By Gowron Van Helsing

I never knew there was a NES game of Willow, and you probably didn’t either. Don’t pretend you do, nobody thinks your cool for it. It’s one of those Pokémon / Zelda style top-down view RPG-adventure games where everybody looks like tree stumps, walks like penguins on crack, and you can walk into stranger’s houses, and the inhabitants, instead of contacting the authorities, inform you of facts such as how to get to some magical forest or how to equip items.

Seriously, if I broke into your house (wielding a longsword and magical rocks, or some similar shit BTW I’m also a midget) would you tell me how to equip the magic acorns? I thought as much. Maybe you shitheads wouldn’t need me to save you all from peril if you used some fucking sense and lock your doors, and stop handing out weapons and armour to random dwarves who enter your residence. Now that I think of it, why would regular sized people carry armour that fits midgets?

If you remember the film, Bavmorda was struck by lightning after Willow performed the old “disappearing pig trick”. I believe this game is a sequel of sorts, and Bavmorda is alive (which is never really explained) and she’s back to her usual shenanigans.

You play as the previously mentioned Willow Ufgood, who was played by Warwick Davis (The Holy Grail of midget actors, soon to be the protagonist in his own film, Agent One-Half), which fucking rules, but I must admit it occasionally feels crap when you see your character so pathetically short that a frail old man easily doubles his size, but you get used to it, and it’s a great sense of achievement defeating regular-sized enemies as a dwarf, kind of like girl power, except short power. Remember that this game is in the Pokémon style view where everybody looks like obese toddlers, and thus Willow looks depressingly short. The size of his hair is about equal to his torso, which makes him look like some kind of 80s midget Glam-rocker, though on that count I must say I’m not complaining.

The first of the foes you will encounter are bubbles. Ohhhhhh, shit no. I didn’t even know if they were enemies or power-ups until they killed me. Now I see why they gave this pathetic job to a midget during an era of knights and rogues, etc. Soon afterwards you’ll come across floating skulls, then complete skeletons, the enemies gradually becoming less shit.

Other characters like Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), apparently don’t really feel like helping this time around and Willow doesn’t really get a lot of help of them. Thanks a lot Val, no really, thanks.

But once your enemies are no longer bubbles and when you stop comparing it to the film, it’s actually a really good NES RPG. The music is great, and definitely one of the best 8-bit game soundtracks I’ve heard, right up there with Zelda. Speaking of which, it is indeed comparable in quality to Zelda, perhaps not quite as puzzling, but Willow is more fun in my opinion. If you’re into old-school RPGs, then Willow is definitely worth a play.

Available ten years ago. Try either finding the original cartridge on eBay or downloading it from an illegal ROM site, which is illegal, so don’t.

This article can be found snugly tucked away in issue 2.1.

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