Old RPG Review #15: The Guardian Legend

NuMetalManiak I'm gonna update my itinerary, so people will know what I'm up to


Tales of Phantasia
Majin Eiyuuden Wataru Gaiden
Phantasy Star II
Faria: A World of Mystery and Danger!
Golvellius: Valley of Doom


Chrono Trigger


Secret of Mana
Lufia II: Curse of the Sinistrals
maybe more?
I don't know what I'm thinking calling The Guardian Legend an RPG. Literally half of its gameplay isn't one. Regardless, this NES game by Compile is a cult classic and is worth a look because of its hybrid style gameplay. This review will actually be quite short, as there's not much to talk about other than gameplay.

Gameplay: The Guardian Legend combines two genres: action-adventure and rail-shooter. In both cases, your protagonist has a life meter and power chips. So you want to keep your life meter from running out by avoiding enemy attacks and you also should replenish power chips when using secondary weapons. Your character also has a primary gun which doesn't need ammo, but is more powerful with more power chips. Power chips also function as currency, so when you run into these red or blue blobs (called Landers), you pay them power chips to gain certain things like bigger life meter or secondary weapon upgrades. There are also collectible Landers. The other notable thing Landers are for is giving clues on how to progress and generating passwords. It's complex as hell, so it's probably better to play this game on an emulator and use save states rather than trying to remember a password. Some of the clues to opening corridors (a.k.a. dungeons) are pretty odd, like waiting 15 seconds or just shooting it with a weapon.

The action adventure aspect of the game is very similar to how the NES Legend of Zelda plays. Your female protagonist walks around the main Labyrinth and can find many different rooms, from dungeon rooms to miniboss rooms. I like how there's a mini map, as well as X and Y coordinates, makes it easier to know where you have been through. Enemies appear on any of the screens and you can shoot them with weapons to defeat them, but keep in mind that some may respawn. Some of the places in this portion of gameplay have barriers you can shoot, and items and passages can be revealed. You need special symbol keys to progress through this game, usually found by going through the rail-shooter portion of the game. I found this action-adventure part to be easy to go through, as opposed to the rail shooter.

What can I say about the rail shooter portion of the game, except that it is hard as nails. Your female protagonist transforms into a space jet and flies through a corridor at a fast pace. These corridors are labelled as "Dungeons" Why? I don't know. And of course enemies will be flying through your face at this one, so shooting back at them is what you'd do. I'd use a lot of power chips for secondary weapons to get through some of the harder ones. There's always a boss at the end, who usually has a predictable pattern, but can still be hard if you are unprepared. After defeating it you usually gain a symbol key, or a power up. Ten of these corridors need to be conquered to win. Gameplay grade: B-

Character: Your main character is simply known as the Guardian. She's a female in her ordinary appearance on the surface of Naju but is a spaceship for the corridor aspects. Her primary weapon is a laser but there are many other secondary weapons available, like wave beams, grenades, fireballs, beam lasers, and beam swords (no it's not the same as Star Wars). For being a pretty cool character, I'll give her a A-

Plot: Not much can be said about this. The Guardian journeys to a planet called Naju (starting off in a rail shooter corridor) in order to stop it from destroying the earth. Apparently the aliens wanted to destroy Earth (it always is), and the Guardian's objective is to head through ten specialized corridors and activate Naju's self destructive sequence, then get the hell out of there. You're not gonna find much else for the plot, and there's no major storybreaking things either. Grade: C+

Music: Again, not much to note. I do like the music for the blue Labyrinth areas, as they are quite relaxing. Grade: C+

Overall Grade: B-

Again, calling The Guardian Legend an RPG seems a bit of an oddity, as half of it isn't. It is a fun, albeit difficult game to get through. It's probably difficult to find as well. I'd recommend playing on an emulator, not just because of that but because I hate this game's password system. An okay NES game, one that's not revered much but doesn't need to be.