#5. Wizards & Warriors III 10 Craziest NES Games @ jjmike.com

Many game franchises start off as simple, straightforward adventures into worlds of addicting ass-kickery. But then, the developers create a sequel that’s totally different from the first game and unrelated to the excitement that first got you hooked. What would it have been like if Stallone made Rocky II have to do with Rocky taking up the strategic art of croquet? Then Rocky III has him being a fighter pilot, and Rocky IV shows him falling on hard times and being forced into male prostitution (foreshadowed by his romp with Apollo Creed on the beach in Rocky III).Those are all departures from what made the Rocky franchise strong, and they are all as spellbindingly retarded as Acclaim’s Wizards & Warriors III: Visions of Kuros.

Come to think of it, the Wizards & Warriors series has never really progressed in terms of quality. The pic above (from W&WII) is supposed to be Kuros battling some water elemental, but it looks like some Colorform board lesson from a crack-headed European childrens' programming cartoon. "Oooo! Little Nigel! Are you crossing my river in your trick-or-treat knigh costume? You've wet your knickers, silly boy!" The pic below is from W&WIII, and it showcases the absolutely bat-shit insane lifestyle of 8-bit characters who live in condos and apartments.

That’s another wacky thing about NES-game sequels: they always have to have a secondary title. It’s as if the developers know the game is horrible enough to need an excuse to exist before people even begin playing it. Castlevania II’s secondary title was Simon’s Quest, as if Mr. Belmong wasn’t in a quest in the first game. Is that true? Was Simon’s original fight through Dracula’s castle just an outing to buy groceries or something?

I’m not sure, but I think the secondary title should have been Wizards and Warriors III: Journey through the Hyperactive Autistic’s Village, because that’s exactly where the game starts you off in and where 90% of the game takes place. The first Wizards and Warriors game started you out in a haunted medieval forest. W&WII started you off battling your way up to the heavens themselves. But here, we start off in a strange Dr. Seuss town where log cabins and apartments are supported by fence posts, which are stuck into the roofs of other buildings, which are supported by fence posts stuck into the ground 20 feet below. But this is not a problem for our Mario-like hero Kuros, a fully-armored knight who jumps like a kangaroo on a trampoline.
Damn, just look at this God-forsaken place. It’s the town that x-treme sports dudes dream about, and home insurance must be ridiculously high. Imagine what it must be like to live here. You’d have to catapult yourself out the door every morning just to get to the mead and barley market, and you’d have to buy spring-shoes to jump up a few levels to borrow mead from your neighbors. A single prankster could destroy the entire village just by sawing down one post, and old people would fall to their deaths every other day in their sad attempts to climb up their roofs by jumping from windowsill to windowsill. It’s as if Ozzy Osborne, William Wallace, and the designers of Chuck E. Cheese’s playzone all got together to make the perfect embodiment of communal bad-assity.

The insides of townspeople’s houses are equally fucked-up. There are no stairs, but a zig-zag series of platforms that lead up to other floors made entirely of vases. Meat and coins are hidden in the walls, and the inhabitants walk around their dwellings nonchalantly, not giving a crap as to whether or not you enter their houses and take their special items.

And the fucked up thing about W&WIII is that the first couple hours of gameplay (I’m guestimating here), all you do is wander around town looking for money so you can buy keys to unlock other peoples’ houses. When you get in the houses, you find guilds that you aren’t allowed to join, or invincible bouncers twice your size who beat the hell out of you and throw you out. This is probably the first Nintendo game where you spend 90% of your playing time preparing for an adventure instead of adventuring…unless you take Oprah’s advice that every moment of life is an adventure, and the journey is the destination or some gay crap like that.

What Acclaim didn’t realize is that they designed a game whose every activity can be performed in the real world with greater enjoyment: you can simply nail cold cuts to your ceiling and hide coins on the walls, then spend your morning jumping around collecting them as you prepare for work. Then you can leap onto your windowsill and onto your dresser to get your keys and wallet, then launch out the window to go to your car. Just be sure you have enough GP to get gas from the gas merchant! You’ll need it in your quest to go to work to gather more GP with which you can purchase keys at Home Depot and try to unlock peoples’ homes in your neighborhood.

Hey Acclaim, I thought people played videogames to escape reality, not to live the reality of a retarded person who can jump 20 feet in the air with a flick of his heels.


Kuros's Ratings:

Fun: For sooth! Yea, I have not had this much spectacle and enjoyment since I rescued Gwendolyn and treated her to my legendary ironsword! Zounds, it is good to hop and bop around town, taking a sabbath from the grueling task of saving towns and maidens.


Gameplay: While on a quest, I once spent some idle time refilling my life-bar by eating mushrooms. By Merlin's Beard, my visions during that experience do not equal my visions experienced in the fucked-up town of Wizards and Warriors III!



Graphics: You will find many vibrant illustrations on the ceilings of chapels and on the pages of holy tomes. But thou shalt find far better pictograms in Wizards and Warriors III than in any book of holy writ! . . . Ha ha, PSYCHE! I am just playing the jester with you. The graphics art truly among the worst splatterings of ox-dung thou could see throughout the entire span of England.


Sound: In my good king's castle, there is a mannerly, clean-shaven minstrel -- a young lad in stockings that are woven with precious fabrics and are dyed in all the colors of the rainbow! He ministers to me on his lyre when I am feeling downtrodden. Until the rosy-fingered dawn rises, he plays for me. I hear tell that he has learned many of his melodies from this game. However, what did he mean when he knelt before me, his eyes like the eyes of a young fawn, and told me that he is also adept at playing flute and pipe?

Challenge: Zounds, at such a late hour I realize that this game is not meant to represent a mead-induced rampage through townspeoples' houses, but rather an actual quest like mine first two adventures! GODS, LORD OBERON, FORGIVE ME! I hast stolen the coins and meat hidden above my neighbor's windows, tresspassed against my neighbor, and as a joke, crapped in the vases which compose his front porch!


JJMike's Ratings:

Fun: At least once in his life, a gamer will snicker to himself and take advantege of an RPG's freedom of movement. He'll have a grand old time making his character jump on townspeople's heads, steal their things, smash fruitstands, etc. I shit you not: Acclaim managed to make this concept boring.


Gameplay: For a moment I forgot I was playing a game and thought that I was walking my burning carcass through the flaming halls of hell. Satan tried to get me to buy keys and find my destiny in a guild, but in the immortal words of Ted from Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, I said "You can choose your OWN destiny, you fag!"


Graphics: If you take a shit in a Dr. Seuss book, leave it out in the sun, and then blast it clean with a garden hose, it’ll look something like the graphics in W&WIII.



Sound: It's like the soundtrack to a renaisance festival meets the soundtrack to Dora the Explorer. Listening to it makes me think of fucked-up British children's show actors dressed up as ladybugs, getting in children's faces and telling them about the magic of reading.


Challenge: W&WIII is a seriously challenging game, but it’s challenging in the same way that trying to run up a down-escalator is challenging.




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