The game itself was well received for its time. Despite its simplistic gameplay, which was basically move forward and slash everything in front of you while occasionally mixing and using potions for power-ups, the graphics itself was impressive for the time. Big character sprites that looked fairly detailed, and the backgrounds being bright and colorful.
It was re-released in 1993 for the Amiga, and shortly thereafter, the Sega Genesis, which was handled by Electronic Arts. The former wasn't received as well, and the latter had changes done that made it worse. With enemies attacking on both sides instead of one, with levels and enemies cut, and increasing the overall difficulty with faulty controls (not to mention the exaggerated advertising on the box), among other flawed game design choices.
Sword of Sodan provides examples of the following tropes:
- Absolute Cleavage: Shardon for the entire game, save for the character select screen which almost completely covers her chest.
- Bloodier and Gorier: The genesis version invokes this.
- Death Trap: There are a couple of these in the castle. In the genesis version, they are not so obvious to spot.
- Decapitation Required: To kill the giants, you'll need to get them on their knees by doing enough damage, then swing at the head.
- Excuse Plot: The plot can be summarized like this: You are the son/daughter of the king, been trained since kids, and now have to stop an evil wizard!
- Groin Attack: You can duck and stab at your enemies, which looks like you're doing this.
- Our Zombies Are Different: These zombies like to shoot lights at you when they die. Made worse in the Genesis version since they can come from both ways.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Brodan for the entire game, save for the cape he has during gameplay.