Willow is an action role-playing video game released in 1989 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Famicom. It is based on the 1988 Ron Howard movie of the same name.
The video game characters, Willow and his swordsman companion Madmartigan, resemble to the images of the movie starring actors Warwick Davis and Val Kilmer. In a single-player game, a player alternates between them. In two-player game, both of the characters are used simultaneously. They struggle through an enchanted kingdom to crush the evil Queen Bavmorda. In the tradition of The Legend of Zelda, the hero carries a sword and shield, and many other helping items along with a wide variety of magic spells. During the game, the heroes may collect coins and then buy health and weapons in the shops. As the Willow defeats enemies, he gets experience points and levels, just as in a RPG (role-playing game).
The game was also released for PCs using MS-DOS. But it as entirely different game, because was developed and published by Mindscape.
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- Manufacturer: Capcom
- Machine: NES
If you enter the following code, you'll find yourself with almost all the items available in the game.
- Manufacturer: CAPCOM
Machine: Nintendo Entertainment
- Graphics 9
- Playability 6
- Overall 7
Ever since Atari's historic success at converting Steven Spielberg's 1982 blockbuster film E.T. into a best-selling 2600 game, video/computer games based on hit movies - usually high-concept and/or action-filled - are as commonplace in the video-game market as movie novelizations (or the preferred moniker, "tie-ins") are in the publishing industry. And, like the latter, the success of a licensed game usually depends on the box-office take of the film that it's based upon. Barely anyone remembers the George Lucas-produced Howard the Duck - fondly, that is. But even fewer are aware of Activision's computer-game version of that failed movie.
Interestingly enough, this leads us to the NES game inspired by another Lucas production, Willow. Probably one of the longest delayed NES titles based on a movie (next to Data East's RoboCop), Capcom's Willow is finally here, nearly two summers after the premiere of the film.
Critics charged that Willow, the movie, had a plot with elements ripped right out of Lucas' own Star Wars trilogy. Incidentally, Willow, the NES game, has a play structure with elements taken right from a familiar classic, The Legend of Zelda. Yes, to quickly clear up any doubts. Willow is primarily an adventure game sprinkled with touches of action, categorizing it in the Zelda vein.
You assume the role of the title character, Willow Ufgood, a humble farmer of the Nelwyn tribe. It's your destiny to bring down the evil Queen Bavmorda, who rules the land with her evil magic. Starting from your home with the tribe, you must seek out weapons and important advice from others, especially those like the High Wizard Aldwyn. Weapons include swords and shields of varying strength and power. Magical devices that act as offensive weapons, means of defense or agents for healing your character are available, as are other special items. All of these are safely stored away and easily retrieved when necessary from a separate status screen.
Once armed and readied with the preliminary knowledge you'll need, Willow must trek across the vast land in search of more clues and weapons. Along the way, you'll cross paths with allies like the great swordsman Madmartigan, Bavmorda's daughter, Sorsha, the comical brownies Franjean and Rool and Bavmorda's archenemy, Fin Raziel. Enemies include the skull-masked General Kael, trolls, ghosts and a host of other monsters and nasties. As any NES gamer might expect, the world of Willow encompasses an immense number of interconnected screens. Trial and error, mapping ability and patience are necessary not only to complete this game but to play it with any degree of satisfaction.
Graphics are above average, considering the given capabilities of the NES - even more so when compared to the current list of other, similar adventure games. The musical soundtrack, though, drones on, quickly tiring the senses. Another gripe, and one that we here at VG&CE brought up in our Yea & Nay column: the password-continue function not only requires you to enter an excess of 18 characters, but the letters themselves are in upper and lower case. Just what is this? Impossible Mission?
Like the plot to the original movie, there's nothing new or remotely unique about Capcom's Willow. The company itself, however, deserves high marks for producing a game with a great deal more substance and depth than most film inspired video games, which are usually slipshod efforts with game scenarios that have little, if anything, to do with their source material. For all NES adventure gamers who just can't seem to get enough of what's already out there, Willow comes highly recommended - and deserves recognition for what it is on its own, apart from its cinematic counterpart.
- Manufacturer: Capcom
In this game based upon the fantasy epic, you must do battle with the minions of evil across detailed backdrops and varied settings.
Relive the movie in this intricate action/adventure game! An enormous environment stands before you, with puzzles to solve, items to locate, and power-ups to uncover. Confront the black witch Queen with magic and might and bring peace to the land once again!