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Video Game: Spiritual Warfare
Spiritual Warfare is one of the games released by Wisdom Tree, a company that specialized in Christianity-themed games and was formed as a subsidiary of Color Dreams, a company known for making unlicensed NES games. Like all other Wisdom Tree games for the NES, it focused heavily on a religious theme and Bible trivia- unlike the rest of the Wisdom Tree library, however, it's actually regarded as a competent and even decent game. This may be due to the fact the developer chose to abandon their prior 2D side-scrolling game engine and instead took inspiration from overhead adventure games- primarily Legend of Zelda.

The game is set somewhere in an unnamed American city upon which Satan himself has set his sights, sending demons to possess much of the populace. You, a lone soldier in God's army, are tasked with stopping this and your only support are angels and the occasional citizen who was not possessed. Your weapon of choice as you gather the six pieces of the Armor of God are holy fruits and vials of God's wrath which can knock the possessed citizens out cold and free them of their demonic parasites. After obtaining the armor, you will make your way to Hell itself and fight Satan directly.

The game saw its primary release on the NES, and was later ported to the Sega Genesis, Game Boy, and PC. Up until a few years ago it was still possible to buy the game from Wisdom Tree direct but copies have since run out, with exception of the PC version (which does not run on modern Windows systems- though by all accounts it was a ROM file running under an outdated DOS emulator anyway). Wisdom Tree used to offer the NES version for free play on their website via jNes, but their site seems to have broken.


Tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Samsom's jawbone is used as a boomerang to retrieve the raft. You will also throw the sword once you obtain it- as well as all the fruit you throw.
  • All There in the Manual: 95% of the game's plot is on the back of the box and in the manual. The actual game contains so little info on what you're doing that someone who picks it up to play just thinks they're a random man throwing fruit at people.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted- the breast plate cuts damage by half, the helmet protects against dynamite explosions, and the shield cuts damage by another half- combined with the breast plate you will take only 25% of the damage you did at the start of the game.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: "Healing hands" is a pause menu item that lets you heal half a heart for 10 spirit points. Unfortunately, you take 1 heart of damage from most enemies, you need those spirit points to buy other things and once you have enough heart containers, a single anointing oil will be far cheaper. Really only useful if you're in dire need and have lots of spirit points to spare.
  • Bad with the Bone: Samson's jawbone- see trope page quote.
  • Children Are Innocent: Most of the non-hostile people you meet appear to be children.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The final area of the game sends you to Hell, complete with lava all around, but it doesn't affect you in the least- though at that point in the game, you have the full set of God's armor on which may be keeping you from roasting alive.
    • Subverted with the burning rubble piles- trying to walk on these before you get the boots WILL cause damage.
  • Cool Sword: The Sword of the Spirit. It fires off energy swords which explode with the same force as the vials on contact. It can kill enemies that are immune to fruit
  • Covers Always Lie: The box art shows you in a full set of silver armor, fighting demons with a sword. In the game, despite collecting said armor, you're always depicted as a man in a t-shirt and red pants.
  • Difficulty Spike: The start of the game is quite simple. Wait until enemies speed up and do more damage in later areas. Even the armor's half-damage attribute barely helps much(and if you skipped that piece...)
  • Edible Ammunition: Your primary weapon are "fruit of the spirit", fruits blessed to ward off evil. They are thrown, have an unlimited supply and can be bought in multiples to increase the number thrown at a given time.
  • Essence Drop: Hearts and spirit points drop at random from enemies.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Police officers, surfers, Hare Krishna, body builders, city workers, office workers, all prime hosts for Satan's legion of demons to possess. But not even he would force his minions upon the city's children, who all seem to have been left alone in the city-wide invasion.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: With the exception of a very small number of normal people who give advice, the city is crawling with things that want you dead- gang members, police, prison inmates, Hare Krishnas, dogs, ducks, businessmen, construction workers, bar patrons, gamblers.... justified as they're all possessed by demons.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The final area of the game takes place there.
  • Guide Dang It: The game is not impossible to beat without a guide but finding certain items may prove difficult without it- especially the torch, an item that helps out in certain puzzle rooms but is not necessary to beat the game. Certain extra fruit purchases can also be hard to find as well as all the extra heart containers- some of which are in places that don't even look like doors.
    • Answering the Bible trivia- provided you're not well-versed in it- will most certainly require an answer sheet to get them right.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Rooms reset every so often, mostly to make enemies respawn after a time. This has the side effect of making item pickups respawn- spirit points, bombs and even the rare keys will respawn. This may have been done on purpose so you would never run out of bombs, but it also lets you bypass key hunting by simply going back to the same room.
  • 100% Completion: It is not necessary to get every item- fruit upgrades and certain items can be skipped without causing any problems.
  • Informed Equipment: You will wear the same white shirt and red pants throughout the entire game despite collecting body armor.
  • Mini-Game: Bible trivia segments- either a true/false question or multiple choice.
  • More Dakka: Upgrading to 3 or 4 of a fruit allows you to rapid fire them.
  • Nintendo Hard: The start of the game is rather easy with enemies that move slowly. Then you get to the first boss which is only weak during brief moments. As you go on, enemies get faster, demons released from enemies move like lightning and damage increases- even with the armor that cuts damage by half you will still lose one heart per hit. The game is not impossible, but can be a challenge.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Dogs, ducks, bears and even bees will try to harm you- none of your weapons affect them. Your fruit will bounce off and your bombs do nothing. The only option is to run away or dodge them.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: The vial of God's wrath, your bomb item, will blow up obstacles and harm enemies. You, however, are totally immune to the blast- possibly because it's a concentrated container of God's wrath and you're His servant. Finding the helmet also renders you immune to enemy-placed dynamite.
  • Password Save: 32 characters long.
    • Passwords are cross-compatible between the NES and Genesis versions
  • Puzzle Boss: Every boss in the game has some trick to being beaten, either by only being vulnerable during a brief time or the room itself being a puzzle.
  • Scenery Porn: For an 8-bit NES game, some of the graphics- especially the varied ares of the city- are rather well drawn. Enhanced a bit in the Genesis port which re-drew some sprites to make use of the enhanced range of colors. If not for the simplified black floor in most places the game could have been quite beautiful.
  • Schmuck Bait: Go ahead, walk into the bar or the casino despite the person near the door telling you not to... the angels will punish you for entering a sinful place such as that and you will have to undergo a side quest to regain items they will take from you.
  • Shout-Out: The game itself to the first Legend of Zelda, from the overhead play style, the layout of the shops and the fact you have to enter the first building on the starting screen to obtain your first weapon.
    • The pomegranite to Metroid's wave beam.
  • Technology Marches On: A real world example- one of the major complaints against the game is that it uses passwords instead of battery backup saves, which is unusual for a game from the 1990s but Wisdom Tree was a small company with a budget and batteries and backup RAM chips did cost money. Modern day players though can bypass this using the save state function of emulators.
    • However, the password function does allow players to bypass most of the game, and the password system was cracked long ago so it's possible to make working custom passwords.
  • Updated Re-release: The Sega Genesis port, about a year after the NES version. It has slightly improved graphics (easy to notice when walking over any colored floor tile- your sprite no longer has the floor showing through "blank" lines) and a bit better sound and music. It's not a VAST improvement, but still... and passwords work between versions so any taken from an NES playthrough will work on the Genesis and vice-versa.
  • Useless Item: The grapes shoot out at random angles and become a pointless weapon that can't even be properly aimed.
  • Weird Currency: Spirit points. Justified as you make all your "purchases" directly from angels, not human shopkeepers. These points are obtained by defeating enemies or by answering Bible trivia correctly.
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