Released in 1990, it is a short game with a somewhat fragmented plot and lifted names for its protagonists straight from a popular movie at the time, but paved the way to the establishment of a groundbreaking franchise of video games as well as the Chinese video gaming industry at large.
The "Xuan-Yuan Sword" is created by Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor of ancient China to defend his subjects against the warlord Chi You and his followers. After Chi You's defeat, the five-thousand-year-old history of China was secured, and the Sword was passed on from Huangdi to future generations to continue to defend the world against evil. Due to its great power, treacherous individuals often sought the Sword to further their own ends.
The Spirit Fusion Jar (Lian Yao Hu, 鍊妖壺 in traditional Chinese) was created by the goddess Nüwa in emulation of the Immortal Creation Ding to cleanse the world. Living in the Pot is the Spirit of the Vessel, who rules within the Pot's domain and can utilize the artifact's power to combine creatures and items, and transmute them into other entities that can benefit the world.
In the beginning of the mortal world, the goddess Nüwa, the patron deity of mankind, created two genres of intelligent life: those of Man, and those of Monster, who warred among each other all the time. The Sword was created by Men in an attempt to end the everlasting war. Led by a single heroic figure, Xuanyuan Jian Xia (軒轅劍俠, Crusader of the Sword, or simply the Crusader) who wielded the Sword, the War Between Men and Monsters ended with both sides suffering heavy casualties. Seventeen years later, the main character, He Ran (何然), a young discipline of Xian Shu (仙術, sorcery) left his mentor to go on an adventure to bring peace to the lands.
Not only was it the first game of the series, Xuanyuan Sword was also Softstar's first RPG product, released in 1990. The storyline in this game was not based on any certain period of actual history. The user interface is reminiscent of Dragon Quest games. Players start the game as a novice adventurer and level up through battles.
The game featured standard VGA 16-colored 640x480 screen, and feature recruitable party members, round-based combat, full-screen sprite animation, various enemies, Chinese-styled AdLb music, sound effects, animated spell effects, as well as a fully Chinese interface, proving to be a great hit in Taiwan's computer game market.