One of my favourite arcade games with a pumping overworld soundtrack and a creepy and mysterious castle theme. Taito created a great game clearly influenced by Conan the Barbarian and in places The Lord of The Rings (watch the background on the first stage…). I was slightly disappointed with the ZX Spectrum conversion as the gameplay lacked certain elements but the music was a fairly decent rendition of the arcade theme. The Commodore 64 version had a superb adaptation of the arcade soundtrack that really showed what the SID chip could do.
Depending on where you lived in the world depended on what storyline you got for the arcade version. The Japanese release had the following while the rest of the world got, well, nothing really!
You are Rastan, an iron muscled barbarian from the cold northlands. A bounty hunter by trade, you fear no man or dark, slavering beast! For you are a master of every edged weapon. Now, a king has given you a quest. Rescue his daughter from the deepest reaches of Semia; a land where even villains fear to tread. Succeed, and wealth beyond your wildest dreams shall be the reward! Take destiny into your own hands. Journey into the darkest heart of Semia, using magical weapons, armor and potions you find and win on the way. At every turn you’ll encounter nightmarish creatures determined to stop you. But beware… the king has sent over 100 men into Semia… and each has met his doom! Will you?
The home computer versions got this;
Thrill to the real arcade feel as you are plunged in the world of Maranna inhabited by a hardy race of barbarians, King of this race is Rastan, an adventurer, a warrior, a man pure of heart and rich in spirit. The evil wizard, Karg, thwarted by Rastan in his attempts to overthrow the throne has opened the portals of hells and unleashed a variety of beasts and demons upon Maranna. Only one man has proved himself true enough to confront the hordes; the king himself – Rastan. His task… to fight his way through the countries of his continent, killing beasts and demons in order to reach the far-off land of the wizard and the final confrontation with Karg himself, in his deadliest guise as the soul-sucking dragon. Will he succeed?.., it’s up to you.
C&VG (Arcade Review);
The coin-op of the month has GOT to be Taito’s superb Rastan Saga – A battle of wits and cunning with a huge Conanesque character as the hero. Rastan Saga is fast paced and the action doesn’t let up for a minute. Highly addictive and very playable, the game has got all the ingredients to make it a winner.
Crash (ZX Spectrum Review) – 85/100;
Graphically good, a macho Conan style main character cleaves his way across a variety of solid, smooth scrolling backdrops…
One small thing that did annoy me was the intrusive and time-consuming multiload. In the end I found it most tiresome, but it fortunately didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the game. Rastan is a great game for all you closet mad axe-wielders out there.
A cracking arcade game. This one first caught my eye when I was on holiday in the Lake District but it would be a long time before I saw Rastan in my local arcades. It did, eventually, appear in a local computer software shop. Happy days!
A stunning game with great graphics and sound but with one hell of a difficulty level. This isn’t an easy game. It’s one of the hardest arcade games i’ve played. On the face of it it should be quite easy as it’s a straight-forward scrolling hack n slash but the variety of enemies and the excellent level design conspire to make the game very hard.
The levels themselves are split into three distinct sections: Overworld, Castle (or Caves) and Boss.
The first Overworld level is a rather gentle introduction to the game that doesn’t throw too many surprises at you but does present you with many of the concepts that you come across later on, from the destructible blocks to swinging ropes and the various weapons that increase your ability to massacre the monsters.
After the pulse pounding overworld section you move into the Castle that is the home of the levels boss. The soundtrack completely changes to something more sedate but instantly creepy. The monsters within the Castle or also harder to kill than those found in the overworld comprising of armoured monsters that also pack better weapons.
When you reach the boss the music changes again to something very dramatic, the boss battles themselves can be tricky but as with all games once you know the pattern you can dispatch them with ease.
Overall a superb arcade game with great music and graphics, one I highly recommend but beware as this is a difficult game.
I thought it would be nice to include various pieces instead of just the one main theme.