Blade of Darkness is a 2001 action game that released on the PC, which I owned and played. Two decades later, its been released for the Switch. The game featured, bloody, methodical combat in a dark fantasy world. It was also extremely difficult. It didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but was an influential title nevertheless. It even influenced a developer called FromSoftware. You see, the game is the prototype for the Soulslike genre.
The Soulslike genre is defined as: “Players are challenged to defeat enemies and bosses while utilizing a plethora of different weapons and items, all while keeping track of limited health resources and managing stamina use.” The defines Blade of Darkness exactly.
Unlike, say, Dark Souls, there is no large interconnected world here in Blade of Darkness, but several defined levels. There are four characters to play: a knight, barbarian, dwarf and Amazon. Each character has their own starting level and particular weapons they are skilled at. You can use weapons not defined for your character, but you’ll use them clumsily.
Blade of Darkness is twenty years old, the graphics are of that era, blocky and simplistic textures. I also suggest you up the brightness, because the game is dark, literally. The controls weren’t great with a mouse and keyboard back then, and honestly, work betters mapped out to a controller. Still, they are finicky and demand precision.
Blade of Darkness can’t hold a candle to the greats of the Soulslike genre, like Bloodborne or Elden Ring. It is somewhat primitive in design, lacking that large intricate world. It is a prototype for what would come later. But still, decades later it is still worth a play to see where Dark Souls got its inspiration.
Overall: Blade of Darkness is a relic from another era of gaming, but since it is so influential, it is a worth a play through.
P,S, For what not to do with a Soulslike, try Soulsland!