(Borderbund/Irem/Compile, 1988-1989)

If you saw my Top 30 list for the NES then you'll notice that I picked The Guardian Legend as my favourite game (an upset to some). Now I'm finally going to tell you why I picked this unique action/shooter game out of all the 700 NES games I played over the years but first here is a little background on this game. In the Guardian Legend you play has an strange but very cool aerobot transformer women named Alyssa (who's background is virtually unknown, I don't even know if she's a real robot or not) and it's her mission to destroy a massive asteroid carrying strange life forms bend on the destruction of planet earth.

Here is the first of many bosses through out this huge game.

The game starts off like a regular arcade shoot them up in deep space as Alyssa flies at full speed towards the gates of the asteroid. If you manage to pass the gate you'll transform back into a women to begin your ground adventure. Alyssa then discovers a message on how to destroy this once peaceful world now invaded by evil aliens by sealing 10 gates and then activating the self destruct switch. This is now where the game changes to an overhead Labyrinth mode much like the famous Legend of Zelda. It's now your objective to search for various keys, weapons, upgrades, chips (money) and even clues if you have any hope to carry out the last wish of the person of the now ravaged planet of Naju.

Eat your heart out Legend of Zelda!

Sure the game sounds tough but there tons of cool items to find on the world of Naju to aid Alyssa on her dangerous mission here. Not only can she fire a unlimited main cannon that can even to be powered over time but she can also carry 13 different secondary weapons like a double edged light sabre (long before Darth Maul used one in Star Wars Episode 1 by the way), heat seekers, wave cannons, the powerful plasma fire cannon (my personal favourite), and many more. The problem is the secondary weapons have limited ammo so you have to use them carefully.

Sometimes getting an important power up isn't always easy either because it's usually guarded by a Land Master in the Labyrinths (by ground) or a Stage Boss in the Dungeons (by air). Fortunately, the controls here are very responsive so you can move easily in 8 directions and you can even hold down the button to shoot instead of jamming it all the time so if you die you can't blame the controller (you still can though just don't break it like I did). The game also offers a password system so you don't have to finish it in one sitting. The only problem with that is you have to enter 16 characters and there are a lot annoying fonts here (like 0 and O) that look a like.

Be careful! The screen can be really busy at times.

Another cool thing about the game is how the graphics literally push the NES to its 8-bit limits here. The screen can easily get filled with monsters, robots, or enemy fire and yet the game never seems to slowdown neither. You'll see several different like fish and sea creatures in the water area and centipedes and eye balls in the organic stages of the map, so you'll encounter new enemies in each new section that you unlock which will drive you to play on. The sound is also very impressive in TGL as well. To the catchy fast paced music for each new world, to the loud sound effects your weapons give off you won't mind turning up the volume for this stuff.

Not only is this thing ugly but quite huge too. Good Luck!

The Guardian Legend is still my favourite NES of all time, even after all these years. It combines three of the best styles of game play in a video game I think of (shooter, role playing, and adventure) and the game will challenge you with several different enemies and exciting new areas. Super Mario Bros. 3 and the Legend of Zelda are also great NES games but not even they had the intensity of TGL here. Sadly I don't think there will ever be a sequel to this awesome game, the companies that made the game are either defunct or are too busy with other products, so TGL remains a NES exclusive for the time being (chances are you won't be seeing this on the Nintendo Wii either). All the more reason to get the game while you still can, I got my copy with the original box and instructions on eBay for only $9 US, a total bargain if you ask me.
This game is not only very intense but the Guardian Legend is truly a one of a kind! You can see my 2 pieces of artwork, or go to my Strategy Guide of TGL below.

My personal Strategy Guide for the game!

overall rating: 100/100

For 1 player only
graphics: 9/10
sound: 9/10
gameplay: 10/10
replay: 9/10

(Ryan Genno) 2002

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