Sword of Vermilion is a Role-Playing Game, made for the Sega Genesis by Sega's AM2 team in 1989. It was part of the Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and is also available as a download for the Wii.
Eighteen years ago, the evil king Tsarkon from Cartahena defeated king Erik from Excalabria. As his castle collapsed around him, Erik bade his most trusted servant Blade to flee from the castle with Erik's infant son. Blade did so and raised the infant as his own in a remote village.
In the present day, the player takes on the role of Erik's son, now a grown adult. On his death bed, Blade tells him the truth and tasks the player to go on a quest to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
This game provides examples of:
- Big Bad: King Tsarkon. He is set up as an Evil Overlord but he has no involvement in the plot at all, only being mentioned a few times. You don't even encounter him before the Final Boss battle at the end of the game.
- But Thou Must!: Slightly subverted early on, the first king you meet wants you to stop adventuring and become captain of the guard. You can't say no, and once you say yes you are forbidden to leave town. However, if you go back and confront the king again he loses his temper and reveals that he is actually the first boss. It's played straight later on with a princess who wants to marry you. (And since she's pretty hot for a collection of 16-bit pixels, this may not be a bad thing for the hero...)
- Cap: The hero's level caps at 31, which on a typical play-through you'll likely reach well before entering the last dungeon.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: There are only a handful of basic monster models, with stronger monsters being Palette Swaps of weaker ones, sometimes with different attacks. The Sorting Algorithm of Evil goes through green (weakest), blue, red, black, silver and gold (strongest).
- Curse: The "equip a cursed item and you can't take it off until you visit a church" variety. Being cursed also restricts you from using magic in any way. There's a total of three pieces of cursed equipment in the game: Dark Swords, the Death Sword, and the Old Nick Armor.
- Empty Room Psych: Just as you get used to treasures being hidden in every corner, the game gets stingier and stinger, and towards the end of the game pretty much every dead end is, well, just that.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: The hero is actually a prince, and he does get to rescue and marry his own princess.
- Fantastic Light Source: Guess what the Luminos spell does?
- Fetch Quest: Every town has at least one, several have more. Most are mandatory to advance the plot. They are usually of the form of "Go to dungeon X and get me the MacGuffin hidden there." or "Go to dungeon Y and kick this bad monster's arse.".
- Frying Pan of Doom: You'd better be ready to jump at The Call as refusing to be a hero has painful consequences in one village...
- Hyperactive Sprite: This happens with all of the non-player character in this game. You, oddly, stand still, rather than walk in place like everyone else.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: This game is a standard example. Especially in the beginning, you find treasure chests almost everywhere, and every monster has a chance of dropping one, even monsters that could not logically be carrying a chest.
- Infinity +1 Sword: The Death Sword is slightly stronger than the titular Sword of Vermilion, at the tradeoff of being cursed. It's even hidden in a Bonus Dungeon of sorts; it's not difficult to find as it's right there on the map, but unlike all other caves and dungeons, nobody asks you to go there or even mentions its existence.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Tsarkon tries to play this one on you at the final confrontation, but he is lying.
- Moving the Goalposts: One particularly greedy king makes you go through three progressively larger and harder dungeons to get a ring you need. Eventually the hero gets fed up and forces the king at swordpoint to hand it over. And it turns out to be a fake.
- Penultimate Weapon: The titular Sword of Vermilion is the second strongest sword in the game. Getting it is even a bit of a Guide Dang It! as the game only marginally hints at it and it is possible to completely miss it. Also, the items called Ultimate Sword and Ultimate Armor aren't, really. Also worth noting is that the strongest shield is simply bought in a shop, while the second-strongest shield requires a short Chain of Deals and can be missed.
- The second strongest shield (the dragon shield) does have an additional advantage of making you immune to some sources of poison.
- Permanently Missable Content: The Crimson Armor. It's nowhere near the strongest armor in the game, but with the ability to heal you for 5 HP with every step you take on the overworld/dungeon map, it's definitely a keeper. Unfortunately, if you don't talk to the Old Man in Keltwick again after he gives you his sketch and before giving the sketch to the Old Woman in Helwig (getting rewarded with the Dragon Shield), he won't tell you where to find it by the tree northeast of Keltwick, and talking to him after receiving the shield only has him tell you that he's waiting for a letter from the Old Woman.
- Playable Epilogue: A minor one. After defeating the Final Boss and obtaining the last of the Plot Coupons, there are no more Random Encounters and you can freely visit all towns and talk with the NPCs, which compliment you with your achievements. But there is little else left to do except taking the Plot Coupons to their rightful place and watching the credits roll.
- Plot Coupon: Tsarkon has the eight Rings of Evil. To confront him you will need the eight Rings of Good which are hidden throughout the land.
- Randomly Drops: It is possible to get rare stat-enhancing items if you are lucky, but most of the random drops are only marginally useful. Also, if you leave the square where the battle occurred without picking up the spoils, then tough luck, it's gone.
- Rare Candy: There are stat-enhancing items in the game, but the only way to get them is as random loot from monsters. This happens so rarely that it's entirely possible to finish the game without ever seeing one. On top of that, most of these raise one stat but lower another.
- Ring of Power: Sixteen of them in total, but you only need to collect eight of them.
- Spell Book: A more literal example. The hero can use magic, but only if he has a spell book handy, which are bought from the local gypsy/witch. What they all do is anyone's guess, but some of their names imply what the spell does: "Volti" with "volt" in its name implies electricity, which is what that chain of books does, and "Hydro" literally means "water". Others are a little more obscure with trying the hint-by-name method: "Sangua" presumably comes from "sanguine" which implies a relation to blood, and that chain of books heal you. And a few just make no sense: "Ferros" and "Copperos" are books of fire spells, for example.
- Spell Levels: Zigzagged, as touched on above. For Sangua, you can buy later versions called Sanguia and Sanguio which recover more HP. Volti upgrades to Voltios, and from there to Voltio. Aero, Hydro, and Chrono each upgrade once with -ios suffixes. Ferros upgrades to Murcurios, while Copperos and Argentos both have different effects.
- Talk to Everyone: You're often required to talk to several townspeople if you want maps of the nearby wilderness and caves. The process needs to be repeated a few times, as some people can give out things only after events happen (e.g. the map of Palma is only given when you have a Ring of Wisdom).
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The whole game is a hodgepodge of different gameplay styles. Exploring towns is a traditional 3/4s view console RPG setup with only movement in the four cardinal directions. Exploring the wilderness and dungeons is a first-person viewpoint. Enemy battles is back to 3/4s view with eight-way directions and realtime combat. Boss battles are a from-the-side one on one fight similar to a Tales game or a fighter.
- Universal Poison: Used straight except in one event where the hero is affected by a poison that is much stronger than usual and resists all standard cures, leading to a Find the Cure! scenario.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer...: When fighting Mooks you only have two choices, hack them to bits or nuke them with magic. Boss Battles don't even give you even that choice. Nope, no nuking that fireball-chucking demon from a distance, you'll have to go in there and whack it.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The hero of the game really stands out for having literal blue hair in a game world where everyone else has much more typical colors.