#725 – Willow

 

                               “Willow: Back 2 Tha Ufgood” was the proposed existential sequel. It never came to pass.

 

                                     

                                                                                   “Is that you, Smaug? My, you’ve aged!”

 

PLAYERS: 1

PUBLISHER: Capcom

DEVELOPER: Capcom

GENRE: Action/RPG

RELEASE DATE: December 1989

 

Willow is an obviously well-constructed action-RPG, with gorgeous animation and graphics, solid controls, and elements like the in-game combat that were slightly ahead of their time. But woe be to me (and the comment section), it just didn’t click as I hoped. You play as Willow Ufgood, an unlikely hero who must save the world from the evil Queen Bavmorda’s sorcerous ways. Willow has a number of swords, shields, and magical powers he acquires as he travels through the land. He gains experience in real-time combat (like Secret of Mana or Crystalis), usually as he’s plowing through a forest or a cave. The story, characters, villages, and environments all look like they fell out of a Tolkien fan-fiction, though that’s to be expected in this genre. What matters is gameplay, and that’s where Willow leaves me unsatisfied. Outside of fighting monsters (the standard monster’s presence teeters between sporadic and over-abundant) and trying to figure out where the hell you’re supposed to go (bring some graph paper or a walkthrough – the world is quite vast), there’s not a lot to do. The caves/dungeons – such as they are – don’t have any puzzles. The few quests you do encounter usually involve “Find the key!” or “Bring the herbs to my missing pet.” I understand this game came out in ’89, so I’m not looking for deep hours-long side-stories; just something to keep me motivated. By the time I reached the Mountain Pass (about halfway through), I was more excited for my next weapon, shield, or magic upgrade, than the adventure itself. Willow is a decent, if unremarkable title, but it’s not the fantastic journey I expected it to be.

 

C+

 

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  • You review is pretty similar to how I remember this one going – very average stuff. It was a weekend rental.

    • DylanCornelius

      I'm glad to read this. I thought I was the only one who found it average!

  • Samuel

    I used to love this game. I was a huge fan of the movie, so naturally I loved the game. I do remember having maps of the entire game just to keep from getting lost. Surely you could have gone with a B-? lol

    • DylanCornelius

      I could have, but… nah.

  • I hope me ranking it #11 on my countdown didn't hype it up too much for you 🙂 I still love it, though the story (and most of the dungeons) is banal. It's just so refreshing to have an RPG where you must save the world, are asked by everybody to save the world, and you're not nickel and dimed by the same people to do so.

    • DylanCornelius

      Haha, nah you are but one of many people who hold this game in high regard. I know what you mean about Willow, though: he's considered a boss by everyone.

  • Alfonso Deya

    This game was interesting, but it felt bland and far too basic….

  • Haruji-san

    I freaking *ADORE* the movie, and I like the game. It's nowhere near as great as the movie, and it's not a spectacular RPG like Final Fantasy VI or Tales of Symphonia, but I still find it enjoyable in moderate doses.

  • Rom Woodhouse

    I loved the movie as a kid (it hasn’t aged well) and the first stage of the arcade game was fun, so I too went into this with high hopes. Nope. It’s competently produced, but too slow for me. Your score and review seem spot on.