man: The Orcs have boar heads.
  • Shows Damage: Polygons get retextured bloody when struck.
  • Some Dexterity Required: WASD and mouse movement doesn't sound too complicated, but keeping track of where your sword is pointed and how you have to turn your character or swing your sword to hit the (often jumping) opponent or block incoming strikes is fairly complex.
    • Players have differing opinions about whether or not aerial flipping does enough damage to justify the difficulty of landing a hit that way.
  • Sound of No Damage: The clinks made when you block.