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Overview

Deathbringer is a side-scrolling hack and slash game where you use a life-stealing sword to slay just about everything you come across.  The blade is cursed, so if you don't feed its bloodlust often enough it will begin to go out of control, stabbing in random directions, with the ultimate result of it flying out of your hands and embedding itself in your chest.  
 

Gameplay

Players progress through open levels where you can move to the right or left, and at the end of those areas you either reach another side-scrolling level or a boss-like screen which has a huge, animated monster or monsters which must be defeated or bypassed, usually with multiple places to hit.
 
Players can stab diagonally up or down, as well as straight ahead, as well as run and jump.   Monsters include goblins, hostile wildlife, and fire-breathing dragon babies, while the bosses include a huge dragon (maybe the mama), a trio of giants, and a gnarled rock monster.
 
All of this sounds promising, but where the formula breaks down is in the gameplay execution.  With the rage meter for the sword, and player character's own meager health, the game can be very lethal.  Usually running past enemies is the best way to get through a level, but when you're hit, not only do you take damage, but you also get knocked back.  Without the temporary invincibility flicker that you get in other such games, this means that if you hit a series of enemies, you could get bounced back repeatedly with no control over your character until he's about dead.
 
The music, while fun, is unrelenting, and there are no sound effects.  The opening scroll that tells you the story of the game is pretty hilarious, but it's probably the most disappointing thing about the game because it seems to promise a better game than you actually get. The crushing difficulty, combined with the sluggish controls, make this more as an example of the possibility for brilliant graphics, character design, opening narration, and animation for the time period, at least.

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