Wizards & Warriors X – Fortress of Fear (1990)

wwc wwx

One of the earliest GameBoy games, this was a sequel to the two NES games of the same series (though to this day people wonder why there’s an X in the title, not a III). The game lets you enter a castle and search for an evil wizard, though most people won’t even reach him. W&WX isn’t exactly hard, most of it difficulties come from not knowing where to go or when enemies or dangers will appear.

The seasoned veteran of the game knows exactly where to jump to reach a platform that isn’t on the screen yet, where to stand to not get hit by bosses or when to duck to avoid flying arrows. For everybody else who is not willing to learn the in-and-outs of the game this is an exercise in frustration, but I remember well how willing I was to brave the castle again and again until I actually beat the Wizard (original hardware, long ago).

It’s less a game that requires precise controls (though some of the jumps do), than knowledge. It’s a memorization game (later levels have loops if you don’t go through the right doors, so knowing which to go trough is tantamount to winning) and while I would agree in general not a good approach for platformers, I just like the graphics (unusually large sprites for a GameBoy games) and the variety of deadly traps. Also the soundtrack for the 2nd level is just godly.

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