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, SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 for the Nintendo Wii and the PlayStation 2, and later to the PlayStation 3 store, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
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.
- 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:
Your are very dangerous. Be dead down here.
- Level five is called "Anderground passage of terror". There are several other examples, this is just the most blatant.
- A lot of Gal Agiese's threats before the main boss fight of the level, too.
- 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".
- 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.
- Increasingly Lethal Enemy: Frogs. These hop around and don't even hurt Elta, but let them live for more than a few seconds and the grow into frog warriors, which can hurt Elta and are harder to kill and avoid.
- Magic Knight: That's what Elta is.
- Malaproper: Before the first boss battle, Gal Agiese says, "What imprudence, you human being!" He probably means "impudence".
- 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.
- Orbiting Particle Shield: The final form of Az Atorse uses this to attack you, combined with Reverse Shrapnel. Interestingly enough, you need to attack and destroy said orbiting objects in order to win.
- 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.
- Shape Dies, Shifter Survives: Elta gains a second HP meter when he takes on one of his alternate forms; emptying this one will revert him to his base shape.
- The Smurfette Principle: The sixth guardian is a seemingly human woman, the only unambiguously female one, and also the only enemy that does not explode upon defeat.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: For little apparent reason, the player's allowed to pick any of their super forms to start the Final Boss stage as.
- 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.
- Theme Naming: While it doesn't name all of the bosses, the Japanese manual implies that besides Gal Agiese, the bosses were all named for Cthulhu Mythos horrors. Besides Az Atorse (meant to be Az Athoth), there's Ithaqua (stage 1 boss), Dagon (stage 3 boss), and Shudde M'Ell (stage 6 boss).
- 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.
- Womb Level: Level three, "Highway leading to a foreign space".