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
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. . .