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Video Game / Severance: Blade of Darkness

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Severance: Blade of Darkness (known as Blade: Edge of Darkness in Europe) is a third person Hack and Slash developed by Spanish studio Rebel Act Studios and published by Codemasters. It was released on February 2001. Taking place place in a Dark Fantasy setting, armies of orcs and undead are invading the land, and it falls upon a hero to recover the Sword of Light and defeat the master of the hordes.

Playable characters:

  • Sargon, a knight. Uses swords and maces.
  • Tukaram, a barbarian. Uses two handed swords and axes.
  • Zoe, an Amazon. Uses staves and spears.
  • Naglfar, a dwarf. Uses one-handed axes, hammers and clubs.

The game was abandonware for several years due to Codemasters losing the distribution rights in 2014. In these issues were eventually resolved and an Updated Re-release arrived on Steam and on October 2021.

The members of Rebel Act Studios who worked in this game would later on found the studio MercurySteam.

This game contains examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Happens very often when an enemy (or the Player Character) dies.
  • Annoying Arrows: There is only one type of bow in the game, which deals pitiful damage. Only useful for solving switch puzzles.
  • Armor Is Useless: Armor subtracts from the strength of enemy attacks. But the enemies use the same powerful weapons as the player (including some of the special moves), so even Sargon's heavy plate doesn't protect much.
  • Barbarian Hero: Tukaram.
  • BFS: Tukaram's later weapons are huge.
  • Beautiful Void: The levels, when cleared of enemies, are often this - featuring monumental architecture and visuals that have generally aged well.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: The Sword Of Ianna cannot be removed from your inventory once you acquire it – and since you receive it in a cutscene, you can't avoid acquiring it. The action of throwing a weapon, which sends a regular sword or axe flying in an arc, makes the Sword Of Ianna travel like a slow projectile along a straight path, and when it eventually hits something, it teleports back into your hand again. The only way to get rid of it is to throw it far away, say off the edge of a cliff, and quickly pick some other weapon from the ground to fill the inventory slot. In this case, the clingy Sword Of Ianna will reappear on the ground right in front of you, and you are free to ignore it and walk away.
    • At least the Sword Of Ianna takes a brand new 5th weapon slot in your inventory when you acquire it – throughout the entire game before that moment, you only have 4 weapon slots. The bow is much more annoying in this regard – once you find a bow somewhere and pick it up, you cannot get rid of it ever, it is not a throwable item, and it takes up one of those 4 precious weapon slots that you have. What makes this infuriating is that the bow is rather useless as a weapon in this game, being unwieldy to use and dealing too little damage to enemies who are closing in on you fast. The only meaningful use for the bow is a couple puzzles here and there where you have to shoot a button that is out of reach.
    • In the Temple of Al-Farum, one can find an object named Amulet in one of the alcoves in the walls, which acts like a storable object that goes into your inventory for later use. However, this Amulet is a completely useless trinket that cannot be activated in any way whatsoever; it is widely believed that this is a mistake by the developers who probably wanted to place a Ghost Medallion there, an item that cures poison, which would make sense in a location full of archers with poisoned arrows. Unfortunately, this Amulet takes up inventory space, which prevents you from picking up a different object that is necessary to advance further through the level.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are a common (and annoying) enemy you'll find in the game.
  • Giant Mook: Minotaurs, Golems.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: You can pick up your enemies' severed limbs and use them to beat other enemies with them. They deal almost no damage, but it makes for some Black Comedy.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: During the first levels, food items such as cheese or meat will be your main source of health. They don't heal much, so later on you'll have to rely on potions.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: In the main castle of the Big Bad, there is a weapons chamber with 4 extremely powerful weapons (one for each character, of course). These deal normal damage equal to the Sword of Light, and their special attacks are the most powerful in the game, causing more than 10000 damage in one hit. The weapons chamber is easy to miss, though.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Sargon, although he still butchers his way through the orcs like the other characters.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Forge of Xshathra which also doubles for scenery gorn.
  • Off with His Head!: Kill an enemy with a strike to the head and his head will end up rolling across the ground.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They look like tall, thin, skinless ghouls, for starters.
  • Secret Level: The Abyss, where you fight the real Big Bad of the game. To reach it, you'll have to find all six runes scattered throughout the game. Otherwise Dol Gurak will be the last level and you'll get a Bad Ending.
  • Shows Damage: Both enemies and player characters will become more wounded and bloodied as they lose health.
  • Souls-like RPG: Long before Dark Souls and Demon's Souls popularized the genre and gave it a name.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Zoe is the only playable female character out of four. Made more hilarious by her being the only female character in the game, not counting Ianna who is only heard.
  • Special Attack: Every weapon has it's own special move, which deals massive damage. The characters also have some weapon-independent moves. And the magical weapons would be entirely useless if not for their special move, because their base damage is so low.
  • Stripperiffic: One of the multiplayer skins for Amazon leaves her in just a shoulder-plate, metal bra and crotch protection.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Sword of Light, which is probably needed to defeat the Big Bad. That's because he teleports away from melee, and the Sword Beam of the Sword of Light is the only good ranged attack.
  • Sword and Sorcery: The game has shades of this mixed with Dark Fantasy and some light LOTR elements.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Yes, you can throw your weapon dozens of meters. No, it isn't effective after the first area. This move becomes semi-useful with the Sword of Light, which teleports back in your hand after the throw.
  • True Final Boss: The Chaos Child. You can fight him only if you find and obtain all the six runes scattered throughout the game.
  • Ur-Example: Severance was a Souls-like RPG almost a decade before the form truly became popular and was nearly forgotten when they did explode into the zeitgeist. It doesn't help that being such an early take on the concept (and having to grapple with doing Souls-like gameplay on turn-of-the-millennium hardware), and being from a team that was strapped for resources and had to release the game in an unfinished state with no real way to update it, made a lot of people put it out of their minds.
  • A Winner Is You: After defeating the Chaos Child, the hero puts back the Blade of Light and goes away while the gates close behind him/her. The End.