Wizards & Warriors
Wizards & Warriors is a trope-heavy fantasy platformer developed by Rare and published by Acclaim Entertainment for the NES in December of 1987. You play as Kuros, the bravest knight of the kingdom of Elrond, who embarks on a deadly journey to rescue the princess and five other maidens from the evil wizard Malkil.
I had known of Wizards & Warriors since the end of the 1980s, but I never played it on an NES. When emulation became popular in the late 1990s, I tried it a couple times, but, unable to figure out the controls, I always died quickly, and lost interest in it. When I began reading the unauthorized novelization of the game, I felt like I should play the game at least a little to see how accurate the book is, so, I watched the very beginning of a longplay and learned a bit more about how the mechanics work. After discovering that you are granted unlimited continues, I spent a couple days just grinding out the game and beat it on 2020-10-24. I did not find it very enjoyable, but, for when it came out, it was probably pretty impressive.
I own a cart signed by David Wise and have beat it.
Best Version: NES
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game has pretty decent graphics for 1987. The multi-tile backgrounds are good, the large items look great, and Kuros's death animation is funny.
- The manual is quite detailed and well-illustrated.
- I don't care for the jump attack mechanic. Simply maneuvering your player so the sword touches an enemy, without actually having to attack, doesn't feel or look right. While this doesn't really hurt the game play, it hurts the immersion.
- Because you enter doors simply by touching them, you will frequently accidentally enter them. Especially when you try to avoid the monsters that swarm you when you first enter the room. Requiring a button or D-pad press would have reduced this problem. The doors themselves look kind of silly for as small as they are.
- I don't like how, if you hold down the jump button, you will jump again when you land. Several times throughout the game this caused me to jump in the wrong direction and fall.
- It would have been nice if, when you open a chest that will replace an item you have with one you don't want, you could refuse the item. Instead, you basically have to know what is in every chest in the game, which you can't tell until you open it at which point it's too late, and avoid the ones you don't want.
- I don't like the roots in the trees where you are knocked back and forth with little control. If you want to obtain chests or diamonds, you must memorize the stage and have great reaction time. This is not fun, it's tedious. Thankfully, there really isn't anything that important in the areas with the roots.
- By giving the player unlimited continues and having them always respawn right where they died, any player with enough determination will eventually beat the game. The only part where skill is necessary is in the boss battles, but you get infinite retries to beat them too. The only thing you gain by making it through the entire daunting game without needing to continue is a better score.
- The mostly-invincible blue hive skulls, which shoot out endless streams of insects, are stupid.
- It would have been nice to see something unique about the game's story. Knight rescues the princess from an evil wizard is awfully tired.
- The near-naked damsels you rescue are a bit much for children, and you don't even rescue them to safety, you just cut the rope that holds them, and leave them alone in a monster-filled dungeon!
- The level design, with sparse platforms that result in very long falls which require you to replay large portions of the level when you miss (and you will miss a lot!), is really obnoxious. This is especially annoying in the exterior of the castle where the platforms frequently disappear and a drop is several screens down.
- In every stage, monsters constantly swarm you in very erratic patterns. They're both hard to hit and hard to avoid, and there is almost never a time when you can relax. This does not a fun game make.
The US and European cover has a hulking Kuros preparing to hack apart Malkil's minions as the wizard's mug is seen in the background. The composition is great, although the hands holding the axe are a bit wrong. Also, Kuros doesn't look anything like this in the game. Still, the art is very effective.
The games doesn't have a credits screen, but it does have the initials of the developers in the high score table. Their specific roles are inferred from their other credits at the time.
|Programmer, Designer (Probably)||Mark Betteridge|
|Programmer, Designer (Probably)||Chris Stamper|
|Programmer, Designer (Probably)||Tim Stamper|
|Programmer (Probably)||Paul Proctor|
|Production (Probably)||Joel Hochberg|
|Artist (Probably)||Rachel Edwards|
|Quality Assurance (Probably)||Stephen Stamper|
|Music and Sound Effects||David Wise (uncredited)|
|English||Wizards & Warriors|
|Japanese||伝説の騎士エルロンド||Densetsu no Kishi Eru Rondo||Legendary Knight El Rondo|