This 2D side-scrolling action game was originally released as an arcade exclusive and a year later released on the NES and PC. After playing it myself I have to admit I would have truly gone insane with the amount of coins I would have spent at the arcade playing probably one of the most difficult “arcade” titles I’ve ever played.
You’ll take on the role of a knight who is on a noble journey to save his princess. The princess has been kidnapped by Satan, King of the Demon World. The opening cut scene (if we can call it that) is quite strange though as we find the knight in his underwear having a picnic with the princess in a graveyard…how “romantic”. Never the less it is up to you, Arthur the knight to utilize astonishing weaponry that’ll assist you in the battle against treacherous monsters, demons and ghosts. The best or worst part – each level has a timer of around two and a half to three and a half minutes.
Just as you’re about to start stage 1 the game teases you with a forecast of the stages there are to come and although there are only 6 stages you’ll probably be grateful to reach the end.
Starting off the game I thought “this is going to be a breeze” storming through the first part of stage 1 until I came across – Red Arremer! This demon caused me great frustration and left me stuck on stage 1 for a good hour. I honestly had more trouble with this enemy than the actual boss of stage 1. You’ll find these demons throughout the game alongside many other difficult monsters although for me the Red Arremer is by far the most frustrating. Other monsters within the game include zombies, crows, wraiths and blue imps to name a few. Your selection of weapons are also quite varied from a lance, a throwing knife and axe, to a fire ball and shield.
There aren’t many actual obstacles within the game apart from moving platforms and open gaps, though these jumps mostly result in death if you time it wrong. Arthur, our hero, is non-responsive at times when tapping that jump button, so you can expect him to fall to his death quite a bit. With regards to the damage system, you’ll be able to take two hits. The first hit will strip you of your armour and leave you running around in your underwear (nothing will stop this knight!) and the second hit will instantly turn you into bones. The good thing about the WiiU Virtual Console port is that you will be able to create a restore point within any section of the game allowing you to load that point and playing on from there in case you don’t feel like starting the level all over again. Trust me you’ll want to use this to avoid flinging your WiiU GamePad against the wall.
Overall the sound and visuals I believe has aged well for this once arcade sensation. The boss fights don’t usually last very long as you’re still on the clock when you reach them. So it’s either you that’ll be demolished or them. Although I did find one boss fight quite intriguing due to the weapon I used. It does become quite addictive as you’ll push yourself to try and make it to the end especially since there are only 6 stages – A challenge that’s well worth it in the end…well, if you’re brave enough to take on the second ending.