Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Archon (NES Game)

Archon is a pure masterpiece. I first played this game on my trusty Atari 800XL when I was 6 years old or so. Looking at the picture above, you might think this is just a game of chess, but it's really oh so much more. There are two sides in Archon, dark and light. You can choose either one, and let the computer or a friend play the other side (It's definitely more fun to play with a friend).

The game starts as your pieces walk or fly to the board. In moving to the board, they give you a sense of how they move and how fast they can get from place to place. This is important later on. Ground pieces can move three squares at a time and flying pieces can move 5. All the pieces are mythological creatures such as golems, trolls, banshees, phoenix, genies, etc. Each side has a leader with magical powers, a wizard for the light side and a sorceress for the dark side. These pieces can move and fight just like any of the others, but they can also perform spells such as heal, revive, teleport, and summon elemental (my personal favorite). You move your pieces toward each other as you would in chess, but when two pieces fall on the same square, something awesome happens:
Both pieces are transported to an arena where they fight it out to the death. This is awesome because not only is the attacking player not guaranteed success, he might get his butt whooped by a significantly weaker piece (each piece has more or less life based on their rank. Goblins and knights are lowest, and the farther back and toward the middle the piece is placed, the more life it'll have). I have beaten a unicorn with a lowly goblin and sent my opponent into a fit of rage. The battle element of this game adds a whole other level of strategy and also makes it a lot more exciting than a game of chess.

I don't think mere descriptions are enough to convey how cool this game is. It's an excellent idea that is executed perfectly. You can't ask for anything more. I recommend that every serious NES collector get his or her mitts on this classic. It deserves all of...

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