Jewel Master didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s a competent side-scrolling action game on the Sega Genesis.
The kingdom of Mythgard was peaceful until Demon King Jardine the Mad attacked the kingdom. It’s up to the Jewel Master to foil the Demon King’s plans.
Jewel Master has a pretty basic formula that every gamer should be familiar with. You travel through five different levels, destroy enemies along the way, and occasionally travel through caves.
But Jewel Master tried to shake up the action side-scrolling monotony with an interesting game mechanic. As you go through the levels, you collect new elemental rings which you can equip to give your character new abilities to use, from fire blasts to ice shards.
You can equip two rings on each hand, and different combinations will result in different abilities. And it’s not only about attacks — ring combinations can give you a double jump, a speed up, and a barrier.
But while it’s fun to collect new rings and unlock new abilities, it doesn’t compensate for the game’s relatively bland levels and enemies.
It’s impossible to talk about side-scrolling action games in the 16-bit era without mentioning Super Castlevania IV.
Super Castlevania IV had beautiful levels and interesting enemies that always kept you on your toes. And there’s always perilous stairs, platforms, and obstacles to get through.
But nothing in Jewel Master stands out like that — you might find yourself just pressing right through boring linear levels hoping for it to end.
Fortunately, the bosses are memorable and you’ll need to master your ring combinations to find out the best way to fight them.
One of the best things about Jewel Master is its music, and much of the music seemed to be inspired by early 1970s progressive rock music. However, that’s not to say the game’s ambient music wasn’t great as well.
If you’re a fan of 16-bit action games, I’d give this game a spin. It’s definitely not the best game in the genre, but it has some charm.