#730 – Wizards & Warriors

                                      

                                                                                           I tell you, my locks will not be tamed!

 

                        

                                                             Kuros is hot-blooded, but there’s no need to check and see.

 

PLAYERS: 1

PUBLISHER: Acclaim

DEVELOPER: Rare

GENRE: Platformer

RELEASE DATE: December 1987

 

If you were a knight at the dawning of the age of Aquarius, you might act a little like Kuros, the star of Wizards and Warriors. He’s loopy, and he can’t hold a sword properly, but he still gets his share of knighting done. Kuros wanders through forests, ice and fire caves, more forests, and a large castle for the reward of half-naked princesses aplenty. The worlds he wanders are “non-linear,” which means, his journey isn’t a mere left-to-right affair. Each world requires precise jumps (lots of ’em!), an array of hidden items, keys of varying colors, and gobs of gems to conquer. A red, blue, and pink key are hidden throughout each world. Once collected, they open up treasure chests of the same color. The treasure chests give either gems, which bribe the knight at the end of each stage; or special items like “The Feather of Feather Fall,” which allows you to float gently down if you fall off a ledge. Each world takes a goodly amount of time to explore its depths and intricacies. Fear not: there’s no time limit, you have unlimited continues, and you restart right where you die every time. Wizards and Warriors was quite the generous game in 1987. Two complaints: enemies are numerous and belligerent, attacking you with every ounce of strength and hostility within their bones; and the level design feels sloppy and unrefined compared to Nintendo’s own non-linear adventure Metroid,released the year prior. Nevertheless, gathering treasure and saving ladies proves addicting enough to hold one’s attention throughout the adventure. You and Aquarius win this round, Kuros.

 

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  • I realized the following thing about Wizards & Warriors, which may be a small thing, but it really felt like a lightbulb going off: this was one of the first games from Rare, the Stampers having previously helmed Ultimate Play the Game, famous for its ZX Spectrum games. And, indeed: you look at the game from that angle, and you realize, whoa, this looks and feels WAY more like a ZX Spectrum game than it does a typical NES thing. At this point, they clearly hadn't entirely left their past behind them. I always saw W&W differently after realizing that.

    • DylanCornelius

      I thought about mentioning that the game plays more like a European computer game than an NES title. Rare was in that awkward transition phase between computer and console at this point.

  • One of the earliest NES rentals I ever got my hands on. Thoroughly enjoyed it too.

  • Guest

    Just played it today and finish the game for the first time. Not one of my favorites, but it's not a bad game either.

  • FieryReign

    I think this game sucks… The enemies simply ram into you, the reach of your sword is pathetic, and there is way too much jumping. The music that plays when your energy gets low is highly annoying too…

    • DylanCornelius

      Do not play the sequel then, whatever you do.

      • FieryReign

        Oh, I played Ironsword when it came out, that one sucks too… I do recall it having some decent music though.

        Never gave the third game a chance. If it has the same slippery controls and pathetic combat, I probably wouldn't enjoy that either. Maybe I'll fire it up on the old emu…

        • DylanCornelius

          It's the best out of the three because it's not so combat heavy.

  • Wizdumb83

    This game has a lot of nostalgia value for me, I don't know why but it seemed like every kid on my block owned a copy, which is strange looking back because I don't think it was super successful. I agree that the music when you're low on life is pretty annoying but I really like the music other than that throughout the game, especially the first level. One of my biggest gripes with it is that you would have a great weapon like the dagger of throwing or the the cloak of something or other, and you would open a chest and it would automatically replace what you have with it with no way to switch back or not take it at all. Been waiting a while for you to review this and am glad you gave it a decent review. No I wait for your receiver of “yo noid” as the only other obscure game left on your list that I have any emotional connection to.

    • DylanCornelius

      You mean you can't relate with Xexyz?!

  • Wizdumb

    Haha, no I never played it. And the only reason I have a connection to yo noid is that I had all my games stolen from my house one year except that one for some reason. So I played the crap out of it while I slowly built up my collection again. Guess they couldn't wrap their brains around why a pizza chain mascot deserved it's own game… And to this day I can't figure out why either.

  • Wizdumb

    Awesome box art on the game too

  • I have never played it either but want to now!