Wizards & Warriors

a game by Acclaim

Platforms: NESNESPC

Genre: Platformer

See also: Wizards & Warriors Games

It was developed by Rare Ltd. and published by Acclaim (North America, Europe). In 1987 it was released in North America and in 1990 - in Europe. This is a single-player game of a platform genre. A Japanese release by Jaleco came in 1988.

This games hero Kuros, a powerful knight who has entered the woods of Elrond. He has to battle his way through 8 ares of this kingdom in order to save the young and beautiful kingdom's princess. The powerful and very cruel wizard Malkil had kidnapped her. He has imprisoned her in his castle IronSpire. Legend says that he had gone absolutely mad over his years and turned his great magic to the dark side.

It is in Kuros' power to save the princess once and forever.

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Wizards & Warriors Downloads

Wizards & Warriors download
  • Manufacturer: Acclaim
  • Machine: Nintendo Entertainment System

Once again, a princess has been kidnapped and locked inside a mighty castle by an evil wizard. And again, you, as the brave knight, must battle untold horrors to rescue her. Though the story line is old and tired, the game is certainly not. Wizards & Warriors combines arcade action, sharp graphics, problem solving and a bit of luck to produce an adventure that will keep you occupied for many, many hours.

You, as Kuros, start the adventure in a forest, armed with courage and a big sword as the only tools with which to defeat your enemies. And enemies there are - enough to fill whole pages of the instruction booklet with their names - such as bothersome flies and spiders. The big, circling eagles are potent, and their fireball-spitting cousins are more dangerous still. You'll also face snakes, werewolves, skeletons and a particularly nasty rock pillar beast. If any enemy touches you, your life force is diminished; when it is gone, you lose one of Kuros' three lives. The life force can be replenished by picking up various artifacts or food, which is always a good idea.

Not all the creatures you will encounter can be defeated with your sword, but other weapons are available if you know how to find them. The throwing dagger is handy, and the Wand of Wonder's ice rays or the Staff of Power's fireballs make quick work of almost anything you meet. The Exploding Egg, which destroys everything on the screen, is a good weapon for those tight spots. The Cloak of Darkness (enemies can't find you) and shields can also aid Kuros in evading enemies.

Many things are to be found in Wizards & Warriors, and much of the game's challenge comes from figuring out how to make use of the items to further your cause: Gems can be used to bribe the level guardians; keys open doors and treasure chests; and potions and certain artifacts give you extra powers, some of which can be tremendously helpful. In fact, there are places where you cannot escape unless you are endowed with a particular ability. Some of the objects you pick up replace items you may already be carrying; so some discretion is needed to decide what items you should sling into your backpack.

The biggest challenge is figuring out how to get around the world of Elrond and to the castle IronSpire. As mentioned, the game starts in a forest, but there are whole worlds hidden away from view that you must negotiate to find all the required items. Some parts of the screens you do see can only be reached via hidden rooms, some carefully timed jumping or the right potion. Even after you figure out how to get out of the forest (the instruction booklet is purposely vague on the details), you must still traverse the ice caves, lava caves, another forest and the castle itself - a series of mazes of no small proportions. Keep in mind that the rewards are great for this journey: besides the princess, the evil wizard has locked up other kidnapped maidens, each worth a king's ransom in points!

Wizards & Warriors is a tremendously challenging game, requiring hair-trigger timing, patience and devious thought processes to unravel the built-in puzzles. The game is enhanced by the fact that if you lose your last life, you can pick up exactly where the last game ended, though minus your previous score. The excellent graphics and sound also contribute to an enjoyable gaming experience.

reggie posted a review

The Journey of Kuros Continues... You are Kuros, the knight warrior. The key to your quest is buried within the catacombs of Elrond. But the wizard is watching you, warrior, and this tale has just begun.

reggie posted a review

Overview

In the enchanted realm of Gael Serran an evil Pharaoh has overcome a curse and returned to a world that is unready to defend against him. Only the legendary Mavin Sword -- a blade forged of twin metals, one cursed by evil, the other blessed by the divine -- has the strength defeat him. When the local village elder receives a vision of the legendary blade revealing its resting place in the local graveyard, you are called to retrieve it. What starts as a simple quest soon turns into an epic adventure to uncover the legend of the Sword and bring an end to all evil in the land.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

Wizards & Warriors has been over four years in the making and in many ways it shows. The graphics engine is outdated compared to other recent games and suffers from several glitches that detract from the gameplay. Underneath the problems lurks a game that, while cheesy in spots, is one of the best RPG games I've seen in several years. D.W. Bradley -- the creative mind behind Wizardry V, VI, and VII -- has put together a package that comes as close to the flexibility of pen-and-paper RPG gaming as you can get on the PC.

You start by building a party of up to six adventurers, choosing men or women from a wide variety of races: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Pixie, Lizzord, Oomphaz, Whiskahs, Gourks, or Ratling. The biggest variance between the races you'll notice at first are the different default stats the characters start with, but additional racial abilities do make a difference as the game progresses. Gender also makes a difference -- male characters are generally stronger and more sturdy, suited for close in fighting, while women are more agile and charismatic.

One big complaint here: all the characters start unequipped and in keeping with the teenage-male mentality often associated with RPG games this means the female characters start nearly nude (this even extends to the box the game is shipped in, where the only female pictured on the cover is wearing what looks more like lingerie than useful protective armor). I personally find the continued "battle-bikini" look for women in adventure games to be rather silly and was sorry to see it continued here.

Your characters start as one of four basic classes: Warrior, Wizard, Cleric, or Rogue. Once created however, there are lots of choices that will change their roles as the game continues. By joining a guild and completing quests or rituals, your character can become one of several elite classes (e.g. a warrior can choose to become a Paladin, Ranger, or Barbarian). The quests can be very difficult -- to become a monk, a cleric must not equip anything for two game days, not an easy task when that means healing potions and new clothing as well as weapons and armor.

The tasks your party can take on start out fairly simple, but as they make contacts with NPCs on their journey the number and variety of quests they can choose from expand into the hundreds. In addition the main adventure trunk of the storyline there are dozens of side quests your party can tackle, from delivering packages to finding lost items.

The battle system used in the game is a little awkward. All six members of your party occupy the same point (you can't actually see any of them in the game world). If you focus on distance attacks this works well, but the system breaks down when some members of the party should hold back and shoot form a distance and others need to run up next to the enemy to attack. It's made even more awkward since you have to be almost on top of most enemies to attack with melee weapons. Since your characters won't move forward on their own to attack you have to approach the bad guys before swinging and I found that even when I was sure I was close enough to hit I often got a "out of range" message.

Graphics

The graphics in the game aren't all that bad, but they aren't anything special. The game does support 3D accelerators, but for the game interface the software-based engine does a better job. In 3D mode many user interface elements get extra garbage pixels around them, making reading difficult. On the other hand, the 3D world looks much better with the hardware support, so you are forced to choose which is more important -- the interface or the world graphics. These graphical problems are the hardest thing to overcome in order to enjoy playing Wizards & Warriors -- if the game had shipped a couple of years ago as originally scheduled they would have been much closer to the state of the art for the day. Today they look too outdated when compared to the eye candy offered by recent games -- even most year old games look better.

Audio

The audio effects are fairly well done, but music and voice acting were sub-standard. The music was way too repetitive (I soon turned it off) and the voices were often hard to understand. Particularly bad is the voice work for the non-human races. The sibilant lisping of the Lizzord characters made understanding them almost impossible. The voice acting is also poorly matched to the character animations, sometimes hilariously so.

System Requirements

Windows 95/98, Pentium II 233 or faster, 64 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, and a DirectX compatible video card.

Bottom Line

Wizards & Warriors suffers from delayed-game syndrome. The extra time it took to get it to market makes it look and feel outdated. It also suffers from technical problems with its 3D graphics support. Despite these issues it is a good game and I found myself enjoying it more than I expected as it progressed -- the good classic RPG core of the game manages to overcome the problems to a large extent. Die-hard fans of the genre will find plenty to enjoy in Wizards & Warriors, but for the more casual gamer it is likely to be disappointed.

reggie posted a review
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