Review by Psycho Penguin

"I wish I could review a Wizards and Warriors game on a new console.. too bad they haven't MADE ONE."

Back in my youth, at the tender age of 13, my friend unloaded on me a huge amount of NES games for me to have that he no longer wanted. I was very happy, as I was an avid NES gamer back then, and wanted a nice collection of NES games. Due to problems with my NES console, I no longer have many of these games, but I still find ways to play them. *cough cough* One of my most enjoyed games of the bunch was a classic game called Wizards and Warriors. It still holds a special place in my heart to this day.

Of all the series that had come out over the years, there are only a few today that I feel should have a new game for the next generation/current generation consoles. Metroid. Kirby. Dr Mario. And Wizards and Warriors. Granted, there were better series on the Nintendo Entertainment System. But I enjoyed the Wizards and Warriors series a lot. I guess it was because of the type of fun gameplay that the game provided. Regardless of its legacy, Wizards and Warriors series was one of my favorite series on one of my favorite consoles. See why i want a new Wizard and Warriors game so bad now? And of he three, I played Wizards and Warriors (the original) first. So it has a lot of historical value for me. But I do not like it because of the historical value only, i like it because its such a great game to play!

Despite that, the game does have its share of flaws, and one of those flaws is the hack job storyline that is just like all the other storylines out there. You are the knight, and you need to save the princess from the evil wizard. Yeah, I am as shocked as you are. Plus, the storyline never really develops at all throughout the game. You are automatically thrusted into the world of Kuros without much of an explanation, and then you never really know what's going on, as the game just sends you from stage to stage without you knowing why. So, the storyline really isn't that good at all.

Despite the flaw with the storyline, the graphics were quite good. The graphics were pretty good for a Nintendo Entertainment System game. The backgrounds were very well done, and very varied. i especially loved the minute details in each stage. For instance, little details like birds in trees really helps to spice up an already good looking game. The backgrounds range from forests to a dark, castle like setting. They are very well done. Character and enemy design wise, Wizards and Warriors is great! The main character, a knightsmen, is very well designed. Also, the enemy ad boss designs are great, especially the final boss! The variety of enemy designs is a very nice addition, as well. Overall, the graphics are very well done.

Musically, Wizards and Warriors is one of the better sounding games on the NES. Every theme rocks, and some of the music is simply classic. Come on, I will never forget the ''you died'' and ''game over'' music. Classic stuff there, my friend. The rest of the music is great as well, and the tunes are very in sync with the game. Remarkably, I never really got annoyed with the music, which is quite a feat, considering the fact I tend to get annoyed with music in some NES games quickly. So, the fact that I enjoyed the music in this game without ever getting annoyed is a testament to the quality of it. Sound effect wise, Wizards and Warriors could be better, but considering what console the game is on, its not too bad. Overall the music and sound effects are great.

It is very easy to control your character in the game sometimes, but other times it becomes more of an exercise in frustration than anything else. He jumps at a very awkward pace, and it is definitely safe to say he is a very weird jumper. You almost need a decent amount of luck just to be able to pull off some of the more timely jumps in the game. Then, it is hard to sometimes control the effectiveness of your sword. You can duck and do a sword attack, or you can jump in the air and pull off a dagger attack. Sometimes, it doesn't work quite as well as you expected. It may sound like the control in the game is horrible, and it isn't, it just has some mechanical flaws, but is overall still very solid.

Wizards and Warriors is a very interesting game. Think of it as a horiontal adventure game. Yup, the object of the game is to go around collecting items while avoiding enemies. You can gain different items which help you out. Different color keys help you open the corresponding key's chest or door. After collecting enough items, you can fight the boss of the level. To get to the boss, you need to find a certain amount of gems. Each level has a bunch of gems scattered about, so you need to find all of them, then bring them to the Guardian, who lets you go to the next stage. Enemies also drop gems, so the game requires a lot of battling, although for certain reasons than most other games of this kind.

The fact that this game is different than mostly any other game out there does not make it fun, but the execution of all the innovative ideas does. While some games just stop at being innovative, Wizards and Warriors combines innovative ideas and a high level of fun factor. This is not your average platform game, where you have to go left and right, killing enemies, to get to the end of the stage. This was probably the first example of a true Super Metroid like game (besides Metroid, of course), in the fact you need to explore every inch of the stage to get everything you need to complete it. Some items are hidden right in the middle of the stage, but you need to go around entire obstacles just to get to the path that takes you to the item. It's really fun.

You will definitely want to play this game until you complete it, but then the novelty may wear off. Then, you may just realize that there is very little substance in this game when it comes to multiple play-throughs. There is not a huge amount of secrets, the stages are simply basic when you know how to get the various items, and the lack of any sort of challenge hurts, as well. However, it is still an unique game that you may want to play through again just on the basis that it is so fun.

You may think that just because the game has unlimited continues and lets you restart from the same place that you got a game over at, that it is so easy, but it's really not. For instance, let's say you need to get to a certain item, but you have no clue how to get to it. It doesn't matter that you can start over at the same exact spot you got a game over at, but it does matter that it's going to take you a while to figure out how to get the item. So, the game is not as easy as you may expect it to be.

Overall, this is an innovative game that clicks on pretty much every level, and is well worth your money. Some problems with it include the unlimited continues, lack of a decent storyline, and some confusing gameplay elements, but overall the game is still very much a decent game. It's innovative, unique, fun, everything a game should be and so much more. Despite the flaws, there is no reason not to own the game.

Good Points
-The graphics are pretty impressive.
-I really loved a lot of the classic music in the game.
-The controls are solid for the most part.
-Playing the game is fun as hell.

Not So Good Points
-The controls have some basic flaws to them.
-Some of the 'puzzles' can get confusing.
-There is a lack of challenge somewhat, once you figure out how to get everything.
-The storyline is really, really, really outdated.

I Run Down The Game... Psycho Penguin Style!
Storyline - 1.1/10
Graphics - 7.8/10
Music - 8.5/10
Sound Effects - 8.2/10
Controls - 7.9/10
Gameplay - 8.3/10
Replay Value - Average
Challenge - Average
Game Length - 3 Hours
Is This Game Worth A Purchase? - Yeah.
Overall - 8.3/10

The Bottom Line
I was fairly impressed with this game, and since it has so many great elements, it's a no brainer. Buy it, especially since's it's got a good pricetag!


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/13/00, Updated 01/07/02


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