Sword of the Samurai was based on a Fighting Fantasy gamebook by Ian Livingstone & Steve Jackson. Two earlier books – Rebel Planet and Temple of Terror – had already been published as text/graphic adventures, and so this would probably have used the same game engine.
Adventure Soft were responsible for the games that were published, with the programmers for Temple of Terror listed in Gamebase as Michael & Simon Woodroofe, and Stefan Ufnowski for Rebel Planet. (Kayleth was an original sci-fi adventure by husband and wife team Stefan and Ann Ufnowski, but it was not based on the gamebooks).
The game was advertised in magazines such as CVG in 1986, and was brought to GTW’s attention thanks to Lee Theasby who kindly provided the advert scan. Also the game is missing on the ZX Spectrum, and apart from a few news mentions in the likes of Crash, nothing of the game ever surfaced, including any screenshots. Did the game even get started as a result?
Thanks to Strident (see comments), an interview with Mike Woodroffe in The Classic Adventurer (issue 5) revealed that the game was completed (for at least one format), but never released.
Mike said – “We got a long way with Sword of Samurai, into playtesting with that – there was a finished product. We had the artwork for the adverts and everything and it was all ready to go when we got hit with cashflow problems.”
In Strident’s words – “Mike indicated to The Adventure Gamer that poor sales of the earlier titles was the reason that no more were released, so although announced – it is unlikely that Devils of the Deep, Trial of Champions or Appointment with F.E.A.R were produced at all.”
It gives hope at least that something of Sword of Samurai could some day be found and played. Hopefully Mike will be able to dig out an old disk or tape with remains of the title on to preserve.
In the meantime, Strident also found a snippet in Zzap!64, which may show a very rare C64 screenshot.
If you know anything more about the game, please do get in touch!
Contributions: Lee Theasby, Fabrizio Bartoloni, Strident, Stephen Stuttard (scans)
Also, there are some C64 (?) graphics from the game in this article from Zzap!64… https://archive.org/details/zzapp_64_issue_019_600dpi/page/n55
As mentioned in the interview with Mike Woodroffe in The Classic Adventurer (issue 5, see http://classicadventurer.co.uk) the game was completed (for at least one format) but it was never actually released.
Mike: “We got a long way with Sword of Samurai, into playtesting with that – there was a finished product. We had the artwork for the adverts and everything and it was all ready to go when we got hit with cashflow problems.”
Mike indicated to The Adventure Gamer, https://advgamer.blogspot.com/2016/07/interview-with-mike-woodroffe.html#more, that poor sales of the earlier titles was the reason that no more were released… so although they were announced, it’s unlikely that Demons of the Deep, Trial of Champions, or Appointment With F.E.A.R. were produced.
Love me some Fighting Fantasy, would be good to get these ones uncovered!