Rastan (video game)

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RastanSaga arcadeflyer.png
European arcade flyer of Rastan.
Director(s)Yoshinori Kobayashi
Producer(s)Yoshinori Kobayashi
Designer(s)Toshiyuki Nishimura
Programmer(s)Yoshinori Kobayashi
Hideaki Tomioki
Touru Takahashi
Hideo Kazama
Artist(s)Toshiyuki Nishimura
Taira Sanuki
Seiji Kawakami
Genya Kuriki
Composer(s)Naoto Yagishita
Masahiko Takaki
Genre(s)Platform/Hack and slash
CPU68000 (@ 8 MHz), Z80 (@ 4 MHz)
SoundM6809 (@ 750 kHz), YM2151 (@ 4 MHz), MSM5205 (@ 375 kHz)
DisplayRaster, 320 × 240 pixels (Horizontal), 8192 colors

Rastan[a] is a fantasy-themed side-scrolling action game originally released for arcades in 1987 by Taito and later ported to various platforms. The player controls a barbarian warrior who has embarked on a quest to slay a dragon. While on his way to the dragon's lair, Rastan must fight hordes of enemy monsters based on mythical creatures such as chimeras and harpies.



The controls of Rastan consists of an eight-way joystick, a button for attacking, and a button for jumping. By using the joystick in combination with either button, the player can determine the height of Rastan's jumps, as well as the direction he swings his weapon (including downwards while jumping). The game uses a health gauge system along with limited lives, although certain obstacles (such as falling into a body of water or being crushed by a spiked ceiling) will instantly kill Rastan regardless of how much health he has left.

There are a total of six rounds, each consisting of three areas: an outdoor scene, a castle scene and a throne room where the player must confront the stage's boss. The backgrounds of the outdoor areas feature broad landscapes with changing sunlight effects with detail.

The game's bosses (names according to the MSX2 version[1]), in order of appearance, consist of:

  1. King Graton, a halberd-wielding skeletal warrior;
  2. King Slay, a demonic winged sword-master;
  3. Symplegades, the wizard-king;
  4. Laios, the dragon-king;
  5. The Hydra, a five-headed snake-like monster;
  6. The Dragon

The player can pick up any item by touching it, as well as new weapons by striking them with his current one. All the weapons and power-ups picked by Rastan will be equipped only for a limited time, except for the Ring power up. The Ring will remain equipped on Rastan for the entirety of his current life. Even carrying over to the next stage. When Rastan picks up any equipable item, an icon will appear on the lower right corner of the screen as an indicator of the item's effect until it wears out. Rastan can only wield one weapon at a time (a mace, an axe, a fireball-shooting sword, or his standard sword), as well as only one type of protector (a shield, a mantle, or a body armor), but other items (such as the necklace and ring) can be worn at the same time. There are also jewels that gives out bonus points, as well potion bottles that restore or deplete the player's health depending on the color. The rare golden sheep's head restores Rastan's health completely.

Regional differences[edit]

Rastan Saga (the Japanese version) features an opening sequence, when the player starts the game, which explains the purpose of Rastan's journey. It is not included in the versions released in other countries (which are simply titled Rastan). Also, in the Japanese version when the player completes a stage ("Round") the "victory" screen has text pertaining to the storyline. In the international versions, there is a "generic" victory screen with generic text ("You are a brave fighter to have cleared such a difficult stage."). However, the international versions feature a different attract sequence which shows all the items that can be obtained by the player along with their effect.

In the Japanese version there are far fewer bats during the bat swarm sequences in the castle of level 1 than in other versions.


Rastan was initially ported to various 8-bit home computers in Europe (the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC) by Imagine Software in 1987. The ZX Spectrum version was awarded 9/10 in the July 1988 issue of Your Sinclair[2] and was placed at number 54 in the Your Sinclair's Top 100 list. Taito imported Imagine's C64 version to the United States, releasing it alongside two additional versions for the IBM PC and Apple IIGS, both of which were ported by Novalogic.

An unreleased version for the Atari ST was discovered in demo form only.[3]

In 1988, Taito developed its own conversions for the MSX2 in Japan, and the Master System in North America and Europe. Both ports featured redesigned level layouts, with the Master System version replacing some of the boss characters as well. This version was itself later ported to the Game Gear and released exclusively in Japan on August 9, 1991 as Rastan Saga.

An emulation of the Rastan arcade game is included in Taito Legends, released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Windows PC in 2006.


In Japan, Game Machine listed Rastan on their May 1, 1987 issue as being the second most-successful table arcade unit of the year.[4]

Sequels and related releases[edit]

The game was followed by two sequels, Rastan Saga II (known as Nastar in Europe and Nastar Warrior in North America) and Warrior Blade: Rastan Saga Episode III. Rastan also made an appearance in another Taito game titled Champion Wrestler as "Miracle Rastan".

The Saffire developed game Barbarian was released under the name Warrior Blade: Rastan vs. Barbarian in Japan as Taito published the game in the region. The game has nothing to do with Rastan despite the title change. The game was released in Japan on the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. The GameCube version's release was cancelled in North America and Europe due to poor sales.[citation needed]

Indie game Völgarr the Viking, developed by Crazy Viking Studios for Windows, OS X, Linux, Xbox One, and Dreamcast, was described on its Kickstarter page as based on Rastan.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Known in Japan as Rastan Saga (ラスタンサーガ).


  1. ^ MSX Magazine (MSXマガジン) (in Japanese). May 1988. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Rastan
  3. ^ Ocean Software Ltd. (June 10, 2014). "Update". Facebook. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 307. Amusement Press, Inc. 1 May 1987. p. 25.

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