Parent Talk: Magician Lord is rated T for teen by the ESRB because of violence and blood. While cartoony in nature, children may be offended by some of the images. Be sure to listen to the ESRB.
Plays Like: Contra and the original Castlevania.
Review Basis: Played arcade mode on the PS3. Couldn’t find anyone online to participate in multiplayer.
Details: PS3/$8.99 — PSP/$6.99.
What’s This About?: Elta, the last of the Magician Lords, is on a quest to stop the evil wizard Gal Agiese from resurrecting the ancient lord of destruction, Az Atorse. Only by collecting eight ancient tomes can Elta have the power to seal away the darkness forever. Sounds cliché right? Well it is, but that’s fine’ we’re here for the non-stop action.
What It’s Remembered For:
- Difficult…much. Magician Lord is extremely difficult. The game was intended for arcades, meaning the idea was to motivate players to insert as many quarters as possible. Problem is, it may be a bit too much for most modern-day gamers.
- Simplistic, yet fun. Similar to Metriod, Elta can fire projectiles in four directions: left, right, up, and down when he jumps. Nothing extravagant, but players needed to master the setup if they stood any chance of completing even one of the game’s eight chapters.
- Transformations. The twist that made Magician Lord unique is allowing players to transform into one of six different forms, each of which gave players added powers such as fire breath or attacking through walls, making progression a little easier. I emphasize “a little”.
- Bright and beautiful. SNK has always been known for excellent art design, and that applies to this early Neo Geo release.
Anything Else You Need To Know?
(Note that all Neo Geo Station games support PSN play, PSP play, region-selecting options for blood and added bounciness, visual smoothers, save states, bug editors, and command lists.)
- There’s online multiplayer that I wanted to try, but gave up after waiting in the lobby for ten minutes. I tried for three days straight, encountering no one else. If anyone has better luck, please let me know how it plays in the comments.
Who Should Download This?
If you’re curious to play a Neo Geo AES launch title, Magician Lord is entertaining in short bursts. It doesn’t hold up well because of the dated animation fluidity. Elti moves too stiffly. I believe only the most hardcore SNK fans should apply, everyone else use your $9 on one of the better Neo Geo Station offerings. Then again, it’s not common to find action platformers like this on the Neo Geo, so perhaps it’s worth a look. Only you can make that decision.