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Video Game / Legacy of the Wizard

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Legacy of the Wizard is an 1987 action adventure RPG for the MSX2 and Nintendo Entertainment System, developed by Falcom. It is the fourth game in the Dragon Slayer series, and was the first to make it Stateside on consoles, courtesy of Brøderbund Software. Released in Japan as Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family on the Famicom, it was notably the first game developed by Falcom specifically for a gaming console (the company was primarily a PC developer, releasing games on platforms such as the PC-8800 and the X1), although it was also released for the MSX2 and later ported to the original MSX (which were much closer to gaming consoles than traditional PCs).

It features the exploits of the Worzen family, a family of woodcutters. The grandfather is rather legendary for defeating and sealing away a dragon named Keela. However one day, there are signs of the dragon awakening and the family of humble lumberjacks resolve to strap on their adventuring outfits and venture into the vast dungeon, which lies directly below their log cabin in the woods.

That's the short version of the story of Legacy of the Wizard. The long version is spending many untold hours navigating the labyrinthine maze, collecting four crowns, a magic sword and other items, all the while trying to avoid running out of magic, keys and life. The dungeon is crawling with monsters at every turn and getting trapped is easier than you think should you stray into the wrong part of the dungeon with the wrong character.

Each of the family members has different abilities, each of which is suited for specific areas of the dungeon. Xemn, the father, can push blocks; Meyna, the mother, can fly; Lyll, the daughter, can break blocks and jump high; Pochi, the family's pet dragon dog... thing, is immune to damage from enemy monsters, and Roas, the son, can teleport at specific locations and use the Dragon Slayer.

This game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lyll, the hero's little sister is a reasonably good physical fighter and magic-wielder, being powerful enough to break rocks. She is also the best jumper in the family.
  • Action Mom: Meyna, the hero's mother, is a powerful spellcaster.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The game keeps giving you magic when all you really need is keys or gold. Also, one clever mechanic the game uses is that items' drop rates are inversely proportional to how much you already have. Getting a lot of items while low on them is easy, topping off when you're 99% full is extremely difficult.
  • Backtracking: And a lot of it.
  • Badass Family: The members of the Worzen family are powerful warriors and magic-wielders.
  • Beneath the Earth: The hero and his family must delve deep into a massive system of caverns and underground ruins to collect the items needed to destroy the dragon Keela.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: Certain rooms have ghosts or Wizzrobe-like enemies -called Wizard- which will mercilessly follow you around and can pass through walls.
  • Big Bad: Keela, the evil King Dragon who is able to break the seal cast by Roas' grandfather.
  • Blackground The background graphics will usually be this if it's not bricks or dirt. The Final Boss takes this one step further and omits the foreground as well.
  • Black Magician Girl: Meyna, Roas' mother, is a short, plucky sorceress.
  • Bleak Level: Most of the game is pretty bright colorful and well lit untill you get deep into Pochi's zone. A new tileset of bricks and blocks appears where things just look darker and dreary with starker lighting. These new graphics also intersect with a section of Lyll's zone much to the same effect.
  • Block Puzzle: Xemn and Meyna have to deal with these in their areas. Lyll can just break blocks.
  • Boring, but Practical: If you face Rockgea as Lyll, you can snipe him from an upper ledge safely, but because of Lyll's weak shots it will take a long time to chip away at the rock golemn's health. It is recommended you bring a magic bottle.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: Archwinger's area contains a small foxhole to the far right of the screen where you can shoot him but he can't get to you.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: It's not necessary to venture into the spike pit in Pochi's area but heaven help you if you go down there with a human character.
  • Captain Ersatz: Does Pochi remind you of the dino-dragons from Bubble Bobble?
  • Cat Girl: Mayu enemies look like tiny pink-hooded girls with cat ears and tail.
  • Chest Monster: Mimics look right chests, you have to touch them and fight them if you want to collect their treasure, and some of them are very lethal.
  • The Chosen One: Roas is completely useless until the very end of the game, when he suddenly becomes the only one able to wield the Dragon Slayer sword and kill Keela.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Normally when venturing into a dungeon, coming across a room with nothing but cute Cat Girls would be a good thing. Not in this game as Mayus want to kill you just like any other monster.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Several places with spikes and pits can become this if you don't have the means/ don't know how to escape. The bottom most area of Pochi's dungeon comes to mind.
  • Dem Bones: A fairly common enemy type is skeletal knights. They are simply called Skeletons.
  • Disconnected Side Area: LOTW has turned this into an art form.
  • The Dog Is an Alien: Pochi.
  • The Dragon: The four bosses who guard the crown, Tarantunes, Erebone, Archwinger and Rockgaea. Keela, an actual dragon, is the Big Bad.
  • Dungeon Shop: The dungeon is littered with these, with some containing useful and rare items.
  • Eldritch Location: The underground ruins are very reminiscent of a cyclopean city, especially when there are one eyed, squid creatures flying everywhere.
  • Empty Room Psych: Happens frequently with how many dead ends there are in the game. Some of these areas are actually contained and were designed for collecting items in the MSX2 counterpart, but were moved in the NES version, rendering some of them vestigial.
  • Expy: The Metablack is the first enemy you encounter. They have black bodies with little beady eyes like Buzzy Beetles but walk on octopus legs, while also serving as The Goomba. It helps that like specifically Buzzy Beetles from the original Super Mario Bros., metablack can be found in many different colors.
  • Escape Rope: Crystals will teleport you back above ground to allow you to switch family members.
  • Fake Platform: The most notable being just before Lyll's crown.
  • Flip-Screen Scrolling: The MSX versions more so than the Famicon / NES version.
  • Goomba Stomp: With the spiked shoes.
  • Guide Dang It!: There are absolutely no in-game hints for this mind-bendingly large and complex dungeon, you don't even know which part of the dungeon you need to use a particular character and his abilities for, provided that you've found the items that ONLY that character can use...
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: It's scary to think that the slender Meyna birthed two children with the hulking Xemn, as in game art he's more than half again as tall as she is and over three times as broad.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Bread heals.
  • Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Keys can unlock any door or treasure chest, but will disappear once they've been used.
  • Invisible Monsters: In Meyna's zone of the dungeon. As if the game wasn't already hard on its own.
  • Jump Physics: Characters take falling damage if they fall from a height greater than their jump height. This includes Pochi, who can't be harmed from Collision Damage with monsters.
  • Kid Hero: Lyll and Roas
  • Locked Door: Meyna's zone has an obscene amount of these. Don't venture forth without the Keystick.
  • Magical Mystery Doors: The pictures of Princess Celena can be used as teleporters using the four crowns. Usually not advised unless you know exactly where they go.
  • Malevolent Architecture: And HOW. Between the crumbling blocks, pitfalls, spikes and confusing layout of the dungeon, navigation requires the knowledge of a London taxi driver.
  • Mercy Invincibility: You're given a two-second window of invincibility after taking a hit, even after landing on spikes.
  • Metroidvania: More like a Metroidinsania! You get no map, but luckily the map is an easy 16x16 screen grid.
  • The Mole: Pochi, seriously. Those poor monsters, thinking he's one of their own, then *BAM!* Of course, he can choose not to blast the monsters at all.
  • Monster Allies: Pochi
  • Monster Town: The vast dungeon isn't really a town, but there are numerous inns and shops as well as evidence of what appears to be ancient cities and castles. They just happen to be populated by numerous monsters.
  • Multi-Platform: The game was on four different consoles, each with a distinct color palette.
  • Nigh-Invulnerable: Pochi, who only took damage from falling and area hazards (presumably, monsters don't hurt their own, Pochi notwithstanding, that treacherous swine).
  • Palette Swap: Many of the game's colorful dungeons use a specific color scheme for similar background sprites.
  • Pause Scumming: Pausing the game resets your fall distance, which can save you a lot of Falling Damage if you can get the timing down.
  • Plot Coupon: The four crowns and the Dragon Slayer, as well as many must-have, rare items such as the High Jump Boots and the Mattock.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: Each section of the dungeon is designed to take advantage of a particular family member's talents. Sending the wrong character into the wrong area of the dungeon is likely to get you stuck.
  • Poison Mushroom: The poison drop item which appears with alarming frequency. It doesn't take off very much life but it often appears in tight corridors where you can't get around them, forcing the player to pick them up anyways or wait until they disappear.
  • Respawning Enemies: In the form of eggs that hatch a few seconds after you kill the monsters.
  • Scenery Porn: For an 8-bit game, some of the backdrops are quite picturesque, the castle to the left of the dungeon entrance being a prime example. Many of the vistas in the dungeon with silhouettes of castles and towers and the volcano in Lyll's area. The boss rooms tend to lean towards Scenery Gorn.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The painting which contains the dragon Keela.
  • Skeleton Key: The Keystick, which can only be used by Meyna, can unlock any door or chest without consuming any of your keys.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Threatening Geography:
    • The entrance area is pretty easy to traverse with minimal pitfalls, a series of platforms and ladders that can be skipped anyways and only one area next to the gloves that indulges in secret blocks that need to be discovered to proceed.
    • Pochi's area introduces spikes and several staggering maze screens and locked doors.
    • Lyll's zone is vertically oriented and require her high-jumping skills and the Mattock to break blocks.
    • Xemn's area features more blocks that needs to be pushed and is also pretty maze-like with an increased chance of trapping yourself.
    • Meyna's zone is on the toughest end of the scale, requiring all her items to proceed (Wings, Keystick, Trident) all of which eat up magic, and the enemies are tougher and more pugnacious than ever.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The names of some of the characters differ between the NES and MSX versions.
  • Spikes of Doom: Subverted since spikes will only drain 1HP of life at a time. You can even hold up to avoid taking any damage while walking on them.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Dragon Slayer.
  • Trauma Inn: For a small fee of 10 gold pieces, you can restore all of your lost health and restock your items. You also automatically regain all your health when you return home.
  • Unwinnable by Design: One of the demo scenarios puts the AI controlled Xemn inside one of the eyes of the mouth with nothing that can be done except shove a crystal one time.
  • A Winner Is You: The ending is just the family waving goodbye to the player, then credits.