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SpellCaster, known in Japan as Kujaku Ou ("Peacock King"), is an adventure game that is controlled in the classic Japanese style of menu-driven commands. The player selects where to look, where to move, who to talk to and what to pick up and use from a series of commands available at all times. The general plot of the game is that Kujaku is summoned to a local temple in order to investigate some supernatural troubles that have been affecting the area since a recent thunderstorm.
Kujaku Ou is actually based on a manga of the same name, an anime adaptation of which (as well as a live-action movie) were also released in 1988.
Kujaku will occasionally encounter malevolent spirits and other monsters while investigating, and these are fought in a rudimentary turn-based RPG combat system that lets the player attack, pray or simply run away from the encounter. Many battles are unavoidable and necessary to continue the plot, but others will simply appear randomly if the player wanders between destinations without solving puzzles and moving the story forward.
Though known as Kujaku Ou for its Japanese releases on the Sega Master System, MSX and NES - these three versions came out within days of each other - a localized US Sega Master System release eventually materialized with a slightly different protagonist and was renamed SpellCaster. While most of the plot remains the same, the game is far more action-based and has several side-scrolling brawler/platformer sections.