Kudos for Kuros

I can’t say I’m especially familiar with the Wizards & Warriors series. I did watch my brother play through the first game, which involved the quest of the knight Kuros through the Kingdom of Elrond to rescue the princess from the evil wizard Malkil, who turns out to be the same color as Frankenberry.

Not the most original concept, but the game had its own flavor to it, with a lot of vertical as well as horizontal travel. Really, though, what I remember most is that annoying music when Kuros’ health gets low. I’m not sure I realized at the time that there was a sequel, but it turns out there are actually three, two for the original Nintendo Entertainment System and one for the Game Boy. I recently read this review of the second game, Ironsword, which has basically the same plot but with some added stuff about having to fight monsters based on the four classical elements in order to retrieve the parts of the Ironsword.

And I really have to wonder who decided “Ironsword” sounded like a bad-ass name for a weapon. Sounds pretty generic to me, unless perhaps the Kingdom of Elrond is a Bronze Age culture that just learned how to temper iron. Wizards & Warriors III, if the description is to be believed, has Kuros fighting Malkil yet again, this time with the wizard impersonating the King of Piedup. (Is their chief export pies, or what?) And while Wikipedia has little to say about the Game Boy game, it sounds like it’s basically the same thing. I couldn’t say why it’s Chapter X, but then, I haven’t played it.

So who is Kuros? Well, if the games are to be believed, he’s a knight dressed in full body armor, although it doesn’t seem to protect him from much.

Come on, he’s in metal from head to toe, and BEE STINGS can still hurt him? Then again, he’s also able to jump while wearing it. Maybe it’s just for show. What’s weird is that NONE of the box art shows Kuros looking anything like he does in the game, but instead some scantily clad Conan rip-off.

In fact, the box art for Ironsword features none other than Fabio. Let’s hope there aren’t any geese in the game!

The first W&W game is featured in the Captain N cartoon, with the episode “Nightmare on Mother Brain’s Street” involving Captain N and Simon Belmont having to fight their way through this world (which, for some reason, is referred to as Excalibur rather than Elrond; maybe Scientologist writer Jeffrey Scott didn’t want to reference a kingdom with a name so close to that of his lord and master) to rescue Princess Lana from Castle Ironspire.

Malkil appears as a temporary ally to Mother Brain, but Kuros is nowhere to be seen. That’s pretty typical for this show, though; the N Team tends to take the place of the usual heroes (although a few of these heroes are ON the N Team). If you want to see a cartoon Kuros (and who wouldn’t? ;)), you have to turn to The Power Team, a sort of Captain N knock-off that used characters from Acclaim games.

I can only remember ever seeing one episode of this, but Kuros was obviously based on the box art rather than his in-game appearance, and general consensus is that his personality totally aped He-Man’s.

There’s an intriguing flashback panel in the infrequently updated web comic Captain SNES that shows the Power Team Kuros coming face to face with the actual game sprite, but I have no idea whether we’ll get an explanation for this.

For your reference (and mine, since I’ll probably want to find these again at some point), the Captain SNES comics in which these panels originally appeared are 289 and 322. I’d definitely recommend the comic to anyone who remembers Captain N and/or the Power Team. There’s a lot of Chrono Trigger in it as well.

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7 Responses to Kudos for Kuros

  1. vilajunkie says:

    Speaking of annoying music, the music when your monsters’ health gets low in Pokemon is extremely annoying too. I wouldn’t even call it music–just an incessant beeping over the battle music. Well, it does work to get your attention to heal your monsters so you don’t have to listen to the music anymore. :P

    • Nathan says:

      Yeah, that’s pretty bad, too. But at least you can take ailing Pokémon out of the battle, while that option doesn’t exist with Kuros.

      • vilajunkie says:

        I don’t think I would have done very well with Kuros’ game. I was horrible at the early video games where you’re health was maybe five hearts. I much prefer the higher health levels of current video games, especially RPGs. You’re less likely to die in two hits.

      • Nathan says:

        Apparently Wizards & Warriors 2 is really hard, but I’m not sure whether it has the low health music. But yeah, I also like it when your character starts out a little stronger, because if you can’t even get past the beginning, who’s going to want to play the rest of the game?

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