Legacy of the Wizard (NES) review
"Legacy of the Wizard has a lot going for it: colorful graphics, a rich soundtrack, diverse playable characters, a huge expansive world to explore, and plenty of items to collect and experiment with. While this sounds like a NES classic so far, one key ingredient is missing from the recipe: game play. To put it bluntly, the game play stinks worse than bad dragon breath and therefore spoils the entire dish. "
Legacy of the Wizard has a lot going for it: colorful graphics, a rich soundtrack, diverse playable characters, a huge expansive world to explore, and plenty of items to collect and experiment with. While this sounds like a NES classic so far, one key ingredient is missing from the recipe: game play. To put it bluntly, the game play stinks worse than bad dragon breath and therefore spoils the entire dish.
At first glance, everything seems fine. You select one of several unique family members. For example, the pet can pass through normal monsters without harm, the lanky girl can jump like Luigi, and the burly man has super strength. After departing from home sweet home, you'll pass an item shop, and eventually a castle surrounded by a lush, green forest, all under a calm blue sky. The peaceful music just hums along, adding to the tranquil atmosphere. When you finally descend down into the dungeon, things turn disastrous faster than a five car pile up at a Talledega NASCAR race.
One of the main problems with Legacy of the Wizard is the ridiculously limited amount of ammo, which in this case is a magic meter. You can literally drain your entire magic meter in mere seconds by holding down the B button. While it's true you can pilfer magic potions from the hapless monsters to refill said magic meter, there are two problems. One, these potions only appear after most of your magic has already been exhausted. Two, these never replenish as much magic as it took to down the beastie hoarding it. So, you are going to run out of ammo. A lot. The game is completely unplayable unless youíve chosen the pet, since you simply canít defend yourself with an empty magic meter.
Further adding gasoline to the fire, monsters frequently drop health draining poison. While you may think itís elementary to avoid these, thatís easier said than done. One problem is aside from the girl, most characters canít even clear the poison with a jump. Another problem are all the narrow hallways that donít even let you jump. This means youíll do a lot of standing around while waiting for these death vials to disappear.
Naturally, this means you'll be plunking down a lot of gold to stay at the inns to refill your life and magic meters. Another reason the inns are so important is because thatís your only chance to equip any collected items. What kind of moronic family is this? Are they really so slow that they need to mull over how to use the item by sleeping at the local inn? Do they need to ask the innkeeper how to equip a glove that moves blocks around? Or do they simply not care? Why were a bunch of people who can't use items competently chosen to save the kingdom? I really have no idea what the developers were thinking with this one, because it makes no logical sense whatsoever.
The purpose behind avoiding all these poisons, guzzling magic potions, and lounging about inns like a bum is to find four crowns that will somehow magically unlock the mighty Dragon Slayer. The real kicker is the dragon you must slay is in some sort of eternal slumber, but is somehow a threat to the kingdom. Finding these crowns is one of the most difficult and confusing tasks in video game history. Many people who've played this game haven't even found one stinking crown. I was in that crowd until I cheated considerably by constantly referring to maps and guides from various websites.
There are a couple of reasons why this is so taxing. One has to do with walls that dissipate upon contact, opening further passages. While this sounds great on paper, it's executed poorly. These walls look like ordinary walls, so finding these hidden passages are trial and error. Most of the time, these send you plummeting further below into dead ends, meaning you'll spend gobs of time trying to climb back up so you can get back on course. I'm also partially convinced the term "throwing you to the wolves" originated from this game. Once you step into the dungeon, outside of the fact the music changes for each area that holds a crown, there are no hints whatsoever whether you're getting hotter or colder to that stupid crown. No visual clues. No patterns in the monsters. No wise old men to tell you the easternmost peninsula is the secret. No weird messages about graveyard ducks. Nothing. With a game with areas that are ridiculously large, this makes this scavenger hunt an absolute nightmare.
So whether or not you find a crown is pretty much sheer luck. You just have to hope you are on the right track. You have to hope you find the correct hidden passages that don't lead to dead ends. The game sure as dragon fire isn't going to help you one bit. I understand a lot of people don't like the hand holding in modern games, but this is swinging the pendulum too far the other way. At least you get cryptic hints in Legend of Zelda and Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest. I'll take confusing and cryptic hints over nothing.
Legacy of the Wizard looks good at first glance with the colorful schemes , the pleasant soundtrack, and the variety of enemies. However, the game is fool's gold due to all the fundamental flaws. When a large population of hardcore NES gamers can't even complete the first leg of the journey, then you've got serious problems. To be honest, the only real fun you'll have is playing as the pet and just meandering about enjoying the sights, the variety of monsters, and the different tracks. Once you've had your fill of that, you've pretty much experienced everything good about this game. Everything else is a complete mess.
Community review by randxian (July 22, 2009)
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