Rastan Saga
By Imagine
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #35

Rastan Saga

Maranna is a world inhabited by a stalwart race of warriors, led by their king, Rastan.

After thwarting the evil wizard Karg in his plan to take the throne, Rastan must now rid his land of the horde of demons and monsters unleashed by the malevolent sorcerer.

The player's task is to guide Rastan across the scrolling landscape in order to reach the lair of Karg, where the barbarian king faces the wizard in his most ferocious form - that of a dragon.


Along his journey, Rastan encounters all manner of devilish for, whose deadly contact depletes his energy, represented by a diminishing bar at the top of the screen. However, one swing of Rastan's sword swiftly removes them from play. Extra weapons, shields, mantles and armour are found around the landscape and are picked up and used in the quest to defeat the wizard.

There are also natural hazards to avoid: lava pools are swung across on ropes, and pools of water jumped over.

As Rastan approaches the end of each level, a guardian being appears and must be defeated before he's able to progress to the next level, which is loaded separately.



Here's an example of a potentially good arcade conversion let down by poor implementation. The graphics are quite impressive, with well-drawn and colourful characters (which tend to skate above the ground) and decent backdrops, and the sound, although repetitive, isn't too bad.

Rastan's weakness lies in its poor playability. The main sprite is very slow-moving, and sluggish to respond to the joystick, and the difficulty level is completely unbalanced: the action is either mind-numbingly easy, or amazingly hard.

Guiding Rastan over the landscape is simple, but the ropes and end-of-level guardians provide almost impassable barriers. I found it very frustrating to keep on falling at the same hazards time and time again, especially as it takes ages to get there!


Imagine's conversion of Rastan is very disappointing - it may look like the original, but it plays nothing like it.


This is so infuriating! The gameplay is monotonously simplistic and there's little skill involved in combat. Collecting weapons is pointless: the mace and axe are the two most frequently found, but they have the same effect as Rastan's sword, so there's little to be gained by picking them up.

When I finally reached the giant adversary at the end of the first level I couldn't get near enough to use my sword without losing huge amounts of energy - which is very frustrating.


I could go on to mention the ropey collision detection, but I think I've said enough. Suffice it to say that this isn't a game that I'd be happy about paying £9 for.


Once again, the Imagine label heralds another half-baked conversion in the shape of Rastan. The game is reasonably inoffensive visually and aurally: Galway's soundtrack is quite stirring and the backdrops and sprites, although lacking polish, are adequate.

The gameplay, however, is extremely dull and not particularly well developed. You're able to make constant headway for three quarters of the first level and then progress is drastically halted by a series of ropes which must be swung across. The precision needed to accomplish this is annoying, since up until this point arcade skills are barely needed.


Collision detection is also at fault, and energy loss frequently comes from an adversary a couple of character blocks away!

Another average release from Imagine.


Presentation 71%
Great loading screen, a useful music/effects toggle, plus a game continue option.


Graphics 61%
Somewhat indistinct sprites, but the backdrops aren't too bad, and the scrolling is decent.

Sound 67%
Choice of atmospheric but harsh Galway pieces or sad sound effects.

Hookability 68%
The simple gameplay makes it extremely easy to pick up and play, and the ease of progress is quite appealing at first.

Lastability 36%
Monotonous and frustrating gameplay soon sees it relegated to the confines of the software shelf.

Overall 42%
An inconsistent, unrewarding and often dull arcade conversion.