Box Shot
Platform: NES
Publisher: Tecmo
Designer: Tecmo
Genre: Action/Adventure
Players: 1
Published Date 1987
Reviewed by: Rob Strangman

Tecmo has always been known for their great action/adventure games. They've produced one of the finest series of action games ever - the fantastic Ninja Gaiden series. One of their earlier NES games, Rygar, wasn't exactly up to par with their later stuff, but still remains a decent game to this day.

Much like Capcom's Strider and Bionic Commando NES games, Rygar is loosely based on the arcade game of the same name. Like these two games, Rygar went from being a level by level game to more of a drawn out quest game. It certainly doesn't detract from a good game, but if you're looking for a direct arcade port, you'd be better off with the Atari Lynx version of Rygar, which was more or less identical to the arcade.

You play as Rygar, the warrior hero. Rygar's quest is to free the five Gods of Indora and destroy the evil tyrant Ligar, who has stolen the Door of Peace and taken over the land of Argool. Also hiding out in various rooms around the land are the Hermits, who give you items, replenish your life of sometimes just offer advice. An interesting note: the Hermits and the Gods of Indora look almost exactly alike. The only difference is that the Gods have eyes in the centers of their foreheads.

Rygar is played using two perspectives - sidescrolling and overhead. There's not too much of a difference between the two, aside from the fact that Rygar can move in any direction on the overhead scenes. The only way for Rygar to move to different ledges and platforms in the sidescrolling boards is by climbing ropes or using the Grappling Hook in certain areas.

Rygar's main weapon is his Diskarmer, which is like a shield on a chain that he throws out like a yo-yo. You keep track of all of your implements and experience in a subscreen. There are numerous items to retrieve: the Grappling Hook, the Wind Pulley, the Crossbow, the Warrior's Coat of Arms, and Indora's Suit of Armor. Also needed is the Flute of Pegasus, which allows you to reach Ligar's Castle.

The graphics are pretty good for such an old game; however, they have a sort of bland look to them. Blame that on Tecmo's choice of colors - they look rather washed out. The controls are excellent, for the most part: Rygar does what he's supposed to, although sometimes he has trouble climbing down ropes. The music is also pretty good: kind of catchy, although it repeats in some areas.

What hurts Rygar is the complete lack of any sort of game save or password feature. Rygar is not a short game or an easy game by any means, and to complete it in one go can be very tough. These options would have been very helpful. Another minus point to the game is lack of a map. You do a lot of backtracking in Rygar, and in can be easy to get lost (although it's not as bad as The Goonies II). The only way I was able to go through Rygar was by using the strategy guide in the old Official Nintendo Player's Guide.

Rygar is not a bad game; however, a password or something would have helped it a lot. If you can find it for a couple of bucks, it's not a bad addition to anyone's library of NES games. Just don't expect to blow through it. . .