Translating into English as “Love Warrior Nicol“, Ai Senshi Nicol is an obscure Konami shoot ’em up, released for the Famicom Disk System in 1987. It has, to date, never been released outside of Japan.
Despite the funny name, Ai Senshi Nicol is actually quite a tough SOB overhead shooter, reminiscent of Sega‘s Alien Syndrome (actually released the same year as this), and also Nintendo‘s Zelda. It might look a bit cute from the screenshots, but the gameplay is anything but.
You run from room to room, killing monsters, avoiding traps, looking for diamonds and power-ups, and trying not to fall down holes. If you do fall down a hole you drop to a lower level that you must then escape from to return to the main level (each level basically has its own basement).
What makes the game difficult are the regenerating monsters. They are quite hard to kill as it is, but also re-spawn very quickly. Some of them are pretty scary and that’s without even mentioning the boss battles…
Ai Senshi Nicol is not a bad game at all. It’s not a well-remembered classic (especially not as Konami games go), but is nicely made, quite weird, and very challenging.