#308 – Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II



Yes, that’s Fabio, holding a decidedly faux-iron sword. He really did take this picture near an erupting volcano, though.




Birds drop dookies on your head. Believe it or not, the dooks really do penetrate through steel. Acid dooks.





GENRE: Action/adventure

RELEASE DATE: December 1989


For better and for worse, Ironsword retains the Wizards & Warriors template. Kuros, the bug-eyed, Monty Python-esque knight in all Wizards & Warriors titles, lives or dies by his sword – a sword that may or may not be made of iron. It is not the Ironsword that you initially wield, though. In W&W II, the goal of the game is to reconstruct the Ironsword and defeat the Wizard in five thrown together stages. Find keys to open chests to gain treasure to further help your quest. There’s also a shopkeeper now where you can use your previously useless treasure in exchange for keys, food, and special items, among other things. Every stage forces you to ascend upward while Kuros fends off kamikaze enemies from every angle. The original Wizards & Warriors did this too, but here the enemies feel angrier, and Kuros still can’t swing a sword to save his life. C’mon, Rare, you had two years to fix this crappy mechanic! What you hope happens is that the enemies run into your sword as they’re attacking you. In other words: the only way you fight enemies is by not fighting them at all. Position your sword so that they run into it. The execution is poor, especially when you have several enemies from every direction coming at you. Even if you kill a couple, it’s nearly impossible not to get hit. Rare also took out the unlimited continues from the first game, though I’m not sure why; you need them just as much in Ironsword, if not more so. Sequels should be, in theory, an improvement over the original, or at least be on par with them. The sloppier sword mechanics and lack of continues really bring Ironsword down.




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  • Even if we can’t agree on if this game is any good or not, at least we can all agree that it birthed one of the greatest NES commercials of all time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oQyjxo73Bs

    “Back vile beast!”

  • I played Wizards and Warriors first, and Ironsword second. I will admit I don’t have a real clear recollection of either though as it was so long ago and I haven’t picked them up since. It does seem like I enjoyed Wizards and Warriors more, I actually owned that one. Ironsword – I recall some of the magazine/advertisements for it, and I didn’t mind it when I rented it, but I’m recalling several things as I read your review, like the cheap hits.

  • Anonymous

    I beat the original over and over again until I had filled up all the top scores, 5 if I am not mistaken. My thumb was red and swollen for a few days.

    The original was superb, not perfect, but a completely playable and enjoyable experience.

    Ironsword was good, but lost that charm the original had. At least it was better than the third installment, that was awful.


  • I owned both, and I think I played iron sword more simply because it seemed a bit easier for me (I at least could beat the first few stages) wizards and warriors though, I didnt play it much. I remember the first stage being a really cool forest though. It always killed me.

  • Anonymous

    I just beat Ironsword: Wizards and Warriors II this morning for the first time. I kind of prefer this game over the original game mainly because of the different color keys.

  • I beat Ironsword once a long time ago and never played Wizards and Warriors. This game sucketh something fierce

  • Rom Woodhouse

    Right on. I could never reconcile my experience of this game with the universal acclaim it garnered in magazines of the day. Glad I’m not the only one to find it an awkward disappointment.

  • Cameron Young

    One of my favorites!!1