Magician Lord is a side-scrolling platform game developed by ADK and released on April 26, 1990. It was a launch title for both the Neo-Geo MVS (arcade) and AES (home) systems, and was one of the pack-in games for the Neo-Geo AES.
It was re-released through the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console download service in Europe and Australia on October 26, 2007, and in North America on October 29, 2007. It also was included in SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1, released for the Playstation 2 and Playstation Portable in North America on May 1, 2008.
The player controls the wizard Elta, the last magician lord, on his quest to save his homeland from the evil wizard Gal Agiese, prophet of the god of destruction Az Atorse, who plans to resurrect his deity using eight tomes of mystical power. As Elta the player must battle through eight levels to find each of the tomes before he can reach the final battle and seal away the evil god and his prophet once again.
Elta must make his way through each level and beat a guardian (sub-boss) and a boss before reaching the final confrontation with Az Atorse. Gameplay is similar to that of a standard side-scrolling action platformer, with the added twist of transformations that offer the wizard different attacks and abilities. When he has not been transformed, Elta's primary form of attack is a weak but fast-moving energy arc that he can shoot in four directions; left, right, up and (while jumping) down.
These are the forms that Elta can assume by picking up various colored orbs:
- Dragon Warrior: The Dragon Warrior attacks by breathing a stream of fire; a continuous but short-range attack that can also be aimed diagonally unlike Elta's normal shots.
- Waterman: Waterman uses a water attack that erupts into a geyser on touching the ground. The attack can hit many times for big damage but covers a small area.
- Poseidon: A more powerful version of the Waterman, Poseidon summons waves of water that travels along the ground for several hits and big damage. This form, however, moves very slowly.
- Shinobi: Shinobi attacks with a slow moving but wide fire arc and grants increased agility and movement.
- Samurai: The Samurai has a medium-range energy sword slash that cuts through anything, including walls and enemy shields. It has the most damaging attack of all the forms and can hit several enemies with one attack if they are lined up properly.
- Raijin: Raijin can attack from any position using an electric sphere with short reach and limited damage but surrounds his body continuously, even while jumping. This form also jumps higher and faster than normal.
The game makes a few apparent references to H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. One of the enemies is clearly a Byakhee, the form Gal Agiese uses in the next to last level greatly resembles Nyarlathotep, and there are some other parallels, as well.
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