Swordfight - Atari 2600


Two knights face each other at the edge of the universe. They slowly advance on each other, their laser swords tightly gripped as they prepare to fight to the death. Destroy your opponent before being destroyed yourself, no mercy, there can be only one!

Swordfight was finished at M Network in the 1980's, but never released. In 2000, Intellivision Productions released this game complete with a simple box and manual. Swordfight requires two players, which is possibly why the game was not released in the first place.

This release of Swordfight includes a full-color, M Network style manual created by Dale Crum.

Author Stephen Tatsumi
Number of Players 2
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 4K
Nathan Strum on 07/11/2009 04:25am
An unreleased M-Network prototype, Swordfight (which requires two players) features two large figures on floating platforms, swinging "laser swords" at each other. Hit your opponent enough times, and you win. Simple enough.

If anything though, Swordfight is too simple. While it has decent graphics, the controls are under-utilized. While you can swing and block, you are limited to "left", "overhead", and "right". The problem is, you're looking at the characters from the side - so "left" and "right" are effectively wasted. Far better would have been "high", "middle", and "low" swings and blocks. The fire button is used to advance and retreat (which works well enough), but since the "left" and "right" attacks look pretty much the same and its difficult to predict how to block your opponent (since the motions are so limited), most of the time you'll just find yourself flailing wildly at your opponent until he dies (or you do).

Swordfight doesn't keep track of scores, so you can't play multiple rounds and keep track of who's ahead. The lack of a one-player option also severely limits the playability of the game. There's no way to really practice except with another player, and the lack of any progression (through different rounds or difficulty levels) really gives the whole thing a very unfinished feel. While the manual claims the game is indeed finished, Swordfight almost seems like a game engine in search of an idea, or maybe a particular movie license which had been locked up by another game company. With limited controls and no depth to speak of, the novelty of beating up your opponent with a light sab... I mean, "laser sword", wears off pretty quickly.

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