“ Genre: Adventure / Published by Electronic Arts / Release date: 1990 „
The Immortal is almost certainly the darkest game ever released for the Sega Megadrive. The game sees you play as a sword-wielding wizard, on a quest to rescue your master who has become lost deep in a network of nightmarish, subterranean dungeons filled with bloodthirsty orcs and trolls, poisonous spiders, and hundreds of brutal traps hidden at every turn.
The game is played from an isometric 3d perspective, with beautifully detailed grapics and some of the most exquisite 2d animation I've ever seen in a computer game. It really is a joy to behold, containing dozens and dozens of exotic death sequences in which our sorceror protagonist is immolated, decapitated (complete with arterial spray), melted, hacked to pieces, electrocuted, felled with arrows, eaten by spiders and giant worms, dragged beneath the water and devoured by a giant tentacled leviathan, plunges to his death, and gets impaled on a huge spike that rises up unexpectedly from the dungeon floor amongst others.
Here they are, in all their gory glory....
Roaming around the dungeon, you must collect treasure, gold, keys and numerous magical items to aid you in your quest, as you try and work out the game's devious puzzles whilst avoiding the violent deaths that await you at every turn. It really is a fiendishly hard game, and can be quite frustrating, but so intoxicating are the visuals, music and general atmosphere (the text-based story that narrates your progression through the dungeons is also very well done) that the game's at-times irritating difficulty can be forgiven. Indeed, the game's hardness only makes the dungeons appear that much more foreboding, giving the impression that there might ba a thousand levels for you to fight your way through, rather than just eight (although that proves to be more than enough to keep the player occupied for a good long while).
In addition to working out puzzles, you must fight Orcs, Trolls and Spiders in close combat, with simple hack and slash and evade options making up the simple but entertaining combat system, and once you have defeated your foes you are treateed to some more truly spectacular and even more detailed death sequences, in which your character hacks off heads, turns foes to stone, slices them in half so that their entrails splatter across the dungeon floor and even causes their heads to bulge and then explode, their eyes flying across the room like champagne corks as their brains splatter in all directions and their lifeless corpses slam onto the cold stone tiles.
The visuals are nothing short of stunning, and every death scene can be seen below- (dooyoo puts a space in the word "immortal" for some reason, delete the space in your web browser address bar to make the link work):
A difficult, unspeakably dark and wholly engaging puzzle game, The Immortal does have some limitations in that it its completely linear and frustrating at times, but its so clearly a labour of love and so utterly immersive and delightfully macabre that it manages to overcome these flaws and then some. Its best played on the MegaDrive, as this version has far better music and contains the close-combat death scenes, and stands as a truly great, gore drenched Dungeons and Dragons-style puzzler.