I have again recently 're-discovered' the sheer brilliance of Rygar - an arcade game I used to pump coins into as a kid up at Terry's Corner Store. Playing this game again brought back memories of all of the fun I had after school with my 'spare' pocket money - and I say again because I seem to 're-discover' it every 6 months or so.
Note: This article is going to be expanded upon continually as I add new sections.
Rygar (known as Argos no Senshi in Japan) was created by Tecmo in 1986 and is is a scrolling 'platform' game where you play as Rygar, the "Legendary Warrior" - set 4.5 billion years since the Earth's creation.
You control Rygar, a previously dead warrior who has risen from the grave to try to defeat King Ligar, an evil villain who who has taken over the land of Argos. You will need to run, jump and use your main method of attack known as a Diskarmor - a large chain wielded disk (shield) weapon - to survive and defeat the enemy and eventually, Ligar.
Moving through the 27 levels you will come across over 20 different kinds of mutated animal enemies including lava men, armored rhinos, chameleons and what appears to be poo throwing apes.
When using your Diskarmor, you have two types of attacks available - a left or right 'fling' attack or a 'round-the-world' circular yo-yo type attack, which is handy getting flying enemies or enemies standing in trees or on ledges.
During the game, you will find items hidden inside of stones, trees, the ground and other objects. To find these items you must either shoot them or jump in a specific location to expose them. These items include:
Repulse Stone: These items are shot out of lava pits and hidden inside stones. They add to your repulse bonus, which increases based on the number of enemies you destroy and you will be awarded 200 bonus points
Small Gem: These are found inside any object randomly and are worth 500 bonus points
Large Gem: These are found inside any object randomly only after you have collected four of the five powerups, with a value of 1,000 bonus points
Screen Bomb: These are almost always found inside an object or after jumping on a location in the exact same location each game (except level 6). When used, they will destroy all enemies currently visible on screen except for Death. 10,000 bonus points for using this item but they come in handy at times - so try to remember exactly where they are.
Time Item: These are found inside any object randomly, and will add 20 second to the stage time clock. If Death has already appeared, the clock will not recount this time. No bonus points
Star Gem: For every 7 stars you collect, you will receive a very nice bonus point score of 70,000 bonus points. You can do this many times during the game.
Extra Life Angel: These Extra Life Angels are sometimes found inside stones in Rounds 4, 12, 18 and 26 ONLY. Round 14 on the Japanese version has an additional Extra Life Angel. No bonus points.
Parchment: The Holy Grail of Hidden Items and if you find it ONLY above the STAR TREE in Round 13 you will receive a massive 1,000,000 bonus points!
Question Mark Item: This is a very rare hidden items found only inside stones and once found, you shoot it to change the item into the item you wish to collect. You can change this item into any of the above mentioned items, except for the parchment, which is substituted with the Cross Power Icon
During the game, you can acquire five special power icons to assist you with your attacks. These are:
Star Power Icon: Provides a longer chain to hit your enemy from a greater distance almost covering the width of the screen.
Crown Power Icon: Provides a stronger Diskarmor to hit multiple enemies with a single attack.
Tiger Power Icon: Gives ability to jump on any enemies except Death and kill them instantly.
Cross Power Icon: Gives a temporary shield lasting from 10 to 45 seconds. The Cross Power Icon is ONLY found on Round 7, 17 and 25 and inside the extremely rare Question Mark Game Item. If you manage to have all 5 powerups at any time while the Cross Power is active, you will receive 160,000 bonus points the first time you do this ONLY.
Sun Power Icon: Gives the Diskarmor the ability to shoot directly upwards, instead of the standard round sweeping motion.
Details coming shortly
These are the Rygar arcade conversions I have played myself, either on the devices directly or via emulation. I have placed them in my order of preference and the best version of Rygar comes from a computer system that sadly never left Japan.
1 Sharp x68000
The best version of Rygar available on emulation is the Sharp X68000 version. It is almost a perfect arcade machine port and is such a great version of this game. To play this game on your PC you will need to get a Sharp X68000 emulator and the Rygar disk image. See the Sharp X68000 page to download the emulator and Rygar rom.
2 Amstrad CPC464
This is in my opinion the best 8-bit version of Rygar. The game plays very well and has responsive controls. The jumping in this version is quite exaggerated and the Diskamor acts more like a gun that shoots red disks, The background soundtrack is very good and sounds similar to the arcade version. Some enemies are out of proportion compared with the arcade version, like the dragon and it's riders, but all in all, it's fun to play.
3 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
This is a somewhat interesting conversion in that it is not really a conversion at all. It contains elements of the arcade game, but adds in adventure game type modes and a top down view as seen on NES Zelda titles. Rygar purists might sneer but this is a really good game.
4 Atari Lynx
This version is probably closer to the arcade version than all the other conversions except for the x68000, and it too plays very well via it's responsive controls. One thing I found difficult with not being able to see the lava men and worms moving under the surface so I thought it was a lot harder. The characters are well draw and Rygar moves at a slightly faster pace than the arcade version. Some of the enemies render on the screen and don't move until you get to a certain point, like the rhino, and I also found this a bit weird. You are also only capable of obtain four of the power icons which is another difference but it's a solid conversion and the only one I have found on a handheld.
5 Commodore 64
This 8-bit version is actually quite close to the visual quality of the CPC version and the background sound is better thanks to the SID chip. Where this version is really let down is the game play speed and the controls which at times don't even respond to your commands, making it impossible to play and very frustrating even with a 'trainer'.
6 Sega Master System (SMS)
This is quite a messy conversion in terms of game play and what actually 'goes on' during the game. Sprite collisions are not the best and things float in places you don't expect. The music is a let down and the sound affects are very average.
7 ZX Spectrum
Another messy conversion. The speed of the game is all wrong, the sound is just very basic bleep bleeps and sprite collisions are just not right. Some enemies are out of proportion compared with the arcade version (like the CPC version) and the power icons are simply HUGE. This version is unfortunately not very playable nor much fun and at times I found the background patterns quite nauseating when scrolling left to right.
The Rygar Arcade Machine Service Manual is available for download in PDF format. Below is the Rygar Arcade Machine Flyer.
The other great attraction to Rygar is the number of hidden bonus items that can be found. There are hidden golden stars (which give you an extra life when you have collected 7 of them), hidden bomb icons that clear the screen of all enemies and time icons that extend your time in that round. On Round 13, there is a star tree (shoot the area around the tree and bonus stars appear) and there is a hidden parchment that will award you 1000000 points!