Wizards & Warriors (NES)

Wizards & Warriors Box Art

Wizards & Warriors

System: NES

Release Date: December 1987

Developer: Rare

Publisher: Acclaim

Genre: Action

Coming off my Mega Man high wasn’t ever going to be easy, but up next is Wizards & Warriors! This is the second time Rare has developed a game for release in the US. I knew Wizards & Warriors wouldn’t be up to the same level as Mega Man, but this game polarized me from the very start.

Killing spiders and getting annoyed by the jumping physics.

You are Kuros and it’s up to you to traverse eight levels of jumping, swordplay, and key finding. You need to stop the Wizard Malkil and save the princess. Kuros isn’t all barbarian looking like the cover, but in full plate mail instead. You jump with the A Button and swing your sword (throw your dagger and axe) with the B Button. I’m pretty sure you can bounce off enemies if you hold the A Button while jumping on them. There are treasure chests littered around each level that you need colored keys (or boots of force) to open. Inside you find gems or other powerups.

Using the Potion of Levitation, an essential tool.

The exit to each level is obfuscated by a red version of Kuros and demands a certain number of gems to let you pass. You will be able to reach the required number of gems without too much trouble. But if you don’t have the right items, you won’t be going very far. The first time I played, I got stuck on level 3 because I didn’t have the feather of feather fall and the enemies I was killing refused to drop a blue potion, which would have allowed me to run faster and make a jump. So I quit and came back a later day to try again.

The Feather of Feather Fall helps you descend slowly.

This time I was able to find the feather and the rest of the game was easy enough. To be perfectly honest, this is an unlimited continue game, so you can beat it through attrition. I died many dozens of times in my playthrough. Mainly, because Kuros’s attacking is imprecise. You can swing in front of you, but not while in the air. Instead, if you poke someone with your sword while jumping, they will take damage.

Fighting the stupid bat boss of level 2.

The bat cave boss in level 2 was quite annoying. That was probably the winner of most deaths caused. Every other boss was pretty straight forward. I found a pretty good spot to kill the final boss, Malkil. He teleports around shooting projectiles and regenerates, but I stood where he could only appear in a few different places and was able to blast him to kingdom come.

Graphics: 2.5

The graphics are pretty decent, but that mostly goes to the backgrounds. Enemy sprites are fine, but light in the color aspect.

Sound: 2.5

The music is pretty decent, too. There are definitely some tunes that are memorable.

Gameplay: 1.0

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

Difficulty: 2.5

I think the game is near impossible without the Potion of Levitation and Feather of Feather Fall.

Fun Factor: 1.5

I came back and pushed through this game not so much because I was having fun, but because I wanted to get through it for the experience.

Overall Grade: 2.0

Wizards & Warriors earns a C. It’s an average game, but not one I’d probably ever want to play again. Well look at that, the end of 1987!

Wizards & Warriors Video Review on YouTube

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