IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II (NES)

IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II Box Art

IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II

System: NES

Release Date: December 1989

Developer: Zippo Games, Rare

Publisher: Acclaim

Genre: Action

Ahhh, the strength of Fabio greets us on the cover of IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II and we expect a great romance to follow. Well, we’ll be disappointed. The goal is to reforge the IronSword by collecting pieces from the four domains, wind, water, fire, and earth. In order to find each piece, you have to find a golden item to give to the animal king of the domain.

Each level is filled with enemies, jumps, and hidden areas. The first problem you’re going to run into is how terrible the swordplay is. By pressing the B Button, you’d expect to swing your sword like a hero. You don’t, you do a stupid little stab, instead. This is incredibly disappointing. The most of the damage you do is by holding the A Button while jumping and hitting the enemies with the tip of your sword. This is easier with a bigger sword, which you upgrade to as the game progresses.

The problem you’re going to have is getting to the later levels. The first issue you run into are the terrible, floaty controls. These are somehow worse than the first title in the series and will cause you much grief. Then there is the waterspout glitch in the forest. If you get the waterspout, you need to rush to the spot to use it, or you’ll lose the spell, forcing you to use another key. Some of the enemies are nearly invincible and can kill you in one good hit. Then there’s the Thwomp like enemy. These guys are in an optional area, but they’ll suck your character back in to get killed because that’s what the animation wants.

You need to collect money in order to buy items at inns in each level. You’re best off holding on to your cash until the 4th level, when you need nine keys to open all the treasures. This is also where you want to buy as many extra lives as you can. Equipment upgrades come in the form of swords, shields, and helmets. Meat and beer will replenish your health, unless you find a weird tumor turkey, those will hurt you.

I spent three and a half hours on this game, when in reality it takes 20 minutes to win. Once you know how to get through each level, where the items are, how many keys you need, etc. the game is a cakewalk. The level bosses are all simple, not doing any damage to you as you murder them. The final area is what’s hard. You don’t get any continues, just however many lives you’ve saved up until this point. You face off against a gauntlet of the four elements that circle you and shoot projectiles your way. One extra life wasn’t enough, so once again I succumbed to cheating because I didn’t want to play through the whole thing again.

Graphics: 2.0

Graphics haven’t advanced in the two years since the first game.

Sound: 2.0

The music and sounds are decidedly Rare. They aren’t great, but they’re distinct.

Gameplay: 1.0

Kuros is still too floaty. His jumping is still too imprecise. Attacking is still too blunt.

Difficulty: 2.0

The game is easy once you figure out where everything is, but you need a lot of lives.

Fun Factor: 1.0

It’s not a fun game and I spent way too much time on it.

Overall Grade: 1.6

IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II earns a C-. Probably about the same as its predecessor, but that means a worse game as the 80s near a close.

IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II Video Review on YouTube