“Arcus Odyssey” – An Underappreciated Gauntlet-like Gem!

Until just a couple days ago, I had never heard of Arcus Odyssey. I came across the game completely by accident while reading about some relatively-unknown action-RPGs on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo but after doing a bit of research I realized it was the first (and only!) release in the Arcus series to get a non-Japanese localization. As a whole, the games are fairly varied (from dungeon crawlers to more traditional RPGs), but this game has somewhat of an arcade feel to it.

Arcus Odyssey was originally released outside of Japan in 1991 on the Sega Genesis/Mega-Drive. The intro sequence seems to recap events from previously in the series and the game picks up with the player entering a large underground labyrinth to put a stop to the growing power of an evil sorceress who was sealed away 1,000 years prior to the game’s events. The game can be played by up to two people and is fairly similar to Gauntlet in that you can play as one of four different “classes” and general gameplay has you trudging through different themed stages, wiping out baddies, finding treasures, and ultimately looking for the exit to the boss that protects the door to the next area. Yet, the game does have pretty cool graphics, a nice soundtrack, and each stage presents a new challenge (such as collecting magical swords to place in pedestals to open the way forward).

In this video, I play through the first three of eight total Acts, and I will soon revisit the game to see how it all wraps up. This was released in 1993 in Japan on the Sharp X68000 computer system and also as Arcus Spirits on the Super Famicom, but a prototype for an English SNES release does exist, which I may also record in the near future. 🙂

Jessica Brown

Retro Games and Technology Editor. She'll beat pretty much every Mega Man game without breaking a sweat.

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