The idea behind the game is to find all of the clues in the game that correspond with the included comic book. For example, If you have the right combination of items in your inventory and you walk into the right room with them two numbers will flash on the screen. The first numbers you will find are 16-4 in the Aries room. This is because that clue is a freebie and doesn't require any items. These numbers mean page 16, box 4. If you search that box of the comic long enough then you will find a word hidden in the picture somewhere. That word is part of a sentence that you need to put together. This is a bit of a problem because there are no clues as to which items go where. This means you will have to randomly pick up items and go to other rooms randomly and that hurts the gameplay terribly. But if you can find all of the clues then you get the warrior sword and complete the game.
To make the game a bit more fun Atari put some arcade sequences in to keep you away from some items. All of these sequences involve getting past obstacles and trying to get to the other side. But with the help of some items you can cross the obstacles with more ease. For example, the candle allows you to see the Taurus Horns so that you can try and dodge them instead of blindly running around them. This use of items gives the game it's feel of adventure and makes up for the rest of the game which comes off as a bit of a contest tool when you are searching for the clues.
The graphics in SwordQuest are awesome looking. When you first start the game you are greeted with a title screen and a detailed glowing sword. All the rooms in the game look the same with a different color which is kind of a bummer but running between rooms gives you a cool 3D first person view which is done well. The arcade sequences also look nice and feature lots of color.
There isn't anything extraordinary about this part. When you find a clue you are treated with a nice jingle. Sound effects include waterfalls and explosions when you walk through doors (?). No complaints really.
This game features the best control of any 2600 adventure title. You move your character with the stick and press the button to view all of the items in your current room which you can then select to take with you or not.
SwordQuest must have been amazing back in the day. But without the contest pushing it the gameplay is less enthusiastic. While not to many people enjoy the game I do like to play it every once and a while to try and find more clues. If anything, you should own this game just to own a piece of history and maybe romp around the SwordQuest world.