At its heart, Blade of Darkness is a castle and dungeon crawl – sometimes repetitively so – intertwined with a perpetual key hunt and search for six runes, hidden in secret locations within the game’s 18 levels. This journey across a traditional fantasy world overrun by orcs is made palatable by an eerie lighting system and some amazing injections of sound that cause the tense atmosphere to drip from the stone cold walls of each new location.
Technologically, Blade of Darkness has some nice details and killer real-time shadow effects, though the graphics aren’t quite as refined as those of, say, the UnrealEngine-powered Rune. In building a tense atmosphere of danger in every single environment, the sound in fact offers the winning grace. As you enter one cathedral area, decked with demonic iconography in its stained-glass windows, a rousing Gregorian chant drowns you. Elsewhere, the ambient sound is unobtrusive, and footsteps sound different on various surfaces, showing a keen attention to detail.