Wizards and Warriors


Genre: Platform

Publisher: Acclaim

Total time played: 2.5 Hours

Short review: The most agile knight in shining armor to ever live jumps and fights his way through evil sorcery to rescue a bunch of interestingly named princesses.

Interesting links related to Wizards and Warriors

Wizards and Warriors is a game I rented over and over as a child.  When a friend would spend the night this was always a game I knew we could rent and have a fun time.  I don’t have any specific memories of beating this game when I was younger but I am almost positive that I did.

My friend Michael and I used to tag team Wizards and Warriors.  I always had trouble with the bosses and he always had trouble with the platform aspects during the stages.  I would play each level and he would fight the boss.  Playing again 25 years later I realize I still have problems with the bosses, specifically the giant bat at the end of the second stage.

The game is surprisingly easy due to the fact you have unlimited continues and when you die you continue in the exact spot you left off meaning there isn’t a lot of back tracking.  However the game would be near impossible with limited continues; I died a lot.  For the first time in this journey to beat games I left the NES on when I needed a break instead of turning it off and starting over every time I decided to play a game.  I started on Friday and finally beat the game on Sunday in about 4 different sittings.

The game is laid out as an open world where each stage allows you to explore any way you choose.  Where Super Mario Bros. is a left to right game this is a left to right and top to bottom game. Some of the stages are taller than they are wide which can be annoying when you almost reach the top and miss a jump and fall back to the bottom.  Luckily the controls are very tight meaning you can’t blame your poor performance on anything but yourself.  Throughout each level you will search for three colored keys that open the corresponding colored treasure chests and doors.  Once all the keys and chests are found you should have enough gems to bribe the knight guarding the door to enter the part of the level with the boss.

The box art of the game shows a warrior with little to no protection but at no point during the game is the warrior ever shown in anything less than full body armor. The knights armor appears to be very heavy although you wouldn’t know it as he moves very quickly and has a vertical leap that appears to be at least 10 feet; it must not be as heavy as it looks.  At the end of each stage you rescue a princess (who appears to be mostly naked) who has been hanged by her hands from the ceiling.  This is almost an exact copy of trying to find the princess in Super Mario Bros. and toad telling you she is not there. All of the princesses have names that are not names you normally hear (except Penelope, thanks to whichever Kardashian sister named her kid that).  The final princess, your girlfriend, is the only one who doesn’t have a name.

The princesses are names as follows:

Lucinda, Esmarelda, Galadriel, Grizelda, Penelope, Candida and your nameless princess.

The music in the game is great and some of my favorite from the 8-bit era.  While I played the game this afternoon my wife sat on the couch and laughed at how many different sound effects were in the game.  It really is comical, at any given point I am picking up a gem, hitting an enemy, getting hit by an enemy, picking up a potion, running low on health, going into a door, etc.  Every one of those actions has a different and distinct sound which produces a barrage of sounds similar to a pinball or slot machine.

This is one of the classic games on the system that I don’t hear many people talking about.  Unfortunately it was tainted by 2 poor sequels that just tried too hard and missed the mark (although Fabio does grace the cover of the 2nd installment).


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