Sword of Vermilion

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SwordOfVermilion TitleScreen.png
Sword of Vermilion
System(s): Sega Mega Drive, Virtual Console, Steam
Genre: RPG

Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
¥8,500 G-5502
Sega Mega Drive
$? ?
Sega Mega Drive
$? ?
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
$? ?

Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
$2.99[8] 71114
€2.49[8] 71114
£1.99[8] 71114
$3.49[8] 71114

Sword of Vermilion, known as Vermilion (ヴァーミリオン) in Japan, is an action RPG game developed by Sega under Yu Suzuki and released for the Sega Mega Drive in late 1989. It was brought to English-speaking nations in 1991 where it shipped with a 106-page hint book.


Erik V, king of Excalabria, is overthrown by Tsarkon, king of Cartahena. Before he dies, Erik tells his most trusted servant, Blade, to take his infant son and the family heirloom, the Ring of Wisdom, and escape, raising the baby as his own. Eighteen years later, Tsarkon's forces approach Wyclif, the town where Blade took the baby, requiring Blade to reveal the boy's true identity as Prince of Excalabria and sending him off to save the land by collecting a series of rings starting with the Ring of Wisdom.



You control the Prince in four different ways, depending on where you are:


When in towns, the game takes a top-down view. C opens the menu (described below). You may only enter buildings whose doors are open. Each town might have any of the following buildings: a church (where you can get cured of poison and curses and can save your game), a weapon shop (selling weapons, shields, and armor), a tavern (which does not appear to sell anything), an inn (where you may rest), an equipment shop (which sells consumable items), and a fortune teller's building. Furthermore, one NPC in each town will usually give you a map of an area in the overworld when you talk to him. Each town has a building (for instance, with Parma, the castle) where you must go and talk to someone (with Parma, the King) who will tell you how to get the next ring.


In the overworld and dungeons, the screen splits, with a 3D perspective on the left screen and a map on the right, with some status information on the bottom. Up and Down move forward and backward; Left and Right turn 90° in the particular direction, and C opens the menu. The map on the right will only show what is immediately visible to you unless you have a map (and in the case of dungeons, which are dark by default, a light). Along the way, you will be stopped randomly by enemies who will take you into battle, find people who you can talk to, and find chests you can open for items, the latter usually placed in dead ends.


Battles take place in a top-down area the size of the screen. You always start facing down at the center of the battlefield, regardless of how many enemies there are and where they are, so act fast! C uses your sword, which you must have equipped beforehand from the menu. A uses the battle magic that you have readied beforehand from the Magic menu. Each enemy you kill gains you money, called "kims", and experience points. The battle ends when you either die, walk out the left/right sides, or kill all enemies on screen. If you are killed, you will be restored at a church, and the pontiff will take half your money for the poor.

Archmonster battles

When fighting an arhcmonster, which are bosses of this game, the battle will take place from a 2D side perspective. Right moves you forward, Left moves you backward, Down makes you duck and C swings the sword, the attack can also destroy certain projectiles. You can't escape or use magic during archmonster battles so it's a fight until either player or arhcmonster dies.


When not in a battle, press C to open the menu. You have eight options:

  • Talk: talk to a person you are immediately next to/in front of/behind
  • Item: use or discard collected items
  • Str: show incremental screens of status; C shows the next screen
  • Open: open treasure chests and doors
  • Magic: cast, prepare, or discard magic spells
  • Equip: put on, take off, or discard weapons, shields, and armor
  • Seek: look around for unusual things
  • Take: take an item from the opened treasure chest

C makes a selection. B at any time exits first a submenu, then the whole menu.

Pressing Start opens another menu where you may choose how fast you want dialogue to appear.



The game was re-released as part of Sega Mega Drive Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. It was also released for the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console in Japan on 27 Febuary 2007, Europe on 1 March 2007 and North America on 5 March 2007. It was also released as part of Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection Volume 3 for Windows and is available for separate purchase on Steam.

The game has a Japanese guide book in the form of Vermilion Attack Manual Book. It also would receive a soundtrack in 2009 as Vermilion vs Rent A Hero Original Soundtrack, which also contains music from Rent A Hero.


Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
English Sword of Vermilion Sword of Vermilion
English (US) Sword of Vermilion Sword of Vermilion
Japanese ヴァーミリオン Vermilion

Production credits

Source: In-game credits

Digital manuals

Magazine articles

Main article: Sword of Vermilion/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Print advertisements

SegaVisions US 02.pdfSegaVisions US 02.pdfSegaVisions US 02.pdfSegaVisions US 02.pdf

Print advert in Sega Visions (US) #2: "October/November 1990" (1990-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #15: "October 1990" (1990-xx-xx)[10]
  • GamePro (US) #15: "October 1990" (1990-xx-xx)[11]
  • VideoGames & Computer Entertainment (US) #21: "October 1990" (1990-xx-xx)[12]

EGM US 016.pdfEGM US 016.pdfEGM US 016.pdf

Print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #16: "November 1990" (1990-xx-xx)
also published in:

BeepMD JP 1989-11.pdf

Print advert in Beep! MegaDrive (JP) #1989-11: "November 1989" (1989-XX-XX)

BeepMD JP 1989-11.pdfBeepMD JP 1989-11.pdf

Print advert in Beep! MegaDrive (JP) #1989-11: "November 1989" (1989-XX-XX)

Television advertisements

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
70 №1990-02, p67[16]
61 №, p85[17]
91 №115, p114-116[18]
68 №90, [1]
88 №10, p118
86 №5, p63
67 №5, p94
86 №18, p71
93 №1, p30
87 №5, p81
82 №8, p64-66[19]
94 №7, p45
82 №5, p74/75[20]
91 №20, p10/11
80 №23, p54
95 №25, p47
80 №6, p30[21]
81 №18, p68
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
19 reviews

Mega Drive, US
SoV MD US Box.jpg
Mega Drive, JP
Vermilion md jp cover.jpg
SwordofVermilion MD JP CartTop.jpg
Vermilion md jp cart.jpg
Vermilion md jp manual.pdf
Mega Drive, UK
Vermilion md uk cover.jpg
Vermilion MD UK Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, CA

External links


Sword of Vermilion
SwordOfVermilion TitleScreen.png

Main page | Comparisons | Maps | Hidden content | Development | Magazine articles | Region coding

Books: Vermilion Attack Manual Book (1990)