Wizards & Warriors is an action platform game developed by Rare and published by Acclaim (in North America and Europe) and Jaleco (in Japan) in 1987.
In it you control a young knight called Kuros who must find his way to Castle IronSpire, defeat the evil wizard Malkil and rescue the Princess of Elrond. Kuros starts in the forest and must jump and explore to find the entrance to a series of tunnels that will take him in the right direction. Certain strategic points are blocked by guards who can only be passed by collecting a certain number of gems. Gems can be found scattered around each level, and multiple gems can also be collected from treasure chests that are opened only when you have a key of a corresponding colour. Some chests also contain weapons or magical items that upgrade your offensive and defensive capabilities.
At the end of each section you’ll encounter a boss battle; the ‘evil’ meter at the bottom of the screen shows their health, which you have to whittle down to beat them and continue.
Wizards & Warriors is notoriously difficult, with enemies constantly flying at you, and keeping Kuros alive is a serious challenge. His health is represented by a life bar that depletes when he’s damaged, and you get three lives per game, although you can continue when you die which allows you to keep the items you have but the score will re-set.
What is great about Wizards & Warriors is that it is obviously in the same lineage as Atic Atac, Sabre Wulf and Underwurlde as it contains some of the same monsters, sound effects and gameplay features from those games. That in itself is a very cool thing.
A pair of sequels followed: Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II was released in 1989, and Wizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions of Power in 1992.
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