#731 – Wizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions of Power

  

                                           We’re calling out the big guns: Gandalf, Robin Hood, and the, uh… Prince of Persia.

 

                 

                                                       Surely those green gargoyles don’t enjoy being used as platforms.

 

PLAYERS: 1

PUBLISHER: Acclaim

DEVELOPER: Rare

GENRE: Adventure

RELEASE DATE: March 1992

 

Nah, I didn’t forget to review Wizards & Warriors II. Here it is.

 

One more cup of Kuros before you go. And what a cup! The final entry in the Wizards & Warriors trilogy is also the best. Rare wisely de-emphasizes combat – the series’ weakest feature – while encouraging exploration and adventure. The story: after Ironsword, Kuros lost his memories and knightly powers. Despite lacking his previous abilities, a sense of urgency draws him to the strange, vertically-minded city of Piedup. It is here where he begins his journey. In the beginning of the game, Kuros’ goal is to seek nine statues – three Thief, three Knight, and three Wizard – find the guilds where these statues belong, and take challenges which will test his thieving, knightly, and magical mettle respectively. After he has completed one of each challenge, he will have obtained thief attire, stronger knight armor, and wizard robes, each with their own distinct abilities (the Knight is balanced in strength and combat, the Thief is sneaky, and the Wizard has a staff that launches fire projectiles). The three areas of the game – Piedup, The Castle and The Dungeon – have denizens who will respond to his clothes in different ways. For example, Kuros will be welcomed as a knight in the Castle, but only as a thief in Piedup and only as a wizard in the Dungeon. Completing all nine challenges in the guilds will produce a stronger, more well-rounded Kuros than ever before, skilled in stealth, might, and magic. But his quest is not over. He’ll then need to rescue four princesses and their Crown Jewels before fighting Malkil, the final boss from Ironsword. Then, finally, Kuros can rest.

 

Because Wizards & Warriors III lacks the swarm of bombarding enemies that defined the previous two, there’s more incentive to explore the game’s three surprisingly vast areas. Like the previous two, secrets abound in invisible rooms. With the dearth of enemies, I felt freed to explore at my own pace, instead of being forced to move at all times for fear of being killed by kamikaze birds. The game’s challenge still lies in its combat (particularly with some of the bosses that protect the statues), but battles are less grueling with the different skills of each character. Not all gamers will appreciate Wizards & Warriors III more relaxed, refined structure, but as an older gamer who doesn’t always handle cheap hits with good nature and aplomb, I couldn’t appreciate it more.

 

A-

 

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  • This was an interesting title for me. I felt like it was a 'better' game, but it never quite created the same level of nostalgia for me that the first Wizards and Warriors game did – perhaps because the first one was one of my earliest NES rentals.

    • DylanCornelius

      Yeah, the nostalgic titles always hold more weight in our brains, even when they're not as good as other games.

  • Guest

    I really enjoyed playing Wizards and Warriors 3. I loved the idea of being a knight, thief and wizard. On the downside the wizard’s tests were the worst and hardest thing in the game. The third wizard test took forever to pass. If I were to grade this game I would give it a B-. I prefer playing the first two Wizards and Warriors games.

  • Jim

    I remember enjoying this game quite a bit, but the lack of password/save meant you had to slog through it all in one go, which I never could. Boo hoo.

  • Simon Demetriou

    I agree with your grade here, but I was surprised to see it so high. In most cases people say this is the worst in the series. I think its a good game, with the lack of password system being the only true disappointment. The music is really well put together, really helps create the right atmosphere.

    It just goes to show how good nes music can be with some effort from the developers. This, double dragon, megaman series are all great examples of great nes in game music.

  • Cameron Young

    This is one of my favorite games!!