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Elemental Master

If there’s one thing sorcerers are good at, it’s blasting elements out of their fingers. Well, they’re probably good at other stuff too, but if you’re a game developer that wants to make a shoot ‘em up where one plays as a sorcerer, it’s pretty darn handy that these mythological people have a thing from shooting lightning, fire, and the like out of their hands. Elemental Master is one such game to go this route, as players take on the role of a young man named Laden with a knack for magic. In the game, he must blast his way through a number of lands all in hopes of defeating his brother, who has turned to evil and unleashed havoc on the kingdom.

Given that the game sports a fantasy setting, expect to be fighting all sorts of creatures like the undead, slimes, dragons, evil knights, and the like. There are quite a few different enemies that Elemental Master throws at players. Moreover, given that each stage has its own them, one can expect to come across a number of beings native to a variety of different regions. The stages themselves run the gamut of fantasy environs ranging from forests to river beds to blighted volcanic hellscapes.

Fighting all of these monsters can actually get quite tough quite fast. The game allows players to choose the order by which they would like to tackle its levels, but some routes can be tougher than others since Laden gains new abilities while progressing through the game and not having them on certain stages can put one at a disadvantage. It’s not insurmountable, but players may notice some paths to be tougher than others. Regardless of what route one takes, the game throws a lot at the player. The screen can fill up quite a bit with enemies and bullets, so some fancy footwork will be needed to dodge everything that Elemental Master throws at the player.

Rather than being a one hit wonder with multiple lives, Laden has a hit point pool and once those have been depleted it’s game over. These can be used up very quickly if one isn’t careful, but the game does provide a number of power ups to help players along. These can range from shields to mirror images as well as adding more health to Laden’s hit point pool so that he can take more damage before dying. This helps a lot in making the game manageable. One thing to watch out for, though, is that if Laden does die and someone uses a continue, he’ll go back to having four hit points despite having collected hit point boosters previously. It’s also important to note that Laden gains new elemental attacks when he completes levels, expanding his avenues of attack.

Visually the game looks very good. As was mentioned earlier, there are a lot of different monster designs which help add a lot of variety to the experience. Moreover, the bosses look very good, as they tend to be quite large, usually taking up about half of the screen and have a lot of little details added to them.

Those looking for a challenging shoot ‘em up on the Genesis with more of a fantasy theme would do well to try out Elemental Master. It’s a very good game that will keep players on their toes and offers something a little different from all of the shmups out there that tend to go for a science fiction motif.

- IroIro
August 1, 2019
Developer: Technosoft
Publisher: Renovation
Genre: Shoot 'em Up
Platform: Mega Drive
Released: 1990

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