#325 – Joshua & The Battle Of Jericho

Bust out the horns!
All in all, it’s just several bricks from the wall.
Joshua has a bit more beard than the heathens.

PUBLISHER: Wisdom Tree

DEVELOPER: Wisdom Tree

GENRE: Arcade/puzzle


Wisdom Tree’s re-interpretation of biblical stories is either pseudo-artistic gold or downright sacrilegious, depending on one’s point-of-view. I personally think if a company’s going to publish illegal Christian games, they might as well give them gameplay that suits their storyline. In Exodus, which was ostensibly about Moses’ journey to the Promised Land, you played as Moses and you collected manna and question marks to progress to the next level. How does a collect-a-thon lead anyone to the Promised Land? I didn’t care much for Exodus, but Joshua, which is in every way a sequel, fares a bit better. I attribute this to the lack of an 8-bit version of “Father Abraham” playing every few seconds, but also because I knew exactly what to expect from the moment I saw the first level. Joshua is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same game as Exodus, except instead of collecting manna and question marks, you collect screaming faces and random material goods, like pots, that represent money. I should say, you choose to collect these goods, as they have no bearing on whether you advance or not. Once you’ve found the five hidden screaming faces, an Atari-esque portal opens up and you make your way to the next round. Each round contains Canaanites, Amorites, and Hittites to avoid (if they touch you, you die) or to blast apart with your gift of song (your weapon is musical notes blasted from your mouth). The biblical questions are still here as well, except you’ll need to mine the book of Joshua for answers instead of the book of Exodus. It’s classic Wisdom Tree: mining the Bible for inspiration and sales from wary Christian mothers who wouldn’t want their child to play some violent (but legal) game, like Contra.

If I were to make a liberal David Lynchian interpretation of how Joshua actually measures up to the book of Joshua, it would go a little something like this. The screaming faces you have to collect in order to advance represents both Israelite frustration at being stuck in the wilderness, and God’s anger towards the Israelites for their lack of obedience. The goods represents the spoils of war that you can choose to take or not. Joshua sings songs of deliverance as he sneaks around these heathen cities. If discovered by the enemy, depending on the strength of the pagan, said song could either bring the pagan to his knees or enrage him further. This is probably all bullcrap, but it gives my writing degree something to do.


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5 replies on “#325 – Joshua & The Battle Of Jericho”

Sorry to post in the comments but I could not find a link to directly email you; I need help finding a game and I am hoping you may know the name. What I can tell you about the game is it is an old NES game that features a wizard going through a castle working his way through a castle. On the box art it shows a wizard in front of the castle, if memory serves me correctly. The one thing that stands out about the game was the game play, and graphics, they were both a bit ahead of the others made for NES. Also one part of the game really stood out, in order to beat the game you had to walk through a seemingly empty room, but if you walked on the wrong tile a worm would burst through the floor and eat you.
Sound familiar at all?? Hope so!
If you remember it can you please tell me the name!!

@Kobayashi: Good day sir! No worries about posting in the comments. I believe the game you are thinking of is The Immortal. That is an incredibly hard game. Have you beaten it? My hat is off to you if that’s the case. Good luck in finding the game!

You are amazing!! I could not remember the name of that game for the life of me! No, sadly I have not beaten that game. two run throughs in the past left me stuck in the same spot. The room you have to navigate through without tripping the worms! I have never passed that room. I am going to try and buy it again and give it a third try!
Thank you again!

I love the blog concept and I’m thrilled you’re over halfway! I’ve thought about performing this sort of concept for NES games, but there are way too many games out there I’m not familiar with. I think I’ll collect carts for a bit longer before I think about reviewing them.

Just a quick correction on your Joshua review: the collecting of material goods (clay pots, etc.) actually does serve a purpose. Just like Joshua must collect five question marks before the exit door appears, so must he collect a level-particular amount of loot as well. This is a fun challenge as some goods are placed under rocks which with gravity have the potential of crushing Joshua’s goods! Most of the time there is superfluous loot in a level–sometimes there is not. Thus extending the puzzle motif.

I thought your rating of ‘C’ interesting. Although Joshua isn’t superior with graphics and sound, I’m wondering if you are aware of other straight puzzler games on the NES that are far and away better than Joshua?

Hi moore.jr! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.

I will have to replay the game again. It’s been some time and I recall being able to progress while not worrying about loot. But, as I said, it’s been awhile.

Oh, there are many better puzzle games than Joshua on the NES. But Joshua isn’t bad. It’s average, hence my ‘C’ score.

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