Willow (NES) review
"When you get to a town, count on walking through about 20 screens to find the five or so homes that you can actually enter to find information, items or a place to rest. Midway through the game, when you have to scale a pair of towers, enjoy seeing the same few screens as you ascend each one's multiple, identical floors."
Willow is a pleasant surprise compared to many movie-licensed video games in that it's for the most part competently crafted and actually includes a couple of innovative touches that I find myself wishing more Zelda-like action-RPGs would implement. Unfortunately, since it’s based on a movie license that it doesn’t entirely capitalize upon, the game also comes off as lazy and uninspired at points. That leads to what is best described as a mediocre experience with a few redeeming qualities.
Loosely based on the 80s fantasy movie about a really small person and a few mismatched allies who embark on a quest to destroy an evil witch and her big, skull-mask-wearing enforcer before those villains can kill an infant princess who is destined to end the witch's reign of terror (or something like that; it's been an eternity since I watched the film), Willow puts most of its effort into trying to recapture the familiar Zelda magic while adding some light role-playing elements. You gain experience from killing monsters, and gaining levels increases your health and magic capacity. In a neat twist, your level also determines how well you can swing whatever sword you're currently wielding. As you progress through the game, you keep getting newer, more powerful weapons. If you're too low a level to properly wield one of your exciting new acquisitions, you'll only be able to swing it slowly. Gain a level or two, though, and that weapon will be flying at about three times the former pace, making it a lot easier to clear out foes without taking damage.
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (April 27, 2013)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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