Sep 14, 2018

Wizards & Warriors, Iron Sword, The SNES Drunk, and Vomitron

Some of my earliest video game memories are from Wizards & Warriors on the NES, one of the earliest games Rare developed for Nintendo. The whole trilogy is solid if not great, each in its own way. The original is big, spooky, unique and advanced for its time. The sequel, Iron Sword, was bigger, moderately refined (if less original) and features unexcited, shirtless, sword-wielding Fabio for cover art. The threequel, Kuros: Visions of Power, has the most flaws, but also tried hard to be different, open and exploration-heavy. And the Game Boy release, Wizards & Warriors X: The Fortress of Fear, is also a game, but one that I neither own nor enjoy, so let's not talk about it.


They've been on my mind since stumbling on the SNES Drunk's take during a recent binge. He offers a straightforward take on all three (four) games; I highly recommend.


The first is very special to me if only because it's one of the few games my family has owned literally as long as I can remember, along with R.C. Pro-Am, Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet, Super Mario Bros 3, Tecmo Bowl, Ikari Warriors and (of course) Dragon Warrior. It had the coolest label art and music of our small collection, even though it took me well over a decade and a Game Genie to best even the purple caves of level four.

At some point we got Iron Sword from a garage sale. I always felt it was more confusing, the music wasn't quite as cool, and I was too young to find humor in the Fabio-label at the time. In retrospect I appreciate it as the series' peak and among the NES library's best values as one of the cheapest games on the system. It won't amaze, but is above average in nearly every category outside sword-swinging.


I've played the least of Visions of Power because I liked it the least; I distinctly remember believing that it feels more like a spin-off than a proper entry. Recently, after hearing the SNES Drunk's review, I thought maybe now I'd better appreciate its brave attempts at change. I dug through boxes of old games buried deep in our storage closet and sorted through a few stacks still at my parent's house, but to no avail. I asked my oldest nerd-friends which of them had owned the game, but none had even heard of it. Did I manufacture these memories? Does this happen to anyone else? Did it occur in a different layer of the multiverse, and I share these memories with any one of an infinite number of my other selves via some strange metasubstantial mental transference? I'm not sure, but to bring closure to my made-up nostalgia and to this post, I may need to buy it soon. Regardless, the entire series will always hold a special place in my hard, despite its divisive overall quality.

Also, here's an awesome metal cover of the original tune from the always-awesome Vomitron.