Sword of Sodan

From Sega Retro


SwordofSodan title.png

Sword of Sodan
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Electronic Arts (US, Europe) Sega (Japan) Tec Toy (BR)
Original system(s): Amiga
Developer(s) of original games: Discovery Software International
Genre: Action[1][2]

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
¥6,0006,000 G-4056
Sega Mega Drive
$49.9549.95[4] 702601
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
£39.9939.99[5][6] E168SMXI
Sega Mega Drive
Non-Sega versions

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Sword of Sodan (ソード・オブ・ソダン) is a Sega Mega Drive linear beat-'em-up game developed by Innerprise Software. A port of the titular 1988 Discovery Software International game Sword of Sodan, it was first published in the United States by Electronic Arts in 1990, and saw European release the following January. Later in October 1991, it was brought to Japan by Sega themselves, and eventually saw a Brazilian release courtesy of publisher Tec Toy in April 1992.

Originally an Amiga game, Sword of Sodan is most notable for being one of the poorest received Mega Drive games ever released, and was consistently voted the system's single-worst game by readers of Beep! MegaDrive magazine.[8][9]


Sword of Sodan is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up where the player can control either an unnamed male or unnamed female, walking towards the right of the screen and hacking and slashing enemies along the way.

Being originally written for the Amiga, the control scheme of Sword of Sodan is built around one-button joysticks which were prevalent across home computing at the time. On the Mega Drive the main controls are split across B and C - jumping is assigned to B (where holding down the button results in a higher jump), but is also used in conjunction with Left or Right to turn the character around. C swings the character's sword, and combined with Up, Right and Down other attacks can be made. Down crouches.

The strength of the player's attacks depend on the current "HIT" value displayed on top of the screen, which decreases when losing a life. Attacks have very specific hit zones - spear wielding guards for example need to be attacked at point blank range, while giants can only be hurt by using high attacks.

A is used to drink potions dropped by defeated enemies. Potions are selected in the pause menu, and can be combined to create more interesting results.

The game features an undocumented level skip in stage 5 - if the player deliberately falls down the third pit, they will skip directly to stage 6.


  • Red: increases attack strength
  • Orange: defeats the closest enemy
  • Blue: restores health
  • Transparent: no effect
  • Red + transparent: extra life
  • Orange + transparent: flaming brand (stronger sword with fire effect)
  • Blue + transparent: temporary invincibility
  • Red + orange: flaming brand (stronger sword with fire effect)
  • Transparent x 4: skip stage

Other combinations either have no effect or are poisenous to the player.


Despite sharing a name, Sword of Sodan was significantly altered during its transition to the Mega Drive, putting more of an emphasis on potions while reducing the amount of content. Most of the graphics were re-drawn, with layouts also being modified and swordplay being tweaked. Enemies attack from both left and right (a feature missing in the Amiga version), however the ostrich-like creature in the dungeon stage is missing.

Some levels (such as the wood area) were removed, while others combined, bringing the total number of stages to eight. Five of the thirteen enemies seen in the Amiga version were removed also.

Neither version of Sword of Sodan has in-game music.

Production credits

  • Game Design: Torbin Larsen, Anselm Hook, Soren Gronbech
  • Game Graphics: Torbin Larsen, Matt Herczka, Sheryl Knowles
  • Title Music: Jon Medek
  • Producer: Christopher Erhardt
  • Associate Producer: Roland Kippenhan III
  • Product Management: Karen Schulman, Lesley Mansford
  • Art Director: Nancy Fong
  • Package Illustrator: Dorian Vallejo
  • Documentation: Andrea Smith, Michael Humes, Robert Berg
  • Documentation Layout: Jennie Maruyama
  • Integration: Anselm Hook
  • Quality Assurance: Kurtis Hsu
Thanks to Martin Pedersen.
US manual
SoS MD US Manual.pdf

Magazine articles

Main article: Sword of Sodan/Magazine articles.

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
{{{{{icon}}}|L}} Division by zero.
Based on
0 review
Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
1700 igr dlya Sega (RU)
Aktueller Software Markt (DE)
Beep! MegaDrive (JP) NTSC-J
Console XS (UK) PAL
Cool Gamer (RU)
Computer & Video Games (UK)
Mean Machines: The Essential Sega Guide (UK)
Famitsu (JP) NTSC-J
GamePro (US) NTSC-U
Génération 4 (FR)
Hippon Super (JP) NTSC-J
Joystick (FR)
Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming (UK)
Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming (UK) PAL
Mega Drive Fan (JP) NTSC-J
Mega Play (US) NTSC-U
MegaTech (UK)
Mean Machines (UK)
Mean Machines Sega (UK)
Power Play (DE)
Raze (UK) PAL
Sega Power (UK) PAL
Sega Power (UK) PAL
Sega Pro (UK) PAL
Sega Saturn Magazine (JP) NTSC-J
Tricks 16 bit (RU)
VideoGames & Computer Entertainment (US)
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
27 reviews

Sword of Sodan

Mega Drive, JP
SoS MD JP Box.jpg
SwordofSodan MD JP CartTop.jpg
SwordofSodan MD JP Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, US
SoS MD US Box Back.jpgSoS MD US Box.jpg
SoS MD US Cart.jpg
SoS MD US Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, EU (Soft Box)
SoS MD EU Box.jpg
SoS MD US Cart.jpg
Sword of Sodan MD EU Manual.jpg
Mega Drive, EU (Hard Case)

SoS MD US Cart.jpg
Sword of Sodan MD EU Manual.jpg
Mega Drive, BR
SoS MD BR Box.jpg
SwordofSodan MD BR Cart.jpg
Swordofsodan md br manual.pdf

Technical information

Main article: Sword of Sodan/Technical information.


  1. File:SoS MD JP Box.jpg
  2. 2.0 2.1 https://sega.jp/history/hard/megadrive/software.html (Wayback Machine: 2020-07-20 09:51)
  3. https://groups.google.com/g/rec.games.video/c/nIoj_nzYdTo/m/yy399PAfOlcJ
  4. 4.0 4.1 GamePro, "March 1991" (US; 1991-xx-xx), page 76
  5. Raze, "April 1991" (UK; 1991-02-28), page 49
  6. Sega Power, "March 1991" (UK; 1991-02-07), page 19
  7. Supergame, "Abril 1992" (BR; 1992-04-xx), page 45
  8. https://www.badgamehalloffame.com/xdr-x-dazedly-ray/
  9. https://mdshock.com/2018/09/16/osomatsu-kun-the-bizarre-story-of-the-mega-drives-most-infamous-game/
  10. File:SoS MD US Manual.pdf, page 15
  11. 1700 igr dlya Sega, "" (RU; 2001-xx-xx), page 233
  12. Aktueller Software Markt, "März 1991" (DE; 1991-02-22), page 116
  13. Beep! MegaDrive, "October 1991" (JP; 1991-09-07), page 36
  14. Console XS, "June/July 1992" (UK; 1992-04-23), page 135
  15. Cool Gamer, "9" (RU; 2002-10-13), page 215
  16. Computer & Video Games, "March 1991" (UK; 1991-02-16), page 88
  17. Mean Machines: The Essential Sega Guide, "" (UK; 1993-11-18), page 103
  18. Famitsu, "1991-10-18" (JP; 1991-10-04), page 1
  19. Génération 4, "Février 1991" (FR; 1991-xx-xx), page 101
  20. Hippon Super, "November 1991" (JP; 1991-10-04), page 91
  21. Joystick, "Février 1991" (FR; 1991-0x-xx), page 113
  22. Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming, "November 1992" (UK; 1992-xx-xx), page 79
  23. Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming, "January 1993" (UK; 199x-xx-xx), page 94
  24. Mega Drive Fan, "January 1992" (JP; 1991-12-07), page 101
  25. Mega Play, "February 1991" (US; 199x-xx-xx), page 45
  26. MegaTech, "Xmas 1991" (UK; 1991-12-06), page 81
  27. Mean Machines, "February 1991" (UK; 1991-02-01), page 78
  28. Mean Machines Sega, "October 1992" (UK; 1992-09-xx), page 142
  29. Power Play, "4/91" (DE; 1991-03-15), page 135
  30. Raze, "April 1991" (UK; 1991-02-28), page 48
  31. Sega Power, "October 1991" (UK; 1991-09-05), page 54
  32. Sega Power, "March 1991" (UK; 1991-02-07), page 18
  33. Sega Pro, "April 1993" (UK; 1993-03-11), page 68
  34. Sega Saturn Magazine, "September 1995" (JP; 1995-08-08), page 87
  35. Tricks 16 bit, "Tricks Sega Gold 800 igr" (RU; 1998-03-20), page 192
  36. VideoGames & Computer Entertainment, "March 1991" (US; 1991-0x-xx), page 44

Sword of Sodan

SwordofSodan title.png

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