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Mazan: Flash of the Blade - the coolest game you've never heard of?

VGEsoterica

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Well I am sure SOME of you have heard of it lol

But in all seriousness Mazan: Flash of the Blade is one of those games that I feel like 99 out of 100 people who play and enjoy arcade games would not have heard about. Which is super disappointing because it's legit one of the most unique and innovative games of it's generation. That's mostly down to the fact it beat the Wiimote to market and deserves some credit for it!

Mazan: Flash of the Blade came in a giant cabinet with a large sword controller that was monitored by three motion sensors so it could pick up X/Y/Z axis data, giving the player 1:1 motion mapped control of their in-game sword. Namco pulled this off on the NAOMI in 2002...a full ten years before Nintendo would ship the Wii with the Wiimote inside the box. Plus accuracy wise Mazan was reading data and giving you better motion mapping until Nintendo shipped the Plus attachment.

But outside of the tech damn this game is awesome. Graphically it looks as good if not better than anything PS2 ever did. Some of the graphical effects look on the level of PS3 / 360. Add in some amazing enemy designs and environmental design and it's near to perfect as it gets IMO. Plus it has a killer soundtrack with awesome east Asian sounding horror tracks.

But it's really the gameplay that sets it over the top for me. It is wholly unique and when you really get to learn the controls and you parry your enemies attacks and open their weak spot up for a quick slash of your sword? It feels absolutely incredible. Plus you can set it up to play at home via emulation and use a Wiimote or a trackball mouse (well any mouse but...that's what I use lol) and get to play a super unique and obscure game easily.

But for me Mazan is 10/10 hidden gem status. It's something everyone into the genre should play. It's just an awesome arcade light game except you use a sword.

But I am curious what everyone else's "games I love I bet nobody else has ever heard of" games are? Because I am sure there are ton's I've never heard of either
 
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VGEsoterica

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If you've never even seen what Mazan is

and this is the hilariously large cab. I had to pass on a chance to buy one last year because I couldn't find the space

 

Kuranghi

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Man, you weren't exaggerating, the enemy design is amazing, you should've shown the clip of the floating kimonos, centipedes and the "wall face" on screen when you said that, its all good but those were amazing! (Sorry for backseat editing you, after the edit in done as well lol)

Graphics are so good for the release year too. I want to crowdfund a new modern arcade machine, take a game that can run on a PC but could do with a more bespoke control method and we design the control method/cabinet. I haven't thought it through at all but I'm excited.
 

Kuranghi

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But I am curious what everyone else's "games I love I bet nobody else has ever heard of" games are? Because I am sure there are ton's I've never heard of either

What about Apidya on Amiga?




I love the sometimes cute but mostly creepy enemy designs and great OST, this is the first levels music:



My friends were out there burning real ants with magnifying glasses (probably) and I over here like "pffft I blow the heads beetles with my laser blaster"
 
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Kuranghi

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Help me remember what this is:

There is this Amiga (I think, could've been super early DOS game) game I've been struggling to think of where its side scrolling and you are a commando of some sort and you... *squints and struggles to remember* maybe rescue tied up guys and you place C4, you go into doors in the BG layer and come out in other places. It was very hard but I remember playing it a lot as a boy.

Any ideas?
 

VGEsoterica

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Man, you weren't exaggerating, the enemy design is amazing, you should've shown the clip of the floating kimonos, centipedes and the "wall face" on screen when you said that, its all good but those were amazing! (Sorry for backseat editing you, after the edit in done as well lol)

Graphics are so good for the release year too. I want to crowdfund a new modern arcade machine, take a game that can run on a PC but could do with a more bespoke control method and we design the control method/cabinet. I haven't thought it through at all but I'm excited.
Those clips are in there :) just briefly. It’s always hard condensing everything down to ten minutes though. But I post the full game the following Sunday after I post these so people get to enjoy the whole thing without commentary.

and yes the graphics are awesome for 2002. Some of the effects NAOMI is pulling off are nothing short of outstanding
 
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VGEsoterica

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Oct 5, 2019
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What about Apidya on Amiga?




I love the sometimes cute but mostly creepy enemy designs and great OST, this is the first levels music:



My friends were out there burning real ants with magnifying glasses (probably) and I over here like "pffft I blow the heads beetles with my laser blaster"
Literally never heard of this but I’ll for sure check it out!
 
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Hawks Eclipse

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Are you parsing the word as Maz-an? Cause I can't think of why else you'd get half of the pronunciation right.

You're pronouncing it as May-zan when it's Ma-zan (your zan is correct).

That aside, you're right, I'd never heard or seen this game before around that period, so thanks for bringing attention to it.

A few things:
  • Demon Lynx might be a nekomata.
  • The kanji that got translated into "Berzerker Mode" is "一撃必殺モード which Google translates as "One-shot deadly mode" (lol).
  • You mentioned not having heard the sound of sword clashes in real life (neither have I)...The goal of sound design in games and movies isn't always realism, it's about making it sound and feel right. So if the game sounded and felt great to you during those epic clashes, then they did a great job, real life be damned :D
  • Those aquatic enemies look like they were former officials who got transformed into fishmen, with their arms now being razor sharp flippers (to suit the sword theme). You can still see the hats and clothes they're wearing that hint at that.
  • I had to rewatch the bamboo forest section a few times to confirm: the bamboos do get cut based on where you're slicing, which is pretty damn impressive! Here's a screencap of when a small chunk got sliced off, as opposed to most of the footlong pieces.
Anyway, I'll bring this up since it's very slightly related: Die By The Sword
Main thing I remember was the control scheme, where you mouse movement controlled the sword hand directly. I never got good at the game at the time but it was an interesting premise.

Another game that did better, though not exactly going for the same goals, was Severance: Blade of Darkness.
Some highlights were dismemberment, dynamic shadows and lighting, the option to use third or first person perspective (I seem to remember rolling forward in first person and it was corny because it'd roll the camera with it, sucks for those who have motion sickness), oh and I think my friend pointed out at the time how faithful it was to the setting; maces did more damage to skeletons than swords (crushing bones vs slicing them).