Holy Diver (video game)
It is the 666th year for the world of magic, and the Crimson Kingdom is facing destruction at the hands of The Black Slayer, Demon King of the Underground Dark Empire. Realizing that his days are numbered, the 16th Crimson Emperor Ronnie IV decides to entrusts his two infant sons, Randy and Zakk, to his faithful servant Ozzy. With Slayer's forces closing in, Ozzy, Randy, and Zakk escapes to another dimension, with the hope of eventually bringing light back into the world.
Over the following 17 years, Randy, Zakk, and Ozzy devote and train themselves to the cause of Magic Justice, becoming wizard kings. Meanwhile Black Slayer has increased his empire over the countryside, making his interdimensional forces even stronger. In order to defeat Black Slayer and his army, Randy must retrieve the Five Crimson Emblem Seals. Making matters worse, Randy now must wage his war against Black Slayer alone, for Zakk suddenly goes missing, and Ozzy passes away.
It is similar to the game Getsu Fūma Den. In fact, one of the stages has sprites and graphics similar to those found in Konami's other game, Contra (the final boss is also very similar to Contra's). The HUD is like the one used in Nintendo's Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.
The player has an infinite supply of fireballs to attack enemies.
In order to find and defeat Black Slayer, the player must travel through six stages, which primarily consists of forests, castles, and caverns - all while seeking the Five Crimson Family Seals. The Five Crimson Family Seals are powerful magic spells, which are Twin Fire, Blizzard, Rock Breaker, Overdrive and Thunder. In addition to acquiring the seals, the player must also seek out the Bracelet, Jump Boots, Wizard's Staff, and The Cape of Protection, all of which assist physical strength and endurance.
The game was developed by Japanese game developer Irem. The game is based on the 1983 album Holy Diver by Dio, however it is completely unofficial and has no connection with the band. The game has four main characters who are named after musicians Ronnie James Dio, Ozzy Ozborne, Zakk Wylde, and Randy Rhoads. Other characters and locations in the game are references to rock music such as the Crimson Kingdom and Black Slayer.
The game was self-published by Irem and released on April 28, 1989 for the Famicom (Japanese version of the Nintendo Entertainment System). The game was scheduled for a North American release in the same year, and even received a brief preview in Electronic Gaming Monthly. However, the game was never released outside Japan. Since release, the game has gone onto becoming a rare game that is sought after by collectors. In 2018, the title is noted to cost around $75 USD for just the game, and up to $200 USD for the complete game with box. Also, unauthorized reproductions of the game have been produced and sold as well.
In 2018, 29 years after the game was first released, distributor Retro-bit announced that they would give Holy Diver a worldwide physical re-release for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The is the first time the game is released outside of Japan, and the game would be translated into English. The new edition is limited to 2,900 copies, and costs 35 USD for the regular version, and 60 USD for the Collector's Edition . The collector's edition of the game included a display box to house the game, pins, stickers, and artwork. The game was also released on Retro-bit's microconsole the Super Retro-Cade.
Multiple reviewers both contemporary and retrospective noted the game as very difficult. Many reviewers and previews also noted the similarity to Konami's earlier Castlevania NES installments, with one publication calling the game a "Castlevania Clone.
In 2018, Destructoid gave the game a positive review.
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