Video Game: Magician Lord
Magician Lord was one of Neo Geo's launch titles in 1990 and a Killer App for its time. A Platform Game made by ADK, it tells the story of Elta, a young wizard entrusted with the task of collecting eight magic books to keep Az Atorse, the god of destruction, sealed. The evil necromancer Gal Agiese however wants the power of Az Atorse for himself and challenges the young wizard to retrieve them. The game is divided into eight stages, each one of them culminating with the battle against a "guardian" (basically, a sub-boss) and then against Gal Agiese himself, every time turned into some grotesque creature that represents Az Atorse's power (or maybe he's just dicking around with Elta, who knows).The defining feature of the game was the ability to collect colored orbs to turn Elta into six possible forms with different abilities, increasing for example his agility, jump or firepower. The title is also remembered for its presentation (thanks to the power of the hardware), with great graphics and an amazing soundtrack, but also for its difficulty (it was produced by SNK after all) and for many amusing Engrish quotes. Magician Lord remained an arcade- and Neo Geo-only release until the 2000s, when it was ported to Wii's Virtual Console and later to the PlayStation 3 store.
Elta's alternate forms:
- Dragon Warrior (red orb + red orb)
- Waterman (red + blue orb)
- Poseidon (blue + blue)
- Shinobi (red + green)
- Samurai (blue + green)
- Raijin (green + green)
Tropes found in the game:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Stage five appears to be one.
- Annoying Laugh: The high-pitched snickers of the first guardian and the continuous giggles of the fifth.
- Attack of the Monster Appendage: Literally - the sixth boss appears to be a severed green arm hanging from the ceiling, holding a laser-shooting orb and shooting stuff from its stump and bicep!
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Level five is called "Anderground passage of terror". There are several other examples, this is just the most blatant.
- Boss Banter: Oh, Gal Agiese, you and your poor grasp of the English language!
- Boss Rush: The final stage consists in nothing more than the seven guardians one after another, and then the final fight against the reincarnated Az Atorse
- Cat Girl: Many are found in stage six, "Corridor leading to Hell", and a few in the seventh, "Gal Agiese".
- Cthulhu Mythos: Pretty blatant. The veiny bird-monsters look like some old art of Byakhees, the second-to-last boss is an obvious Nyarlathotep copy, and "Az Atorse" was likely meant to be Azathoth. And those are just the direct Lovecraft homages, to say nothing of the general enemy design.
- Development Hell: See "What Could Have Been" below.
- Enemy Summoner: The fourth guardian is a floating mage that summons eyeless humanoid monsters in groups of three.
- Evil Laugh: The second and fourth guardian have one (the same one, in fact). "Heh-heh-heh".
- Eyeless Face: The fourth boss is a hellhound with giant spikes where its eyes should be. Also, the summoned enemies above.
- Final Boss, New Dimension
- Flying Seafood Special: In stage four, "Castle of Devils", there are these floating creatures that look like coelacanths.
- Game Over Man: Upon losing all of our lives we are greeted with the sight of Gal Agiese's ugly mug.
- Magic Knight: That's what Elta is.
- Nintendo Hard: Ridiculously so.
- Old Master: Appears right before the final battle to let Elta choose one of the six forms to fight Az Atorse.
- Our Monsters Are Weird: For starters, fleshy, veiny "birds" that come out of the ground, attack with electricity and shield themselves with their "wings". And this is just the beginning of the first level!
- Palette Swap
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Elta wears these, it goes without saying.
- The Smurfette Principle: The sixth guardian is a seemingly human woman, the only female one (the only unambiguously female one, that is. The fifth guardian is a knight that seems to have high heels, so who knows?) and also the only one enemy that does not explode upon defeat.
- Spike Balls of Doom: Found especially in the second stage.
- Stalked by the Bell: If you take too long to complete a level (not so improbable, some of them have many side areas) a floating, indestructible brain-like creature with claws appears and starts stalking Elta.
- Unique Enemy: A weird, one-eyed, spider-legged worm that creates tiny copies of itself. It can be found only in one of level three's side areas. Also, the flying winged knight in level four, and the knight on wheels with a lance in level six.
- What Could Have Been: Apparently SNK was working on a portable sequel to the game, for Neo Geo Pocket, in the late Nineties. According to this French article, it was being developed by ADK and was in the alpha stage when ADK and SNK went bankrupt. Elta could turn into several new forms and the game seemed more of a Metroid Vania, but we'll never know for sure.
- Womb Level: Level three, "Highway leading to a foreign space".
Again changes to Hell.