Rygar – NES Version (1987)

RygarThe Story (As Lifted from the Manual)

Once there was a holy place called Argool which was founded by five legendary Indora Gods. One day, suddenly the blackest tragedy happened. The prosperous holy place, Argool was attacked by the troops of the cruel king called Ligar. The sky of the holy place was completely covered with the flying castle of Ligar and his army of dangerous beasts. These animalized soldiers came down from the sky and committed the most atrocious cruelties. In a single day, they established the kingdom of EVIL. In addition, Ligar took away the “Door to Peace” symbolizing the peace that had been created by Indora.

The hope for peace disappeared with the loss of the “Door to Peace” and the people of Argool ceased to smile and could only pray for salvation. They prayed an ancient passage to counter the fulfilled prophecy of Ligar’s evil reign of terror. The legend says, “When the peaceful land is covered with EVIL SPIRITS, a brave soldier will be brought to life from the dead, for the purpose of saving persecuted people. The people of Argool’s painful prayers were so loud that it reverberated throughout the mountains and traveled a long distance in the land of Algosu. And at last – Rygar, the hero came back from the dead in order to restore peace to the land of Argool, battling the forces of evil everywhere. Join forces with Rygar!


Rygar was originally a side-scrolling action game that was released in the arcades in 1986 by Tecmo. When Tecmo brought Rygar to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1987, they made a more open world game, like Metroid. There are still side-scrolling portions but what is added is a level that takes place as a hub of sorts to other side-scrolling levels. This “hub” is a top-down adventure level. The goal of the game is to find various weapons and earn upgrades to your stats, so you can continue on to new levels and finally make it to the end boss and ultimately returning peace back to Argool.


Rygar was one of my favorite NES games as a kid. I loved its side-scrolling and adventure mixture. I do not know if I ever beat it as a kid, but I do remember it was very hard.

Coming back and visiting it almost thirty years later was fun, but the game is not as hard as I remember it. The main thing that I think makes one perceive this game as hard is the lack of saves. If you die, you can continue on at the beginning of your current level, with all your gear, but if your turn your console off, it is game over. The next time you turn on the game, you will have to start all over. To combat the lack of saves, you just leave your console running. I, in fact, left my console running for days as I worked my way through the game. This strategy was working well until my console froze. I was about two-thirds through the game and a few hours invested prior to the freeze.

Once I restarted the game, I had noticed that the whole world was laid out in the manual. Not only did it show you where each level was, it showed you where each item was. This, plus the fact that I had already played through a good portion of the game, made the second run through go a lot quicker. In about three hours, I had the game beat.

So what did I think?

I felt that the game was ok, but not the best. The game does not really require any skill to beat, it just requires time to buff up your stats. You can get past each boss fairly easily with enough health and a global damage power up. I used this brute force method to get through the entire game.

The platforming portion of the side-scrolling game was rather basic. There was nothing that required skill to get past. Any jumping between platforms, was very basic.

The thing that you have to monitor is your health, especially when you are playing through with the brute force method. The monsters can come from any direction, so you have to be somewhat fast on your feet. But given the limitations of the NES, you will never face that many monsters at once. I think I faced three to four monsters at once on occasion.

Speaking of limitations, there is a lot of flickering of the monsters. There can also be some major slowdown when you have a lot of monsters on the screen.

Overall, it is an enjoyable game, but it is not the “masterpiece” that I remember. I would recommend playing it from a nostalgia perspective, but there are a lot of better games out there.

2.5 out of 5 stars


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