Falcom’s gone crazy.
RELEASE DATE: April 1989
Legacy of the Wizard may not be the largest NES game, but it may be the most confusing, frustrating, and – depending on how much time you’re willing to invest – rewarding. Essentially, you control a family of dungeon-crawlers (yes, multiple characters) and your goal is to explore a gargantuan dungeon full of enemies, items, potions, and the like. The dungeon both looks and feels never ending. I’m not sure how any child would have beat this game back in the day without drawing a map as they went along. Even then, there’s all sorts of hidden walls to find/fall into. If you’re not prepared, it’s beyond intimidating. Please cast your eyes upon this map, courtesy of Hardcore Gaming 101.
Can you imagine working your way through this, one section at a time? On top of that, you have to keep a vigilant eye on your life and magic bars to make sure you don’t run out. Luckily, there are inns and shops within the dungeon (I guess merchants saw the need to cater to fool-hardy dungeon crawlers) so you can replenish your life/magic and shop for rare items. Not every person of the Warzen family can wield every item, hence the need to switch between characters at different times. Perhaps the closest game I could link this to would be Metroid, as they share similar non-linear exploratory play-styles, but Legacy of the Wizard trumps Metroid in both size and scope. A distinct NES gem.