Hack and slash, also known as hack and slay (H&S or HnS) or slash 'em up,[1][2] refers to a type of gameplay that emphasizes combat with melee-based weapons (such as swords or blades). They may also feature projectile-based weapons as well (such as guns) as secondary weapons. It is a sub-genre of beat 'em up games, which focuses on melee combat, usually with swords. Third-person hack and slash games are also sometimes known as character action games and spectacle fighters.

The term "hack and slash" was originally used to describe a play style in tabletop role-playing games, carrying over from there to MUDs, massively multiplayer online role-playing games, and role-playing video games. In arcade and console style action video games, the term has an entirely different usage, specifically referring to action games with a focus on real-time combat with hand-to-hand weapons as opposed to guns or fists. The two types of hack-and-slash games are largely unrelated, though action role-playing games may combine elements of both.

Types of hack-and-slash games edit

Action video games edit

In the context of action video games, the terms "hack and slash" or "slash 'em up"[1][2] refer to melee weapon-based action games that are a sub-genre of beat 'em ups. Traditional 2D side-scrolling examples include Taito's The Legend of Kage (1985)[2] and Rastan (1987),[1][3] Sega's arcade video game series Shinobi (1987 debut)[1][4] and Golden Axe (1989 debut),[5][6] Data East's arcade game Captain Silver (1987),[1] Tecmo's early Ninja Gaiden (Shadow Warriors) 2D games (1988 debut),[1] Capcom's Strider (1989),[2][7] the Sega Master System game Danan: The Jungle Fighter (1990),[1] Taito's Saint Sword (1991),[1] Vivid Image's home computer game First Samurai (1991),[2] and Vanillaware's Dragon's Crown (2013).[4] The term "hack-and-slash" in reference to action-adventure games dates back to 1987, when Computer Entertainer reviewed The Legend of Zelda and said it had "more to offer than the typical hack-and-slash" epics.[8]

In the early 21st century, journalists covering the video game industry often use the term "hack and slash" to refer to a distinct genre of 3D, third-person, weapon-based, melee action games. Examples include Capcom's Devil May Cry, Onimusha, and Sengoku Basara[9] franchises, Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors and 3D Ninja Gaiden games, Sony's Genji: Dawn of the Samurai and God of War, as well as Bayonetta, Darksiders, Dante's Inferno,[10][11][12] and No More Heroes. The genre is sometimes known as "character action" games, and represent a modern evolution of traditional arcade action games. This subgenre of games was largely defined by Hideki Kamiya, creator of Devil May Cry and Bayonetta.[13] In turn, Devil May Cry (2001) was influenced by earlier hack-and-slash games, including Onimusha: Warlords (2001)[14] and Strider.[15][16]

Role-playing games edit

The term "hack and slash" itself has roots in "pen and paper" role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), denoting campaigns of violence with no other plot elements or significant goal. The term itself dates at least as far back as 1980, as shown in a Dragon article by Jean Wells and Kim Mohan which includes the following statement: "There is great potential for more than hacking and slashing in D&D or AD&D; there is the possibility of intrigue, mystery and romance involving both sexes, to the benefit of all characters in a campaign."[17]

Hack and slash made the transition from the tabletop to role-playing video games, usually starting in D&D-like worlds.[18] This form of gameplay influenced a wide range of action role-playing games, including games such as Xanadu,[19] and Diablo.[20]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Complete Games Guide". Mean Machines. No. 20 (28 April 1992). May 1992. pp. 6, 14, 18, 20, 22, 26.
  2. ^ a b c d e "First Samurai". Computer and Video Games. No. 121 (December 1991). 15 November 1991. pp. 28–30.
  3. ^ Reed, Kristan (4 January 2007). "Taito Legends Power-Up". Eurogamer. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  4. ^ a b Gass, Zach (11 May 2020). "10 Awesome Hack and Slash Games That Aren't God of War". Screen Rant. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  5. ^ Greg Kasavin (2006-11-30). "Golden Axe Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
  6. ^ Patrick Shaw (2008-05-16). "Golden Axe: Beast Rider". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
  7. ^ Weiss, Brett (9 July 2018). Classic Home Video Games, 1989-1990: A Complete Guide to Sega Genesis, Neo Geo and TurboGrafx-16 Games. McFarland & Company. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-7864-9231-2.
  8. ^ "Nintendo Software" (PDF). Computer Entertainer. Vol. 6, no. 5. August 1987. p. 12. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 23, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Story behind Development of "Sengoku BASARA"". Capcom. December 24, 2015.
  10. ^ "Dante's Inferno Review - UGO.com". November 5, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-05.
  11. ^ Heavenly Sword Review, VideoGamer.com, 04/09/2007
  12. ^ Pementel, Michael (7 January 2019). "A Timeless Hack And Slash Historical Adventure: Remembering 'Onimusha: Warlords'". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  13. ^ Hovermale, Chris (2019-03-10). "How Devil May Cry's arcade inspirations shaped character action games". Destructoid. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  14. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly, December 2001 issue, p. 56.
  15. ^ Fahey, Rob (2007-01-01). "Strider 1/2". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  16. ^ Jones, Darran (24 Apr 2010). "The Making of... Strider". Retro Gamer (76). pp. 48-53.
  17. ^ Wells, Jean; Mohan, Kim (July 1980). "Women want equality - and why not?". Dragon #39. TSR Hobbies, Inc. V (1): 16.
  18. ^ David Myers. "The attack of the backstories (and why they won't win)" (PDF). Loyola University New Orleans. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-12-01.
  19. ^ "Hack and Slash: What Makes a Good Action RPG?". 1UP.com. May 18, 2010. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  20. ^ Kruse, Cord (2008-09-05). "Diablo III: Timeline, Expanded RPG Elements, iTunes D3 Music". Inside Mac Games. Archived from the original on Jun 6, 2019. Retrieved 2008-10-07.