Rygar: The Legendary Adventure review
Can I please save my progress?


Rygar is a game I really, really wanted to love as much as the likes of Contra, Mega Man 2 and Castlevania 3. It had it all – excellent gameplay, excellent controls, a relentless atmosphere (for the time) and nice looking graphics. Unfortunately, something, in the end, just decided to piss it all away. I was quite pissed in the end, though at times, I always wanted to save my progress because I didn’t know what to do at this instance (though unlike some games I know, I figured it out on my own in the end), but just couldn’t, because it doesn’t have that feature. That kills the game, but with today’s technology, is it really a recommended download? You be the judge.

Story: The fine (if somewhat barren) land of Argool had seen better days. The horrid and demonic Ligar, hidden within a floating castle, had sent his army of beasts and monsters throughout the land to steal hope from the general populace. Their only hope — the reanimated body of a valiant warrior.

Gameplay: If you've played through Zelda 2, Faxanadu, and Castlevania 2, you'll be able to familiarize yourself with the sidescrolling gameplay. If you've played through Legend Of Zelda or Startropics, the overhead gameplay will feel familiar. If they're foreign names to you, I'll explain.

One view you'll play the game on is the usual sidescrolling one, where you go left and right while you hit enemies with the Discarmor, which is a yo-yo with spikes at the edges. You get to do a bit of platforming, like climbing up ropes and jumping across pits. When you enter caves, you'll switch to an overhead view, where you attack in four directions, attacking whatever comes your way. It’s easy to learn how it works, and eventually, you’ll really get into it.

It integrates some RPG elements in the mix through leveling up. As you kill enemies, you’ll gain tone points, last points and mind points, and you’ll really need to keep these high, since they’ll be beneficial in defeating the bosses in the game. Mind points allow you to use magic and special attacks, which can help you in a pinch, while tone points, if enough are collected, can make your Discarmor stronger, meaning you can take enemies out quicker while, and last points, when you have enough, can increase your health. Just don’t get yourself killed, or you’ll be hit with 0 mind points and a few bits of health.

This game isn’t exactly high on difficulty, though it has its moments. Exploration requires a fair amount of mapping, though at least it’s not nearly as cryptic as Castlevania 2 or Metroid. Regardless, you’ll be spending a lot of time trying to find where you’re meant to go, since the world is pretty big. Combat, on the other hand, isn’t as challenging, especially if you grind like hell during the first half of the game, which may come naturally as you try to find where you’re going. On the flipside, it starts out tricky, with you not taking too many hits, while the enemies take a fair bit of damage, so mass grinding will be imminent, and after that, the game’s only source of challenge is figuring out just where to go.

The main objective is to get items from the five Indora Gods, and since this is an adventure game like Zelda 2, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time looking for them. Here's something that mystifies me about this game. You have this large world, this big, epic adventure... yet the developers don't include a save feature. I would love to know what Tecmo were thinking here. Now, yeah, Super Mario Brothers 3 and Blaster Master were both without saves... here's the thing. Those two games are pretty cut and dry, especially Super Mario Brothers 3. Rygar, on the other hand, is fairly complex, and contains elements that will have you taking longer than a few hours to complete the game. Basically, you'll need to leave your NES on overnight to complete this game, and if the NES malfunctions or turns off, that's it! You start again! The actual game lasts a few hours, but that becomes a problem in itself - it feels like it could've been longer. Simon's Quest, as much as I can't stand that game, had an appropriate length of 6 hours, managing to keep you going and going. Here, it just feels like Tecmo had a 6 hour game, but since they couldn't figure out how to write up code for saving, they just trimmed it down, which is alright, but it kind of leaves a feeling of emptiness, like more could've been done... THIS IS WHY EMULATORS HAVE SAVE STATES!

Controls: The control in this game is awesome, as it is not that difficult to control the main character, at all. As you may know, there are not that many buttons featured on the NES controller in general, so do not expect there to be complex control in this game. All you really have to do is jump, swing, and move around. To switch between weapons and other stuff, you go to the pause screen and select your weapon of choice. Think of that part as just like the switching of the special weapons in the regular Mega Man series for the NES, and you have a good idea of how the switching of special weapons goes. Overall, the control is solid with no complaints.

Graphics: I liked the overall look of the game a lot, as the game just had this look to it that screamed excellence. It really appeared to be a lot more than just another 8-bit game. The character designs in the game are solid, and the enemy designs are just as good. I liked the backgrounds in the game a lot, as well. As a matter of fact, the element of the graphics I liked most here was the fact that the backgrounds were pretty good, some of the best I have seen in a NES game, as they were brightly colored and very well varied.

Audio: The music in the game is okay at best. There isn't a whole lot of emotion to feel here, there wasn't much depth to the songs... in fact, none of the tracks really stood out in any way. They all felt like blank sheets of paper! Admittedly, there are a few good songs, but they aren't all that memorable either. Really, the soundtrack could be so much better. Bland and uninspired is the best way to put it.

Replay Value: It has all the makings of a game that you'd love to play through over and over again, but it just pisses it away because it doesn't save progress, and honestly, do you feel like spending three solid hours playing a game more than once or twice? The ending isn't that good, so really, it's a one time game as far as I'm concerned.

Overall: Rygar missed the mark by not including a save feature, and by doing this, they left a sort of empty feeling after all that is said and done. This is pretty annoying, because everything else, except the soundtrack, hits the right places. The gameplay is fun, action packed, and engaging. The controls are solid and responsive. The graphics are excellent. It's all there! If they doubled the length and allowed an option to save, this would be perfection, but as it stands, it's just a recommended download onto an emulator.

Story: 5/5
Gameplay: 9/15
Controls: 9/10
Graphics: 5/5
Audio: 3/5
Replay Value: 3/10
Tilt: +3
Overall: 37/50

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