The origins of this game and how I came to ream it are the stuff of legends. During a routine browsing of the fare at (the name itself evocative of crappy translations and lackluster gameplay) I found a game entitled "Legwizar." I had no idea what the heck it was, but I figured a game about Leg-wizars and the legs they 'wiz' would make for a strange, and mostly likely painful experience. Like Karateka. Instead, I found out it was Legacy of the Wizard, the generic fantasy game I best remembered from the numerous times I flipped past it to get to Legend of the Mystical Ninja's codes in the Nintendo Power's Top Secret Passwords Players Guide.

     As said guidebook described it, "The DragonSlayer, a powerful and magical sword, is the only weapon which can destroy a dragon. Roas, the son, is the only character in the game who can effectively wield the mighty sword and use it against Keela, the Dragon."

     Doesn't this sound like every other RPG ever made? Until I read that summary, I had no clue there was even a plot. I just assumed I was plucking a hero from some guy's house, sending him down a ladder into a huge brick maze, and watching him get beaten to death by octopi. This is a classic example of those early NES games where you could pick it up and start playing with no idea of what was going on, then read the instruction manual six years later and realize that the enemies tied up behind the barricade were hostages and not some kind of elite enemy self-bondage brigade. Which, at this point, I'd like to apologize to the remains and friends of the hostages in Guerilla War. While Legacy of the Wizard is suprisingly free of role-playing annoyances like endless text and random encounters, it does happily indulge in the guilty pleasure of confusing statistics. By pressing Start (or Select, I can't honestly remember) you can see the stats for Lyll, the kid sister of the hero-family. Strength doesn't seem to mean much, since every character in the game has to pump about twenty magic bullets to kill a lousy slug for about four gold pieces. She has the ability to jump high enough that she actually inflicts falling damage on herself, which before now was a special talent used only in Twisted Metal 2. I have no idea what Distance is supposed to mean, but rest assured someone in California has a spreadsheet that will prove me wrong. The Inventory shows you all the nice things you can never have. The second status screen shows your character's blood sugar and insulin reserves.

     Pochi is the real star of the game. He's a tiny dog who transforms into a red Bubble Bobble creature. On valium. His unhappy little frown really draws you into the experience, as you will undoubtedly be mirroring him as he hops about an inch off the ground and shoots little seltzer bubbles up to two pixels away. Not only is he slow and weak, he also has a tendency to get stuck in the dungeon when he drops into a room he can't hop high enough to escape from. At this point, you're ahead to leave the room to make a sandwich or something as you wait for monsters to spontaenously appear and rip him to shreds over the course of a week or so. Seriously. The enemies aren't the challenge at all in this game, and even if they manage to hit you, they can't do enough damage to kill you unless you go out of your way to get killed.

     The stock white-bearded shopkeep/innkeep. He exists to soak up your hard earned Gold and then proceed to give you sixty tons of useless items like a magical whisky bottle with wings, and a haggis. Although I've been told 40 GP is a bargain for the chance to eat the heart, lungs and kidneys of a sheep seasoned and boiled in its own stomach, I still have to pass. For, as you can see in the picture, I can get a Card Captor Sakura wand for the same amount. As for the old man himself, I'm convinced it's the same store every time, and he just switches the 'SHOP" and "INN" signs while I'm outside getting whomped by a mummy or something. Remember my earlier comment about how hard it was to get killed? Part of this is due to the fact there's an Inn every twenty feet. It seems that subterranean labyrinths are Prime Sales Areas for the occult merchants and bed n' breakfasts. As they say in the business: Location, location, location.

Why, h ere's the horrifying Keela the Dragon now. Only, he's sort of trapped in a box deep within the dungeon, allowing you to poke him with a stick and taunt him from the very beginning of the game.

Here's the whole hero family: Mom, Dad, Son, Daughter, Pochi, Grampa Password-Demander and Grandma Password-Regurgitator. Also, Cousin Severed Hand.

     And now for the part where I run out of specific things to complain about and conclude with a bizarre screencap.


I'd like to break form just this once and introduce this next game in E-Z listening format.

Little ditty, 'bout [HERO] and Gwaelyn...
Two NES kids livin' in a... fantasy land.
[HERO] has to fight monsters all day,
The villain gone and stole little Gwaelyn away.

Oh yeah, the game drags on-
48 hours of a plot gone wrong...

Anyway, the generic RPG was an essential genre in early gaming history. And though I'll probably get stoned for it, even the original Final Fantasy was pretty much a tedious digitization of Dungeons& Dragons with some twists on the threadbare fantasy concept. Dragon Warrior I was plain dull, except for the battle sequences of broken Old Engrish as your lone fighter took on brightly colored cartoony enemies. Hell, I played the game for days before even realizing I was nowhere NEAR being able to rescue the princess, a process which until then was a simple matter of beating five to eight nigh-identical areas.Faria starts out predictably enough, with a dark and stormy night. The hero is then predictably woken up by some twisted yet somehow motherly figure. Leave the inn and you're reminded to go to the inn to save your game. Again; pretty typical in an RPG, but if your kid sibling waits outside your bedroom door to remind you to go to bed when you need sleep, you'd be forgiven for slam-dunking the little snack jerk. By talking to the billiard ball-head soldiers posted randomly around town and manning stores, you learn the princess has been captured by a suspicious figure. And taken North. Why always North? Does it just look more dramatic when your character's sprite is marching facing away from you? So, you set out for the castle to seek the king's permission to rescuse his daughter. Odd that he would think up such a precaution when he has instructed all the palace guards to march in one place and warmly welcome all intruders. So, walking unopposed into the throne room (gotta love those cozy, one-room studio castles) the king gives you his permission and 100 gold in traveling money. Screw that. You start out with more money than that.

You're given a picture of the princess as a child, which looks a heck of a lot like a caterpillar. It was then that I noticed everyone in this game seemed to be bugs. The bubble-headed soldiers could maybe theoretically be wasps. The recurring old guy has bulging eyeballs too. The only person who looks normal is the purple-haired Mafia healer girl. Sure, she looks sweet, but she'll give you THE TREATMENT for only a handful of coins. Sounds kinda ominous when you put it like that, no?

Your oddly feminine hero ambles about the world map until the world goes swirly, meaning you've been jumped by enemies. I sat back, ready to decipher yet another series of menus in a turn-based yawnarama, only to be killed soundly by the real-time baddies. So, battles play like Zelda with the sword and (other) button reversed. Enemies are nicely varied from clawless land lobsters to hulking skeleton robot things.

Oh yeah, and I couldn't save on this copy. Bummer? Maybe, maybe not. I bet the rest of the game must be good because I can't get to it. Feh. I just can't have nice things.