45: Wizards & Warriors

Genre: Platformer

Developer: Rare
Publisher: Acclaim
Year: 1987

Basic Idea: Jump and fall and jump and fall and never say die.

Review: I had no idea this game was made by Rare, as it doesn’t have the company’s usual feel.  It’s graphically colorful, but the backgrounds are stale and uninteresting.  It’s also not conceptually all that amazing or different from a few other games.  It is certainly weird.  You play a knight with a limp sword, trying to find your way through each level by jumping all over the place looking for keys and exits.  You can use your sword, but it doesn’t seem all that necessary since enemies die just by running into it.  You can die, and you will die often.  But you always revive right where you died just like in the modern LEGO games so it’s more important to focus on not falling than it is avoiding death.

The review hasn’t seemed like high praise, but the game is still oddly enjoyable to play.  The music is catchy and upbeat.  The play control is fluid.  And each level has its own appeal despite the mediocre graphics.  If you weren’t virtually invincible, I wouldn’t like the game that much.  Proof of this is that I’ve never been able to get into the game’s two sequels.  But I still enjoy playing this one even today.

5 thoughts on “45: Wizards & Warriors”

  1. Yeah, I played the hell out of this game, but I certainly agree with everything here. Stale backgrounds, a LOT of falling. I don’t know what it is about this one that put it all together, but I always really liked it.

    I know I’ve mentioned this, but I once got to level 5 or 6, and when I beat the boss, the next level didn’t load. I just ran around the boss screen waiting for ten minutes before I finally gave in and admitted the game had glitched. Five levels of falling, down the drain.

    I’d forgotten that you revive at the spot of your last death. No wonder I put up with it so much.

    1. After you die enough times you have to continue, but you continue on the same level and you don’t lose anything you’ve collected up to that point. The punishment? Your score goes back to zero. Oh no!!

  2. By the way, your stupid list made me finally go buy a USB controller and emulate the hell out of SNES and NES. My PS3 is down, too, so that helps, but you really got me in the mood for 8-bit gaming, and 16 naturally followed, as that was my favorite console generation before the current one.

  3. Wizards and Warriors is one of the games I consistent come back to when I need my NES fix. I remember when my dad would play this game with me and we were stuck on the the boss that throws bones at Kuros while continually getting stronger as you hit it. Beating that boss is elementary now, but back then it was daunting as hell. By the way, there is one part where it is REQUIRED that you have a blue potion to jump across a chasm to get the final key to exit the area. In the 80’s I was playing this game on a black and white TV. ‘Nuff said.

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