Willow (video game)

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Willow is the name of several video games based on the 1988 film of the same name.

Willow was released for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and MS-DOS in 1988.[1]

Two different games were released by Capcom for arcades and the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1989. The arcade version is a platform game while the NES version is an action-RPG.


The evil witch queen Bavmorda is after the holy baby of the lands, Elora Danan, intent on destroying her. A young peaceful wizard called Willow Ufgood was selected to protect Elora. Later on, a brave warrior named Madmartigan joins Willow to fight the enemy rival General Kael.

Home computers[edit]

Willow 1988 DOS box art.jpg
Box art of 1988 DOS version
Developer(s) Brian A. Rice Inc
Publisher(s) Mindscape
Designer(s) Peter Oakley
Mark Weston Sprenger
Composer(s) Harumi Fujita Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s) DOS, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64
Release 1988
Genre(s) Platform, Run and gun
Mode(s) Single-player

The video game Willow for MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari ST and Commodore 64 was developed by MidNite Entertainment Group Inc and Brian A. Rice Inc and published by Mindscape.

The main interface is a scrolling scroll narrating the scenario of the Willow film. Several of the words are hyperlinks triggering the mini-games that can be played at any order. (In the DOS version, the Crossroads mini-game is not highlighted like the others, but is still hyperlinked to its mini-game.) The setting of each level, and the way to solve it is randomized on each playthrough and therefore different each time the player starts the game. The DOS version is an exception to this. Beyond the end of the scroll is a second scroll with the Mindscape logo; clicking on this, the user is presented with the option to reset the Willow universe, or cancel the reset.

The levels of the game are:

  1. The Dungeons: Ethna attempting to escape from Bavmorda's dungeons, through a randomly generated maze.
  2. Woods: Willow passing through the woods to the Daikini Crossroads avoiding Bavmorda's soldiers and Death Dogs. He is armed with the 3 magical acorns from the movie.
  3. Daikini Crossroads: Willow must choose which of the two cages to open (random) in order to free Madmartigan.
  4. Ice Caves: Sleigh through a randomly generated maze.
  5. Battle: Madmartigan fights General Kael.

Cutscenes with narration and images from the film are shown between the levels. Crossroads, Caves and Battle are followed by a Spellcasting mini-game (not available from the scroll screen) where the player must discover a random spell to heal Fin Raziel. The 3 spell sequences discovered are used at the very end in order to defeat Bavmorda.

Main interface, which narrates film, with highlighted words acting as hyperlinks to each mini-game.

Arcade game[edit]

Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Director(s) Yoshiki Okamoto
Designer(s) Hiroyuki Kawano
Seigo Ito
Composer(s) Takashi Tateishi
Platform(s) Arcade
Release June 1989
Genre(s) Platform, Run and gun
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Cabinet Standard
Arcade system CPS-1
Display Raster, 384 x 224 pixels (Horizontal), 4096 colors

The arcade version of the game belongs to the platform genre. It has six stages, some where Willow plays his part, others where Madmartigan plays his and one of the stages where either character is selectable. Move the joystick left or right to move in that direction. Press the A button to use a weapon. Hold down the A button and let go to fire stronger shots indicated on the magic power gauge. Press the B button to jump. While jumping press the B button and move the joystick up to haul up ledges. Press the B button and moving the joystick down the player can descend ledges or slide on other surfaces. Chests can be smashed open to reveal useful items. Collect gold for purchasing items at shops from the Owl Mage. Purchasable items include weapons, healing potions, defensive jewellery, a life pack, a 1-up and some information. Depending on whether the player is playing as Willow or Madmartigan determines if either the magic weapon or the blade weapon can be purchased. There are also sub-bosses in some stages. At the end of each stage, stage boss must be defeated to proceed.

Willow battles the first level boss in the arcade game

NES game[edit]

Willow vg box.jpg
NES cover art
Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Producer(s) Tokuro Fujiwara
Designer(s) Akira Kitamura
Composer(s) Harumi Fujita
Platform(s) Nintendo Entertainment System
Release 1989
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

The version of Willow released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Famicom is an adventure game in the vein of The Legend of Zelda that's loosely based on the 1988 film of the same name. The game has the player taking on the role of Willow. Unlike the film and arcade game, Willow generally travels alone, only briefly meeting other characters. In the tradition of The Legend of Zelda, Willow wields a sword and shield and many supplementary items along with a wide variety of magic spells. As the game progresses and Willow defeats enemies, he gains experience points and levels as in a role-playing video game.


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