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Video Game / The Guardian Legend

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If someone is reading this description... I must have failed.

The Guardian Legend (known as Guardic Gaiden in Japan) was a hybrid Action Game and Shoot 'em Up created by Compile and published by Irem (in Japan) and Brøderbund Software (in North America) for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Released around 1988, it's likely forgotten by all but the most hardcore of gamers, but this game did a great job of blending the two genres.

The game is about a female combat android, codenamed "the Guardian", who is commissioned with stopping an alien-infested planet called Naju from crashing into Earth and killing everyone. To do this, she must set off ten strategically-placed explosives within the corridors (by transforming into a spaceship and flying through them) and defeat the bosses within.


Provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: The game's protagonist, a feminine robot who must singlehandedly blast through hordes of enemies in her mission to save Earth.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The Apocalyptic Logs are seemingly written in English despite having been written by the last survivor of an alien race that never made contact with humanity.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The corridors are peppered with notes from a deceased native of the place that tells you how to unlock some of the trickier doors.
  • Artificial Human: The Guardian herself, a transforming robot whose humanoid form indeed looks very human.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Level 3 Area Blaster, also known as the Seeker weapon. It launches two extremely fast homing missiles that do very good damage and can clear out powerful projectiles like the Optomon's strings, but uses up a whopping 120 chips per second at level 3, which is roughly four times more than most other weapons. By the time you get this after Corridor 9, you are already at the end of the game and it might only be used in some the remaining sub-bosses, and maybe some parts of Corridor 20 and 10 where enemy spam gets ridiculous. The problem is, other weapons do the same job, but more efficient.
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  • Beam Spam: Many of the corridor areas have enemies that shoot a hail of lasers (especially at the end, when the laser-shooting Clawbots have DEADLY beams). Also Eyegore, a multi-eyed skull boss loves this trope too.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: For example, in the manual, "The Guardian is a sophisticated aerobot transformer".
  • Boss Room: When you walk into a room and hear a warning klaxon and see indestructible pyramids closing around you, be prepared to fight... Or not. The pyramids close slowly enough that you can run out before the boss appears if you're quick! You can also stand over the walls as they form, then either go in to fight or run away if you think the boss is out of your league.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Corridors 11-20 are not actually necessary to complete the game; corridors 1-10 are the ones that give you keys and are required to open the final corridor 21. That said, the bonus items you get for completing the other 10 corridors will definitely help. You can also rack a lot of points as well to gain more health.
  • Boss Rush: "Corridor 21", and "Arcade Mode", (password 'TGL') which puts you through only the flying stages.
  • Boss Warning Siren: The normal music for the area turns off and a low and slow "bwoom" sound plays to warn of an oncoming boss. In the exploratory areas, this is accompanied by green pyramids closing off passages to other areas; it's possible to escape before the boss arrives. In ship areas, you have no choice and must confront the boss.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: On flying stages, many bosses start to aggressively throw mooks at you after turning red, giving you an opportunity to rack up much needed HP and power chips. In fact, the Corridor 8 boss is so hard to beat mainly because at one point he stops making mooks, leaving you without means to restore your health or refill a secondary weapon.
  • Cool Ship: A strange variation, as the main character is the cool ship (at least, she can transform into it).
  • Covers Always Lie: The North American box art for the game, shown above, has pretty much nothing to do with the game. The European box art (seen here) and the Japanese box art (seen here) are slightly better in that they least show a Robot Girl, even if said girl looks nothing like the protagonist. Pretty much the only thing either the American or European covers get right is the phrase "Includes Password Feature". Oh, boy does this game include a password feature.
  • Degraded Boss: One of the minibosses in the labyrinth stages appears as a regular enemy later, while still retaining its high health and brutal collision damage...
  • Destructible Projectiles: All enemy projectiles can be destroyed and you can even get random drops from them, though some projectile types require special weapons to destroy. The few enemies whose projectiles can't be easily shot out of the air by your main gun tend to be among the most difficult in the game.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: A few of the special weapons.
    • The Saber Laser and Cutter Laser weapons create small blade-like beams directly in front of you and to the sides, respectively. They can be difficult to hit with against most enemies, but do enormous amounts of damage if you can use them properly.
    • The Repeller creates a spinning energy ball which slowly moves forward as it spins around. As pointed out by LordKaT in one episode of Until We Win (in which he referred to it as "the circle cannon") it can be used to beautiful effect against bosses as it spins around on top of them to rack up hit after hit after hit.
    • The Fireball weapon can be hard to use due to being a Painfully Slow Projectile. While it is extremely slow at Level 1, it has a fixed damage rate not dependent on gunpower, but it does massive damage and damage disperses per time. Level 1 is powerful enough to defeat bosses in 2-4 shots. When it reaches Level 2, it is slightly faster, but does double damage, can clear out all projectiles and most enemies, and it is bigger in size.
      • Semi-averted when it reaches to Level 3. While it retains the same size as Level 2, does 1.3x damage than the Level 2, goes very fast in speed. What makes this harder to use is that you can quickly run out of chips if you spam recklessly without paying attention to your chips.
  • Dungeon Shop: The giant Blue Landers you come across in the game either own these or operate Password Save rooms. Some of the Lander shopkeepers offer a choice of three purchases, but you can only take one of the items they have. (Though there is an exploit that allows you to take all three if you can pull it off properly.)
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The fate of Naju after you successfully activate all ten self-destruct switches.
  • Every 10,000 Points: The game rewards high scores by increasing your health meter every so many points, starting at 30,000 points. At the same time, the game will crash if you reach the score's cap.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Guardian's name is never revealed in the game or the English instruction manual. According to the original Japanese manual, she is called "Miria" (full name: "Strongest Warrior System D.P., pet name Miria").
  • Evolving Attack: Both your main gun and your special weapons. The Guardian's main gun's spread and rate of fire increase with the number of Energy Chips she is carrying, while the special weapons become more powerful based on how many times you collect their icon.
  • Explosive Breeder: One of the enemies in the labyrinth areas is a blue spider that, if left unkilled, turns orange, then red, then splits into seven identical copies of itself. These individual copies can split even more, making things a little... complicated.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The game's Japanese name, as this game is basically Guardic from the MSX only with a story.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Corridor 4 caused a lot of players trouble. For that corridor the only hint given on how to open the gate was "Ask the round creature for help." Most players quickly realized the "round creature" was a giant Blue Lander who operated a Dungeon Shop nearby, but what they didn't know was that "asking for help" meant leaving and re-entering the room a large number of times after purchasing something from him, with no text or indication that it's helping at all, until eventually the Lander tells you he'll help.
    • The game does not tell you that having five defensive shields increase your movement speed.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The game is extremely lenient when it comes to what parts of your sprite take damage, and what parts of enemy sprites give damage (especially the bosses). The fact that the game is still Nintendo Hard in spite of this says something.
  • If You Can Read This: All of the messages left to you by the last (good alien) survivor of NAJU come in the form of giant monitors on the floor.
  • Insurmountable Waist-High Fence: Those indestructible pyramids blocking your passage, until you gain enough speed upgrades to outrun the miniboss room ones or slip through the tiny gaps between the regular ones.
  • Intangible Man: You can easily walk though vertical 1-thin walls (apparently depends on a couple of factors, like emulator being used, etc) with enough speed upgrades.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: All monsters and bosses are strange alien creatures, except for one dragon boss.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Mostly averted. While a few of the enemies seem nigh-impossible to defeat, they usually just have a ton of Hit Points. Of course, the Enemy Eraser decimates them with ease.
  • Item Farming: You often have to farm enemies to get health and energy item drops before going into a corridor or optional boss fight.
  • Laser Blade: The Saber Laser and Cutter Laser weapons, which are very useful for killing things right next to you.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: You will not die when your shields drop to zero. The next hit will destroy you, though.
  • Level Grinding: Killing enemies over and over will increase your score and eventually award you with one extra point of health. This ceases to be beneficial when at one million points you start needing another million for one health point.
  • The Lost Woods: Areas 3 and 4, the Forest region. Given their oddly geometric shapes, the foliage here may also be Mechanical Lifeforms or Silicon-Based Life.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Bombardier boss can fire no less than 12 or so missiles at you in one go. Its missiles, however, are very weak, especially when you fight it the second time around.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Minimal, providing less than a second of protection, and only against small enemy collisions. Large lasers or enemy attacks do so much damage - sustained contact drains your shield almost instantly.
  • Minus World: There's a region outside the playable bounds of the game, which is accessible by putting in certain passwords. It's a glitchy region where new rooms are all randomly generated and should be traversed with caution as it is entirely possible for a new room to generate without an exit.
  • More Dakka: The Guardian's default gun relies on this principle. The more chips she's carrying, the more bullets-per-second she can shoot. The enemies also get this trope - in some of the later corridors, you'll find yourself facing an inspiringly absurd number of bullets and missiles and flying enemies and EVERYTHING ELSE.
  • Oculothorax: While eyes are a prevalent theme among many bosses, special mention goes to Optomon, who is a giant eye wrapped in tentacles.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Teramute, a dragon boss that sprays fireballs.
  • Password Save: The passwords are 32 characters long, including both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and even a couple of punctuation marks.
  • Palette Swap: Like many NES games, many common enemies have tougher palatte-swapped versions to add to the challenge.
  • Piñata Enemy: In the overworld section, the enemies that resemble an ice crystal will drop a heart almost every time.
  • Random Drop: While most items are earned, enemies and even destroyed projectiles can drop chips, health, and Enemy Erasers.
  • Rare Candy: The miniature Blue and Red Landers increase your maximum health and chip capacity, respectively.
  • Series Mascot: Red and Blue Landers are Compile's company mascots and recurring characters in their games.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Areas 9 and 10, the Wasteland region. It's dusty and cracked and colored like sand. Also, full of bones.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: You have to do this for several Corridors. Corridor 1 by shooting out the gate, Corridor 5 by shooting out the corridor display panel, and Corridor 6 by using a special weapon on the gate. In an interesting inversion, you open Corridor 8 by setting your secondary weapon to "No Use" and attempting to fire it.
  • Smart Bomb: The Enemy Eraser, which destroys all small enemies and projectiles on the screen. They become vital for surviving later parts of the game.
  • Sole Survivor: Aside from the Red and Blue Landers, NAJU was overrun by hostile aliens, and said survivor died sometime before your character arrives.
  • Sound Test: Not accessible from within the game itself (or even from the main menu screen), but there is a button combination that will let you access the sound test mode. This includes every piece of music and every sound effect in the game.
  • Spaceship Girl: Your main character is a female android who can transform into a spaceship.
  • Underground Level: Areas 5 and 6, the Crystal region, which has the appearance of a crystal mine.
  • Underground Monkey: LOTS of enemies, including some bosses. The strangest example of this trope is in the Organic corridors. Accompanying the eyeball enemies and annoying green squid-like enemies that absorb all of your firepower are palette-swapped enemies from the Water and Forest regions, so you end up fighting mushrooms and sea creatures at the same time as eyeballs.
  • Under the Sea: Areas 1 and 2, the Water region. The Labyrinth may be in a dry space since it has non-aquatic enemies, but the Corridors are clearly underwater, full of fish and other underwater enemies, and the bosses are giant cyclopean sharks, octopi, and an irate crayfish.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: The game will softlock if the score goes above 9,999,999.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Corridor 21, which exists in a previously empty room back in Area 0 after all 10 main corridors have been finished.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In the Organic Corridors, there's a small green eye enemy that's Nigh Invulnerable, and absorbs pretty much all your weapons except the Enemy Eraser. To beat it... you need to run into it, which kills it instantly without harming you. It's probably the last thing one would do, given that enemies deal pretty painful Collision Damage at this point.
  • Where It All Began: The entrance for the final Corridor is actually in Area 0, in a room which was previously empty.
  • A Winner Is You: "You are the greatest player" is displayed at the end, along with your score and some extra art.
  • Womb Level: Areas 7 and 8, the Organic region. The walls are meat and the Corridors are full of eyeballs.

I hope this page will not be read by anyone... it will mean that I have failed.

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