Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II, NES/Famicom

The sequel to Wizards & Warriors was developed by Zippo Games (with help from Rare) and published by Acclaim in North America in 1989 and Europe in 1991. It’s another action platform game that doesn’t deviate much from the formula of the original, but is different enough to make it interesting.

Once again you play as Kuros the knight who this time is leaping around the land of Sindarin trying to defeat his arch nemesis, Malkil, who survived your attempt to kill him in the first game. In this sequel Malkil has taken the form of four elements (wind, water, air and fire), each of which can only be destroyed by using magic. Malkil himself can only be defeated by finding pieces of the legendary Ironsword. These four sword fragments can be found with the help of various ‘animal kings’ who you must locate and return a golden artefact to. When you’ve done that they will then carry Kuros towards the elemental guardian who must be defeated using special spells. These spells must be found before undertaking the boss fight as without them you can’t hurt the elementals.

There are occasional shops to enter which sell food (to replenish Kuros’s life), armour and weapons, and sometimes they also allow you to play a gambling minigame to try to increase your money. Another important element to this game, that isn’t apparent from the outset, are the many hidden rooms that can be found. To enter them you need to jump into an invisible door, which you’ll either find by accident, or by knowing where they are located. Keys are once again important – required for opening treasure chests – although the colour requirement of the first game has been dropped and now it’s basically one key for one chest and they disappear when used.

Like the first Wizards & Warriors game: Ironsword is well made and is fun to play to some degree, but it’s maybe too difficult for its own good. Surviving the onslaught of enemies flying at you is hard enough, but when you start to encounter sprites that can knock you off a platform the game can be come very frustrating. Controlling Kuros is fun, though, so if you enjoy a tough platform game and like a challenge then Ironsword might appeal to you.

See also: Wizards & Warriors III

More: Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II on Wikipedia

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