Arcade title screen
|Mode(s)||2 players, separate turns|
|Arcade system||CPU: 2 × Zilog Z80 (@ 4.00 MHz)
Sound: Yamaha YM3812 FM (@ 4.0 MHz), Oki MSM5205 (@ 384 kHz)
|Display||Raster resolution: 256×224 (Horizontal)
Palette Colors: 1024
Rygar is a video game created by Tecmo in 1986 and originally released for arcades in Japan as Warrior of Argus (アルゴスの戦士 Arugosu no Senshi?). It is a sidescrolling platform game where the player assumes the role as the "Legendary Warrior", battling through a hostile landscape. The main feature of gameplay is using a weapon called the "Diskarmor", a shield with a long chain attached to it.
The arcade game begins with the following introduction:
4.5 billion years have passed since Earth's creation. Many dominators have ruled in all their glory, but time was their greatest enemy and it defeated their reign. And now a new dominator's reign begins...
Information gleaned from console manuals reveals that the evil being Ligar has taken over the land of Argool, and Rygar, a dead warrior who has risen from his grave, must use his Diskarmor, along with a variety of other weapons, to stop him. In console versions clues and limited dialogue are given in the form of large, sage-like men encountered in stone green temples throughout the game.
In the Japanese original, references to "Ligar" and "Rygar" are one and the same because the Roman syllables "Li" and "Ry" come from the same Japanese character. In this version, the hero is only referred to as "The Legendary Warrior", while both "Rygar" and "Ligar" refer to the main villain.
The game was ported to the Sharp X68000, Commodore 64, Sega Master System (Japan only, and renamed Argus no Juujiken (アルゴスの十字剣?)), ZX Spectrum 48K, Amstrad 6128 and the Atari Lynx. It was also included in a compilation of games called Tecmo Classic Arcade for the Xbox. The arcade version has also been re-released on the Wii Virtual Console.
Atari Lynx Version
The Atari Lynx version closely followed the arcade version. However, the layout of some rounds was different, and there were only 23 rounds.
Related Famicom/NES game
Rygar, released in Japan as Warrior of Argus: Extreme Great Charge (アルゴスの戦士 はちゃめちゃ大進撃 Arugosu no Senshi: Hachamecha Daishingeki?) is a fantasy-themed action-adventure platform game with action RPG elements developed by Tecmo for the Nintendo Famicom. It was released on April 14, 1987, in Japan and later that year in the United States for the NES. A European release came in 1990.
The player sends the title character (who did not have a proper name in the Japanese version) through a number of fantastic settings with the ultimate goal of defeating the evil King Ligar in order to restore peace to the realm of Argool (Argus in the Japanese version). To accomplish this goal, Rygar/the Warrior must visit five Indora gods who present him with essential items needed for completion of the game. Each of the Indora gods is located in a different realm, and is almost always guarded by a boss. The player can choose the order in which some stages are played, but since certain items are required to reach new areas, choices are somewhat limited. After playing through the five major realms of the game, he must journey to King Ligar's flying castle for the final confrontation. If you die on the last life, a ghost pulls Rygar back to his grave off-screen.
"Ligar" (the final boss) can also be romanized as Rygar because in Japanese there is no distinction between "l" and "r," but the name is written with the syllable ra (ラ) in katakana. The central player character is only known as senshi (the Warrior) in the Japanese version.
The following enemies, as stated in the manual, all have their own unique names, abilities, and designs and are said to be "animalized men wriggling eerily".
- Molgolin, a winged creature that nests in high places and chases the player when it spots them
- Kinatarnos, a creature often living on the waterside that throws a poisonous spine by bending itself backward
- Rolpher, a ground-dwelling creature that attacks by rotating itself
- Pragokelis, a primitive monster thought to have been brought back from the dead by Ligar
- Epolcon, a flying dragon that drops the eggs of a snow grouse on the player
- Deathpigor, a bipedal two-headed fire-breathing creature
- Kuzeelar, a slow-moving acid-shooting snail
- Super-robot, Bargan, a robot that can shoot an electromagnetic wave
- Hyoking, a ground-dwelling hard-skinned animal
- Demorobruzer, a reptilian creature sitting atop a heavily-equipped tank capable advancing along a wall
- Olbis, a water-dwelling flying reptile-like monster
- Kinohle, a monster said to be the manifestation of sand that walks like a crab and can shoot spores
Differences between arcade and NES version
The main character, his weapon, and much of the enemies remain the same, but the gameplay of the NES version is quite different. While the arcade version is more of a standard side-scrolling action title, the NES Rygar is an open-ended action-adventure game like Metroid (see Metroidvania), which was also released at the time. At the beginning of the game, Rygar has access to some of the worlds, but as the game progresses, new areas open up as the result of finding items such as the grappling hook, crossbow, and wind pulley, which let him cross previously impossible obstacles.
The NES version of Rygar was also more of an action role-playing game. It was particularly notable for its permanent power-up mechanic, which at the time blurred the line between the power-ups used in action-adventures and the experience points used in RPGs.
The NES version of Rygar did not allow for game saves. The complexity and difficulty of the game, along with the puzzles to solve and special objects needed to progress, require a great deal of time and unlike other complex adventure games of the time, the cartridge did not contain a battery (The Legend of Zelda), nor did it contain a password feature (Metroid, Castlevania). As a result, many players were forced to pause the game and leave their NES on overnight (to resume the next day), sometimes going on for days or even weeks, before finally obtaining the necessary items and power to finish the game. If the unit was accidentally turned off, unplugged, or if it malfunctioned, all game data would be lost and the player would be forced to start over from the beginning.
Bug in the PAL Version
The PAL version of the NES game reportedly contained a computer error which inadvertently increased (substantially) the difficulty in the final portions of the game, particularly in beating the final boss.
Related 2002 game
In November 2002 a new Rygar was released for the PlayStation 2. It features a transition to 3-D graphics and portions of the environment are destructible. It was released to generally positive reviews. On May 11, 2007, a Wii port was announced at Tecmo's "Nite Out 07" event, eventually released on January 28, 2009 in North America.
- "Discover New LostWinds, Numerous Domo Games and a True Arcade Classic". Nintendo of America. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
- "Rygar". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 6 Oct 2013.
- Adams, Roe R. (November 1990), "Westward Ho! (Toward Japan, That Is): An Overview of the Evolution of CRPGs on Dedicated Game Machines", Computer Gaming World (76): 83–84,
While America has been concentrating on yet another Wizardry, Ultima, or Might & Magic, each bigger and more complex than the one before it, the Japanese have slowly carved out a completely new niche in the realm of CRPG. The first CRPG entries were Rygar and Deadly Towers on the NES. These differed considerably from the "action adventure" games that had drawn quite a following on the machines beforehand. Action adventures were basically arcade games done in a fantasy setting such as Castlevania, Trojan, and Wizards & Warriors. The new CRPGs had some of the trappings of regular CRPGs. The character could get stronger over time and gain extras which were not merely a result of a short-term "Power-Up." There were specific items that could be acquired which boosted fighting or defense on a permanent basis. Primitive stores were introduced with the concept that a player could buy something to aid him on his journey.
- Tecmo, ed. (1987). Rygar Instructions. Tecmo. p. 8.
- Rygar NES Manual (PDF). Tecmo. 1987. Retrieved 28 June 2014.