Sword of Vermilion

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Sword of Vermilion
Sword of Vermilion.jpg
Developer(s) Sega AM2
Publisher(s) Sega
Producer(s) Yu Suzuki[1]
Composer(s) Hiroshi Kawaguchi
Yasuhiro Takagi
Platform(s) Mega Drive/Genesis, Virtual Console
Release date(s)
Sega Mega Drive
  • JPN: December 16, 1989
  • USA: January 28, 1991
  • EUR: April 22, 1991
Virtual Console
  • JPN: 27 February 2007
  • EUR: 2 March 2007
  • USA: 5 March 2007
Genre(s) Action role-playing game
Mode(s) Single player

Sword of Vermilion (ヴァーミリオン Vāmirion?, lit. "Vermilion") is an action role-playing game developed by Sega AM2 and published by Sega for the Mega Drive console in 1989.[1] It was released in 1991 in North America and Europe. It was the first console-exclusive game designed by Yu Suzuki.

The game is part of the Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, and is available on the Wii's Virtual Console.


Sword of Vermilion is about the son of Erik, king of Excalabria, who takes on a quest of revenge to defeat Tsarkon and free the world of Vermilion from evil.

In the town of Excalabria the people went about their business, and tended to the fields. One day, vicious fighting broke out everywhere as the army from Cartahena, led by the wizard-king Tsarkon, swarmed all over the town. The townsmen were overwhelmed, and the castle of King Erik V collapsed. Erik V summoned his bravest, strongest and most faithful warrior, Blade, and gave him his infant son and an ancient family heirloom, the Ring of Wisdom. Erik ordered Blade to save himself and the child while the castle burned. Blade traveled to a small village named Wyclif, where he settled down and raised the child as his own son. Eighteen years later, the son of Erik begins his quest.

The quest consists of travelling to towns and villages, battling creatures to gain experience and finding items such as swords, shields and armour, as well as many other items such as Herbs and Candles. Boss monsters take the form of larger, stronger creatures which are integral to the story. Fighting boss monsters takes place in a side view of the battle where magic cannot be used.

The titular Sword of Vermilion is the most powerful weapon at the end of the game.


The gameplay features different views and play styles differing from the more traditional RPGs of the time.

  • The "Town View" uses the typical overhead angle found in most RPGs.
  • The "Battle View" is a tilted overhead view where the player takes full control of the character in real-time combat. The player can use weapons and magic.
  • The "Dungeon View" is in the first person perspective, similar to Phantasy Star.
  • The "Boss View" puts the player up against a boss from a sideways viewpoint.


After the release of Phantasy Star II in February 1990, Sword of Vermilion was the main RPG launched during the Genesis does what Nintendon't campaign.

Sword of Vermilion was one of the last Sega Mega Drive RPGs to come with a box-sized hint book. The hint book was 106 pages long.


Review scores
Publication Score
CVG 91%[2]
Digital Press 9 / 10[3]
Joystick 88%[4]
Mega 86%[5]
MegaTech 93%[6]
Player One 94%[8]
Sega Power 95%[9]

Computer and Video Games said it is an "excellent" and "highly compelling arcade/adventure RPG" offering "a vast, sprawling adventure". They praised the "arcade format" action combat system as "great fun" and "an improvement over" Phantasy Star II's turn-based combat system, found the story to be "engaging and easy to follow" with "intriguing plots and subplots", and considered the music and sound effects "amongst the best" on the Mega Drive. However, they criticized the "decidedly rough" graphics of the "3D screens" but praised the "excellent town graphics" and "detailed sprites."[2]

MegaTech magazine said it was "probably the best RPG on the Megadrive. A gripping plot combined with user-friendly controls and great presentation". Mega placed the game at #11 on their list of Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.[10]


  1. ^ a b Works of Yu Suzuki, YS Net
  2. ^ a b https://archive.org/stream/cvg-magazine-115/CVG_115_Jun_1991#page/n113/mode/1up
  3. ^ http://www.digitpress.com/reviews/sword.htm
  4. ^ Joystick, issue 10, page 118
  5. ^ Mega, issue 18, page 71
  6. ^ MegaTech, issue 1, page 30
  7. ^ MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 5, page 81, May 1992
  8. ^ Player One, issue 7, page 45
  9. ^ Sega Power, issue 25, page 47
  10. ^ Mega magazine issue 1, page 76, Future Publishing, Oct 1992

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