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Zareth, a henchman of the evil King Zao, has abducted Alexandra, the daughter of the Supreme Deity.
Imprisoning his hostage deep in the Azuchi Castle in Japan, he plans to use the fair maiden's spirit to revive his evil master.
Joe Yamamoto, a veteran fighter who is an expert in magic, single-handedly proceeds to the castle in order to put a stop to Zareth's fiendish ambition, and to save Alexandra.
The opening Info Dump
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And so begins Mystic Defender from Sega, the company's attempts to make their own version of Shinobi, with magic.

Set in an alternate version of Edo-period Japan, the player assumes the role of Joe Yamato, a ninja sorcerer (hell yes!) equally adept in ninja skills as he is in using magic. When an Evil Wizard named Zareth kidnapped Alexandra, the Love Interest of Joe, in order to sacrifice her for obtaining unlimited power, Joe must fight his way to Azuchi castle, where Zareth's lair is located, to confront him.

This game was, interestingly, originally meant to be adapted from the then-recent Peacock King, but was re-tooled into an original story by Sega via Divorced Installment. Multiple similarities between the game and anime could be seen however, from the spells to the design of enemies and the characters.

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Joe, if you hope to rescue Alexandra, immediately come to Azuchi Castle!

  • Big Bad: Zareth the Evil Wizard who abducted Alexandria for a sacrificial ritual. Hoe spend the whole game fighting his minions before confronting him in the final stage.
  • Body of Bodies: After defeating Zareth, Joe reaches the last area and finds out what Zareth have done with his magic, by fusing a dozen different limbs, organs, faces all from multiple carcasses into a living pillar of bodies, as the game's Final Boss. What's even worse is that Alexandra is embedded on it's tip.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: The first boss is fought in a forest, where his Rolling Attack would be impossible to dodge (if not really, really hard) if not for the trees having plenty of branches Joe can jump on.
  • Bowdlerization: At the end of the game, when Damsel in Distress Alexandria appears, she is completely nude in the Japanese version. In the international versions, she was given a short pink dress, and the Korean version gives her a longer pink dress with sleeves.
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  • Eldritch Location: Basically all the stages except the first (a generic-looking forest). You have temples where the floors and stairs are floating, mechanical surfaces with faces growing on walls, ethereal areas where the walls are misshappen and melted together...
  • Hand Blast: Joe, being a ninja trained in mystical arts and all that, fire blue energy blasts from his hands as his default ranged attack, in place of firearms used by these type of games. He can even hold down his energy bolt as a Charged Attack to deliver a far more powerful hit, provided if he can remain still and not being swarmed by enemies.
  • Helping Hands: One of the game's weirder enemies are gigantic, draconic-looking hands ending at the wrist, who jankily floats around while trying to claw at Joe. Alternatively, their palms can produce an exploding projectile which they then drop on Joe when above him.
  • Magic Knight:
    • Joe Yamato is as good at casting attacking spells as he is at kicking ass, running and jumping all over the place. Then again, he's a ninja-sorcerer.
    • Zareth himself is no slouch either, as the penultimate battle shows. He attacks mainly with a sword and casts a colourful collection of spells by swishing his blade, and puts up quite a fight before he goes down.
  • Mirror Match: Zareth, unlike the prior bosses (which are huge) is roughly the same size as Joe, besides moving with the same speed. Both men also uses projectile based attacking spells (albeit, Zareth releasing his spells via Sword Beam instead) making their subsequent match a tough one.
  • Ominous Fog: The second stage, a demon-infested temple in the edge of the forest, is constantly shrouded in fog. And with green-skinned demon monks and deadly insects all over the place.
  • Playing with Fire: The Fire power-up, obtainable halfway through the first level, turns Joe's energy blasts into a stream of flames. And he can manipulate the fire to change directions or circle around him, dealing far greater damage to mooks.
  • Power Floats: Zareth in his final battle doesn't need to walk, simply floating all over the area when dueling Joe.
  • Ribcage Ridge: The stage filled with spider-cultists have platforms consisting of the ribs from some unknown giant monsters adorning it's interiors, where Joe can jump on.
  • Rolling Attack: The first boss in the forest stage, a Lizard Folk reptilian-looking monster can curl into a ball to tackle at Joe over. In his ball-form he's invincible, but he turns back to humanoid form after a couple of seconds and is vulnerable to Joe's blasts.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Joe is about to let loose one of his energy bolts at you. The same pose re-appears in-between levels, each time after Joe defeats a boss and clears a level.
  • Sand Worm:
    • A giant green worm-like creature whose body is in multiple attacks Joe early in the first stage, but it can be easily taken out since it's an early Mini-Boss.
    • The fourth stage have Joe fighting two giant intestinal worms who periodically stick their heads out the pool of acid they're in to attack Joe. They're far more durable than the one from early in the game, can regurguaite acid and far trickier to beat.
    • Also, the spider-cultists can Fusion Dance themselves into gigantic worm-like heads sticking from the ground.
  • Shameful Strip: When you eventually found Alexandra after defeating Zareth, she's nude. Whether she's naked because of this trope or she needs to be in the nude to be used for Zareth's spells isn't explained.
  • Smart Bomb: One of the rarer, stronger power-ups, the Thunder Dragon Magic. When used, Joe sics a three-headed dragon that obliterates all onscreen enemies and hazards, besides dealing damage to bosses.
  • Spider People: A variant - this game have were-spider enemies, presumably as result of Zareth's corruption on the members of his cult. They're the cloaked, cultist-looking mooks wearing masks, and when they fold their cloaks together they then turn from humans to a Giant Spider form. Even in their human forms they repeatedly pounces up and down with their hands bent in a clawed position, somewhat resembling a jumping spider, and a dozen of them can even pull a Fusion Dance into becoming a giant Sand Worm!
  • True Final Boss: After defeating Zareth, the game somehow continues a bit, with Joe fighting a handful of mook-level enemies while making his way to the next area - the actual last boss, a pillar of bodies created by Zareth's magic. Which Joe must defeat to end the game.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: What Zareth intends to do to Alexandra, and Joe must stop him before it's too late.
  • Waddling Head: The green-skinned demon-monks from the second stage initially appears as gigantic green demon-heads. Leave them idle for too long and they turn into their humanoid forms.
  • Warrior Monk: Rogue monks worshipping Zareth's cult are among the first enemies Joe encounters in the game.
  • Womb Level: The third round, whose interiors resembles a mess of hearts, intestines, and various organs, all over the place.

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