Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Wizards & Warriors

Wizards & Warriors

Wizards & Warriors is the game for this glorious Tuesday. Of course it is another NES game by uber-dev Rare (Coin-It!!) released over here in 1987. Yep, the Brits had to wait another couple of years before the game developed in their own country was even available to play over there! But who cares, no one in Euroland was playing NES anyway. Those guys were all busy with their Acorns, Micro's, and Speccy's and whatnot. In fact if memory serves, the Sega Master System was even more popular over that way than the Nintendo's 8-Bit workhorse. Well, whaddaya gonna do..

Bastard child or not, Wizards & Warriors was a hell of a game to be sure, in spite of my initial expectations - I remember seeing this thing advertised on the back covers of Marvel comic books - the promotional painting looked derivative and uninspired, the name was bland as the day was long, and the screenshots looked dinky and awkward, at best. Yet it was a game put forth by Rare, the very masterminds who'd given us the much-loved RC Pro-Am (among several other gems) and therefore they were not to be trifled with, those guys knew what, clearly, was up. And so this game beckoned, and I heeded..

Right off the bat, you're this Knight done up in old-timey armor (the kind that looked like it'd be hard to walk in, let alone battle monsters and jump through medieval forests with). You could swing your spear, collect powerups, find treasure, grab keys, and generally wind your way to the exit to deal with more bizarre madness. The levels were all over the place - sometimes you're in this wacky-perspective jungle, other times you ascend through impossibly-tall hallowed out trees, yet others you are stomping through lava caves and places that are anywhere but linear seeming.

And of course every level had a boss, and a princess. Man this game had more princesses than any game I have EVER seen. I mean you are trying to save your true love at the end of the game, but along the way I guess ol' Kuros has a thing for the strange. Well hey, good for him. Killing otherworldly demon's is tiring work, right?

Overall, W&W is a charming game that somehow got through it's initial awkward stage to become a very memorable NES action title which never really saw a proper successor. Yeah there were sequels, the 2nd one was quite good in fact but - completely different game. Wizards & Warriors was a weird, fun game without precedent in my eyes and it left just as it came, without an equal. It was one of those titles that you started up begrudgingly, get sucked into, played the whole way through, handed the final boss his ASS, put on the shelf for 6 or 9 months, and then one day you'd be bored "oh yeah! I remember this game!" And get sucked into its world all over again. Is there really much better that can be said of any title, than that?

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