Rastan – also known as “Rastan Saga” in Japan – is a scrolling hack and slash arcade game developed and manufactured by Taito in 1987. It features a barbarian warrior who must embark on a quest to slay an evil dragon.
The introduction sequence is unintentionally funny. “I used to be a thief and a murderer. Otherwise, I could not survive in such difficult times,” says Rastan, as he sits, Conan the Barbarian-like, on his throne. “Sit beside me and listen to my story of days full of adventure…” Erm, sit beside a thief and murderer? No thanks! Where’s the exit?
The game features six different rounds, each consisting of three areas, and you – as ex-thief and murderer, Rastan – must slice, jump and climb your way through a left-to-right scrolling landscape and beat each stage’s boss at the end of the round. Rastan has a default sword and can also pick up various other weapons to help fight his way through the endless creatures and mythical monsters that attack him from all directions.
A damage bar at the bottom of the screen indicates Rastan‘s health, and when it reaches zero you lose a life. Medicine bottles restore a proportion of lost health, but you also have to make sure that you don’t pick up any poison bottles which do the opposite. Picking up a “Gold Sheep” (I think they mean “Golden Fleece“) restores Rastan‘s full health, and the cloak or the armour pickups will reduce damage from enemies. The magic ring speeds up Rastan‘s swings, which is useful; the magic necklace doubles points awarded for kills, and collecting jewels awards more bonus points. There’s also the rod, which I think speeds Rastan up. There’s no information about it online so I’m not 100% sure. Most weapons and collectables only last for a short period of time, except for the ring, which Rastan keeps until the end of the game, if he collects it.
Rastan – like most arcade games – is pretty tough, gameplay-wise. Enemies come at you constantly, and if the game thinks you’re taking it too slow and carefully it will throw a bat swarm at you from both sides of the screen, which is a bitch.
Home computer versions of Rastan, for the Amstrad CPC, C64, Apple II, ZX Spectrum and MSX, were released, and ports for the Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear, and Sega Megadrive/Genesis also exist.
More: Rastan on Wikipedia