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Acclaim returns with the third and final installment of the NES trilogy, and the direct sequel to IronSword (though it should be noted that Wizards & Warriors X also follows the events of IronSword. Hmm.).
After defeating the evil wizard Malkil on IceFire Mountain, Kuros is struck by a bolt of magic, losing his armor, his dignity, and his memory. The spirit of Malkil heads for the nearby city of Piedup, and siezes the throne from Good King James.
Unlike previous Wizards & Warriors entries, Wizards & Warriors III is extremely non-linear, requiring players to explore plenty more, and often without much direction (Metroid fans, are you listening?). This game is also notable in the series as Kuros is not only tied to being a Knight. Through a series of guild challenges, Kuros can also become a Wizard himself, or a Thief, each having their own clothing, weapons, and abilities.
Can Kuros overcome all odds to finally rid the land of Malkil?
hjort's very basic Wizards & Warriors III: Kuros: Visions of Power walkthrough
Please note: This is mostly just a translation of my private cliff notes from my playthrough of the game, and is not intended to be a complete walkthrough. My directions may be quite vague at times, especially when it comes to the cavern areas, so please bear this in mind. Also please be aware that I have omitted certain pieces of treasure and certain characters from the walkthrough, since they, to the best of my knowledge, don't have any effect on the outcome of the game.
Part A: General exploration tips
The first step to beating the game is understanding the game's layout. The game world consists of three main areas:
- The Castle - The Town - The Underground
Each of these three areas is divided into three colour coded sections to help you keep track of where you are. The respective sections look something like this:
Blue/Yellow walls (top) Red walls (middle) Gray walls (bottom)
Green buildings (top) Pink buildings (middle) Yellow buildings (bottom)
Orange caverns (top) Green caverns (middle) Purple caverns (bottom)
The three main areas are populated by different types of people and creatures, and the different people do not get along, so in order to minimize fighting and to traverse the different areas safely, try to be dressed appropriately wheverer you go. Dress as a knight in the castle, as a thief in town, and as a wizard in the underground. You will still find yourself under attack if you pick a fight with someone though, so keep that in mind as well.
Part B: General boss fight tips
Most of the bosses you will face are guardians that act as the final test in their respective guild challenges. The best way of dealing with most of these is to be patient, and initially just hang back to learn their movement patterns, so you know when to run up to them for a couple of quick hits, and then hang back again. Rinse and repeat. Since the sword fighting in this game is kind of slow and clunky, I recommend crouching down and stabbing with the sword for a quick succession of attacks, instead of swinging it wildly at the target.
The Wizard Guild bosses are a bit different in the sense that you don't really need to hang back at all, but can just go up to them and do your crouchy-stabby move straight from the start. There should be a perfect distance from the boss where your stabs will hit them, but they won't manage to reach you, and any projectiles they throw will fly straight over your crouching self. Experiment for a bit and you should find the sweet spot quickly.
Part C: Walkthrough
1. Gather some money by collecting treasure items around the lowest part of town. Collect at least 180 gold. 2. Climb up to the tavern (yellow house with open door to the left of town) and buy at least two keys. 3. Enter the leftmost house on ground level, and collect the Bronze Thief Statue. 4. Go to the first house to the right of the log cabin on ground level, and beat the Bronze Thief Guild Challenge. 5. Buy a load of keys from the tavern with the 1000 gold you earned by beating the challenge. 6. Go down into the underground through the log cabin on ground level. Go in dressed as a thief in order to avoid fighting the guard. 7. In the orange cavern, go down and to the right to find a door with the Bronze Wizard Statue inside. Take it. 8. The left door inside the orange cavern leads to the Bronze Wizard Guild Challenge. 9. Go back to town, and climb upwards until you spot a ledge with a beehive on it among the pink houses. 10. Shoot down the beehive using your wizard's staff. Just hold B and push in the direction of the beehive. 11. With the beehive out of the way, keep climbing until you reach a large, green building at the very top. This leads to the castle wall. 12. Take the first door you see to enter the castle interior, and then enter the red door to the right to retrieve the Bronze Knight Statue. 13. Go back out into the interior hall, and go two red doors to the left to reach the Bronze Knight Guild Challenge (the middle door is a tavern). 14. After beating the challenge, go back out into the hall and climb upwards until you reach a hall with green/yellow/red background. 15. Enter the large door in this area to come back out on the castle wall, but this time on the red wall section. 16. Go left, jumping up on the wall when needed, until you reach a red door. Beat the axe man inside to get the Silver Knight Statue. 17. Back out on the red wall section, go as far as you can to the right, and jump off the wall to fall back down into town. 18. Find the log cabin at about middle height that has a pink demon inside. As a knight, beat the demon to retrieve the Silver Thief Statue. 19. Go back up to the castle and the red wall section, and jump off the edge to the right again, but this time reach the blue tower on the far right. 20. Go down through the tower and emerge in the town. The green building directly to your right has the Silver Thief Guild Challenge inside. 21. Go back down to the pink house where the beehive used to sit, and break into the window using your new, fancy crowbar. 22. Agree to marry Princess Julia, who is trapped inside, and you'll get one of the four crown jewels. 23. Go back down to the underground, and use your sword to kill the green, glowy, slimey, ghosty thing blocking your way in the orange cavern. 24. Go down a level to the green cavern, and find a door to the left leading to a grey hallway with craters in it. Kill the worm boss inside as a wizard. 25. Take the Silver Wizard Statue from the room to the left the worm was guarding, and go back out into the green section.
26. A door to the right will lead into a small, purple room with diamonds and spiders. Go back out to find yourself in a new, green cavern. 27. The Silver Wizard Guild Challenge is in a door to the right in this cavern. Beat the challenge to get the ability to pass through energy fields. 28. Go back to town, and climb almost all the way up to the top. A pink building with a cracked wall and three windows can be broken into as a thief. 29. Inside is another demon boss. Whack him with your crowbar and take the Gold Thief Statue in the next room. 30. Go up top to the green building leading to the castle again, but instead of entering the building, go to its left and find a glowing waterfall. 31. As a level 2 wizard, use your magic to pass through the waterfall's energy field, and reach a new green building. This too leads to the castle. 32. You've reached a castle tower. Enter the door at the top and beat the Silver Knight Guild Challenge inside to get a pretty nifty axe. 33. Go back to very top of town, and head right until you see a glowing dude on a ledge next to a green house. Throw your axe at him. 34. Enter the house he was guarding and beat the final, Gold Thief Guild Challenge to get a skeleton key. 35. Head back down to the underground, and the green caverns that held the gray room with the worm boss. 36. Below this green cavern is a purple cavern. In this place you can enter a door to find a second worm boss room, now featuring two worms.
37. Beat the bosses using the same tactic as before, and take the Gold Wizard Statue. 38. From the entrance to the underground, in the orange section, take the left passage down, using the pink stairs to reach the green cavern. 39. Follow the turqoise stairs in this section to reach the purple caverns. Open the door with the keyhole here, using the skeleton key. 40. Inside is the final, Gold Wizard Guild Challenge, beat it to gain the handy ability to levitate. 41. After leaving the guild, levitate up the turqoise passage and enter the secret passage as a thief the end. You're now back in town.
42. Go up to the castle, and start levitating by the castle wall. When you spot a yellow window to your left, break into it as the thief. 43. Beat a second axe man in the door inside, and take the Gold Knight Statue. 44. Go back out to the wall, and start levitating again, past the red wall section until you reach the blue/yellow top section. 45. Up here are three towers. Enter the top of the leftmost tower to find the final, Gold Knight Guild Challenge. 46. After beating the challenge, go two towers to the right and save the second princess to get another crown jewel. 47. Now head back down into the underground, and the rightmost green cavern area. Levitate up to a locked door on the far right. 48. Rescue the third princess who is held inside, and then go down into the passage under the door to reach the purple caverns. 49. Unlock the rightmost door using your thief skills, and enter. This is the final stretch of the game right here. 50. To the right you'll find a huge gate with four, crown jewel shaped indentations nearby. Place the ones you have if you like, and then climb upwards. 51. Levitate up from here, into the darkness, and you'll encounter a three-headed dragon boss. Beat it for the last jewel. 52. Fall back down, unlock the jewel gate and prepare to traverse a long and uneventful passage going through all the three main areas of the game. 53. Beat Malkil.
I've only played this one, and never the first two, so I don't know how this compares to them, but I would say the controls are kind of wonky. You walk around kind of sluggishly, the sense of inertia when jumping can be a bit unpredictable, and using the sword is less responsive than I'd like it to be.
The exploration is...there, but it's not very rewarding, IMO. It's mostly a matter of blindly roaming around and performing trial-and-error experiments here and there until you realize what you need to do. I mean, when you come across a green, Slimer-from-Ghostbusters-looking thing that just sits in your way, you won't instinctively know exactly what needs to be done about it -- not even when you manage to gain the ability that lets you pass. It's not exactly Metroid!
For all the bad stuff I bring up, I have to say I kind of like the game anyway. I gave it a 7 in the database after all. The drawbacks the game has would have been easier to overlook if you had some way of picking up where you left off, so they wouldn't feel like they directly contribute to your screwing up and/or having to start all over again.
The game's got a few nice David Wise tunes too. Not his best, but pretty enjoyable.
EDIT: Not sure if the video starts where I want it to, but I wanted to share the Wizard's theme starting at 9 minutes 5 seconds.
@r_hjort The first one is a classic. Play it! Awesome soundtrack too. David Wise might be best known for DKC but he did a great job here as well.
The second one was pretty cool too. Actually the second one is a very influential game for me. The way it had some really neat environmental progression within stages stuck with me over the years. For instance, in one stage you start on a mountain you climb up and give a bird something to have it take you up into a world in the clouds all within the same stage... so awesome. I am doing a very similar with a mountain to cloud world transition in my game, minus the bird bringing you up, so yeah... definitely influenced me in a very precise way. I never did finish it though. At the end you have to fight four bosses in a row and it is toughhhhhhhh.
It did introduce a few of the "how on Earth would I have known I was supposed to do that?!" progression elements in too though. And back then I didn't have the Internet to find answers instantly so I forget how I figured that stuff out... Nintendo Power maybe?!
And then they ran with that. I remember playing the third one and thinking it was a very confusing and convoluted mess...
@Zero I've got both W&W and Ironsword on my list of games I want to pick up, and I think I'd enjoy the first one a bit more than the second, 'cause it seems a bit arcadier (if that's a word) than the other two, and I'm kind of in the mood for that sort of thing these days.
Ironsword is interesting to me as well though, 'cause I remember a lot of people playing it back in the day, and the Nintendo themed magazines were full of people asking questions about it, so I've grown to see it as a bit of NES history that I need to experience. Don't like the sound of that boss rush though, at least not if the game controls similarly to the third game.
@r_hjort That's a very... complicated question to answer. I'm either very happy with it or very angry with it depending on what is happening AT THE VERY MOMENT and how confident I feel in myself and blah blah blah. Right now I'm in a weird mind space so my mind leans more towards the negative but a lot of that has to do with life things not really related to the game itself, yet take time and energy which affect working on the game. So it sort of feels like a big ugly mess that will definitely be finished someday but will be hard to polish and make great. But then other days I feel more confident in my ability to polish it.
But it's definitely coming along. I'm still pretty much at it many, many hours a week.
@Zero Sounds a bit like me and my music making, except for the fact that you actually do stuff. Like many wise and creative people have told me repeatedly, the important thing is that you keep going. Never stop creating, Zero. Put those hours in and you'll be happy with the outcome in time.
I always forget that this game exists. I played the shit out of the original W&W, though. The main theme is one of my very favorite pieces of gaming music. Like, first level of Ghosts'n'Goblins caliber.
I should try out W&WIII. I think I've played Ironsword, but I can't remember.
This game is kinda like the proto-Dark Souls, but with wonky controls. No idea where to go, no idea what to do, super easy to die because the game has no mercy lol (at least I remember the first game being super hard).
I want to play it though, love the art and music and the world design is really creative and interesting.
I should try this one out. I absolutely loved the first W&W and like others have stated, its soundtrack is unforgettable. I haven't played it in over fifteen years but I can still remember the music when you're in the woods. I can even remember the redudant tune when your health is low.
The first game is the only one I like because of the infinite continues, otherwise it would have the same issues as its sequels of being too brutal and having wonky controls and hit detection. If they had only followed that philosophy of forgiveness with all the games, this series could've been something more than an obscure footnote in NES history...
@Mr_Mustache Well, I'm sure I didn't own it, and the NES rental place/pharmaceutical shop (Phar-mor!) didn't have the covers. As far as I knew, every single game I didn't own had a bright orange box with the title printed on the spine.
Hey, do you guys remember how each game's instructions/tips were compressed to fit on a portion of a rental box's cover? I wonder who did those summaries...