The Story of Thor: A Successor of The Light – a superb action-platformer for the Mega Drive. Really good shit right here. It’s very much a Zelda clone but it has its own style and personality, more inspired by Zelda than simply outright copying it. And holy fuck does it look good, this is a very late-gen game, especially for Mega Drive, but it’s got to be one of the most beautiful and detailed game of the entire 4th generation. It can easily hold its own against the best SNES has to offer and I’m surprised MD can even run it. Though it didn’t escape the characteristic muted palette look. It’s also one of the few games on the system to have a save mode. All the sprites are large, intricately detailed, and fully animated. Clearly a lot of effort was put into animation and miscellaneous effects in general - for example, when you’re crawling you can see the character supporting himself with his hand on the ground, or how enemies would catch flame both from your attacks as well as accidental friendly fire.
The score is equally impressive and is probably taxing the poor MD sound chip to the absolute limit. There sadly is no big iconic main theme of some kind. The world is beautiful and vibrant, with great variety of locations, it’s not as big as a Zelda world to explore but you are still given a decent freedom to wander about. Found a bridge? You can crawl under it and discover some goodies. Shame the story is rather basic, though; you can talk to people but they don’t say anything interesting, kind of a wasted opportunity here.
The gameplay is really fun and surprisingly versatile, you get a pretty decent moveset and can use a variety of weapons at will. It’s really neat how you can even drop items from your inventory on the floor if you’re full or don’t need something. The main gimmick of the game is summoning spirits – you get your standard elemental familiars but the number of ways in which they can be utilized is really impressive and advanced. To summon them you need to find a corresponding element somewhere on the level, and it can be anything from – in water’s case – obvious bodies of water, to little creeks on rock surfaces, to a tiny drip from a ceiling that you don’t even register at first. You can even summon them from other enemies if they consist of or produce the element in question. You need to melt ice with a fire spirit to proceed further but you can also summon another spirit off the ice’s surface. The game often asks you to think about such things creatively to solve puzzles, especially for secret stuff.
The variety of enemies gets pretty commendable by the end of the game, I liked the one enemy that’s immaterial unless you have a spirit summoned but then it starts attacking the spirit relentlessly, giving you but a tiny window to dispose of the damned thing. Zombies are also nice, they can give you a hard time but would literally crumble to dust if you’ll think of using fire. The bosses are also pretty cool. Though overall the game’s fairly easy, mainly because you have so much stuff at your disposal and can save anywhere outside dungeons, sometimes even in dungeons. But it does ask you to make some dubious platforming jumps at times.
Though I wouldn’t call this game obscure, I’m surprised it’s not heralded amongst the greatest in Mega Drive’s library and the entire generation. I had great fun, often just taking my time appreciating the vibe of the backgrounds and music. Definitely a must play if you’re into 2D Zelda-type games.