The Guardian Legend

The Guardian Legend

Infobox VG
title=The Guardian Legend

caption=North American boxart
designer=Masamitsu "Moo" Niitani (director)
Jemini Hirono (program and effect)
Pochi Nakamori (map maker)
Janus Teramoto (graphics)
Wao Isee (password)
composer=Masatomo "Miyamo" Miyamoto
Takeshi "Shant" Santo
released=vgrelease|Japan|JP=Start date|1988|2|5|NA=April vgy|1989|EU=vgy|1990
genre=Action-adventure game, scrolling shooter
modes=Single player
platforms=Nintendo Entertainment System
media=1-megabit cartridge
input= Gamepad

nihongo|"The Guardian Legend"|ガーディック外伝|Gādikku Gaiden|"Guardic Gaiden" is a hybrid action-adventure/shoot 'em up video game developed by Compile for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It is the sequel to the vgy|1986 MSX game "Guardic", and was published and released in Japan by Irem in vgy|1988, in North America by Brøderbund in vgy|1989, and in Europe by Nintendo in vgy|1990.

The game follows a lone protagonist, The Guardian, in her quest to stop an alien-infested space station before it reaches the planet Earth. The Guardian must destroy the space station by activating ten safety devices scattered throughout the station and then engaging its self–destruct sequence. The player, assuming the role of The Guardian, is able to explore the station in a non–linear fashion to find these safety devices and thus save Earth. Different weapons can be acquired during the course of the game to combat the hostile aliens who inhabit the space station.

"The Guardian Legend" received mixed reviews from magazines such as "Electronic Gaming Monthly" and "Nintendo Power". While it has been praised for its impressive graphics, memorable sound, and responsive controls, it has been criticized for its repetitive gameplay and complicated password system. Though the game received little fanfare upon its initial release, it has since been renowned as a classic example of a multiple-genre game,Citation| last = Thomas|first = Lucas M.|title = 'Sigma Star' Combines RPG, Shoot-Em'-Up Action |newspaper = The Evansville Courier |pages = D11.|year = 2005|date = 2005-08-18 |accessdate= 2008-06-25] setting a standard for other games with multiple gameplay elements such as "Xexyz", "ActRaiser", and "Sigma Star Saga" to follow. It is also one of the few games on the NES to feature a female as the protagonist.cite web |last=de Gruyl |first=Devin |title=Retro–Active: "The Guardian Legend" |publisher=Way of the Geek |date=2008-06-20 |accessdate=2008-07-17 |url=]


In "The Guardian Legend", the player takes control of the female guardian of Earth, a "highly sophisticated aerobot transformer."#tag:ref|Although her name is never stated in "The Guardian Legend", she is given a nickname (nihongo2|ミリア Miria) and described as a "System D.P." cyborg in "Guardic Gaiden"."Guardic Gaiden" Instruction Manual, p. 9. "「システムD.P.」(愛称ミリア)地球外のノウホウで造られた女性戦士。彼女自身がこのプロジェクトなのだ。 ["System D.P." (nickname Miria), female warrior built with extraterrestrial know-how. This mission is hers alone.] "] |group="note" The player's mission is to infiltrate Naju, a planet-like space station which aliens sent hurtling towards the Earth. While inside, the player must activate ten safety devices linked to Naju's self-destruct mechanism to initialize it and destroy Naju before the station reaches Earth. However, five hostile tribes of alien lifeforms are vying for control of territories within Naju"Guardic Gaiden" Instruction Manual, p. 13. "この惑星では5つの種族がなわばり争いをしているのだ。 [5 tribes are warring over territory on this planet.] "] and the player must fight through them to successfully activate the switches and escape. [Instruction Manual, pp. 3, 6.] The story is further advanced through a series of messages left by one or more unidentified predecessor(s) who unsuccessfully attempted to engage the self-destruct mechanism of Naju before The Guardian arrived. [cite video game| title = The Guardian Legend| developer = Compile| publisher = Brøderbund| date = April vgy|1989| platform = Nintendo Entertainment System| version = NES-GD-USA| language = English| isolang = | quote = Dialog box: I am going to try to activate the self-destruct device. If I fail, I would like you to do this task so this cannot happen to any other race. [...] I hope this message will not be read by will mean that I have failed.] The first message was left by the sole remaining survivor of the attack on Naju [cite video game| title = The Guardian Legend| developer = Compile| publisher = Brøderbund| date = April vgy|1989| platform = Nintendo Entertainment System| version = NES-GD-USA| language = English| isolang = | quote = Dialog box: This star "NAJU" was our home, but we were invaded by evil life-forms. Everyone except me was killed.] and serves as an introduction; later messages give hints aiding the player in opening locked corridors.

Gameplay varies depending on the player's location within Naju. The player controls The Guardian in humanoid form when exploring the surface of Naju (the Labyrinth) and in spaceship form when investigating Naju's interior (the Dungeon).Instruction Manual, p. 10.] In each case, the player has a life meter which is depleted by enemy attacks and can be replenished by picking up one of several items. When the life meter is exhausted, The Guardian explodes, and the game ends.Instruction Manual, p. 7.] The player can use two types of weapons; these include the primary rapid-fire weapon with unlimited ammunition and various powerful secondary weapons that consume "power chips" with each use.Instruction Manual, p. 6.] Power chips are also used as currency to purchase upgrades for the guardian in a handful of shops scattered throughout Naju. These upgrades, which can also be found within the Labyrinth or obtained after defeat of a boss, include primary weapon improvements, new or upgraded secondary weapons, and round, brightly colored creatures called Landers.The original Japanese name for these creatures can also be approximated as nihongo|" Lander"|ランダー|Randā.] Blue and Red Landers, which are recurring characters in many Compile games, increase the player's maximum life and power chip capacities, respectively. [Instruction Manual, pp. 6, 10-13.]

Blue Landers in particular have multiple roles in "The Guardian Legend". Some Blue Landers are not items but rather non-player characters that dispense advice to the player or offer to exchange upgrades for power chips. Others can provide a password that allows the player to resume the game later with progress retained. The game has one of the longest password systems found on the NES at 32 characters long, and each password utilizes upper- and lower-case letters as well as numbers. These Blue Landers also serve as checkpoints; players can restart their game in these designated rooms after being defeated as long as the system is not turned off.

Action-Adventure (The Labyrinth)

The Labyrinth is the action-adventure portion of "The Guardian Legend", in which the player, in humanoid form, explores the surface of Naju in a top-down perspective. The player must search the Labyrinth to find and infiltrate the corridors and ultimately activate Naju's ten safety devices. The Labyrinth consists of screen-wide passages and rooms [Instruction Manual, p. 4.] individually plotted as X-Y coordinates. A map detailing these coordinates in the form of a grid can be viewed on the pause subscreen. [Instruction Manual, p. 9.] While the player can generally walk from one screen to the next, some screens are separated by portals called "warp panels". [cite video game| title = The Guardian Legend| developer = Compile| publisher = Brøderbund| date = April vgy|1989| platform = Nintendo Entertainment System| version = NES-GD-USA| language = English| isolang = | quote = Dialog box: All the rooms leading to the corridors are locked, so use the "warp panel" to get into the room. To use the "warp panel", blast through the cover. You will also need the key for the panel.] Warp panels bear a symbol indicative of their surrounding area, and the player can only access these warp panels if in possession of a key with the matching symbol. Some warp panels lead to rooms containing various clues and story elements while others are gateways to shops, password rooms, and corridors. Keys allow players to access different portions of the Labyrinth, which they can then explore in a non–linear fashion.

hoot 'Em Up (The Dungeon)

The Dungeon encompasses the shoot 'em up portion of "The Guardian Legend", in which the player, now in spaceship form, battles through Naju's interior. The Dungeon consists of a series of enemy-filled corridors which are found during exploration of the Labyrinth. [Instruction Manual, pp. 7, 10.] The player's objective in the Dungeon is to progress through each corridor and defeat the boss at the end. Upon completion, the player effectively destroys the corridor and is returned to the Labyrinth, where a power-up (and sometimes a warp panel key) can be collected as a reward. While some corridors can be accessed freely, others can only be entered by performing a particular action in the corridor room. Some rooms in the Labyrinth contain clues indicating how to unseal these corridors. Ten of the corridors in the game serve as the safety devices which must be activated to win the game.


"The Guardian Legend" was developed for the Nintendo Famicom by Compile as the sequel to the vgy|1986 MSX game "Guardic" and released as "Guardic Gaiden" in Japan by Irem in vgy|1988.cite web |url = |title = "The Guardian Legend" Information |accessdate = 2008-06-18 |publisher = GameFAQs] The director was Masamitsu "Moo" Niitani, the creator of "Zanac" and the "Puyo Puyo" series. The development team also featured many of the same staff who helped create the original "Guardic" as well as "Zanac". The box art on the cover of "Guardic Gaiden" was created by Japanese science-fiction illustrator Naoyuki Kato and depicts the guardian as a female cyborg. [cite book| last = Kato| first = Naoyuki| authorlink = Naoyuki Kato| title = SF画家 加藤直之 時空間画抄| publisher = Laputa Co., Ltd.| location = Tokyo| date = 2007| pages = 88| isbn = 978-4-947752-57-4] "The Guardian Legend" was ported to the NES and released in North America by Brøderbund in April vgy|1989. Prior to its release, it was exhibited at the vgy|1989 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it was one of the prime attractions at the Brøderbund booth along with the U-Force controller.Citation|year=March-April 1989| title=Nester's C.E.S. Report|periodical=Nintendo Power|volume=5|pages=15-18] The game was later published in Europe by Nintendo in vgy|1990.


VG Reviews
EGM = 6/10Citation| last = Harris| first = Steve| last2 = Semrad| first2 = Ed| last3 = Nauert| first3 = Donn| last4 = Allee| first4 = Jim| year=September 1989| title=Electronic Gaming Review Crew|periodical=Electronic Gaming Monthly|volume=5|pages=11]
Fam = 30/40Citation|year=November 2, 1992|title=nihongo|ASCII Mook Game Almanac 1988|ASCII Mook ゲーム年鑑 1988|publisher=ASCII Corporation|editor=Famicom Tsūshin Editing Dept.|page=92|quote=ファミ通のクロスレビュー平均点 7.50点 [Famitsū cross review average score 7.50 points] |place=Japan (see Famitsu#Scoring)]
GI = 7.75/10Citation|year=March 2008| title=Classic GI|periodical=Game Informer|volume=179|pages=114]
"The Guardian Legend" has received both praise and criticism for its innovative multiple-genre format. Shortly after the release of the game in 1989, an "Electronic Gaming Monthly" reviewer called the game a "Blaster Master" clone and "only average at best," and a second reviewer explained that the "repetitive" action-adventure gameplay detracted from the game. However, a third reviewer wrote that the action-adventure gameplay served to "elevate [the game] to a much higher level" than other shoot em' ups and also praised the game for successfully bringing together two distinct themes. Lucas Thomas of "The Evansville [Indiana] Courier & Press" favorably compared the Game Boy Advance title "Sigma Star Saga" to "The Guardian Legend", emphasizing their successful fusion of the action–adventure and shoot 'em up genres. In March vgy|2008, editors of "Game Informer" referred to the game as "the ultimate genre bender," likening it to a combination of the NES games "The Legend of Zelda", "Metroid", and "1942". While they acclaimed the game for its "exciting and challenging" shooter stages, they also criticized it for its complex world map and "outrageous" password system.

"The Guardian Legend" also received accolades from the editors of "Nintendo Power". The game made a notable appearance in September vgy|1989 as the #9 ranked game on the magazine's Top 30 NES Chart. The editors praised the game, describing the protagonist as "the ultimate transforming hero."Citation|year=September-October 1989| title=Nintendo Power Top 30|periodical=Nintendo Power|volume=8|pages=82-84] The game would remain on the chart for nearly a year.Citation|year=September-October 1990| title=Nintendo Power Top 30|periodical=Nintendo Power|volume=16|pages=22-24] The magazine's editors and staff, in recognition of its achievements, nominated the game for several awards in its first-ever "Nintendo Power Awards" for 1989, including "Best Graphics & Sound", "Best Play Control," and "Best Overall,"Citation|year=March-April 1990| title=Nintendo Power Awards '89|periodical=Nintendo Power|volume=11|pages=96-99] but the game did not win the top award in any of these categories.Citation|year=May-June 1990| title=Nintendo Power Awards '89|periodical=Nintendo Power|volume=12|pages=26-29] In addition, "Nintendo Power" published a partial walkthrough for the game in the following November 1989 issue.Citation|year=November-December 1989| title=The Guardian Legend|periodical=Nintendo Power|volume=9|pages=69-71]

The graphics and sound of "The Guardian Legend" have also been influential. Robert Dewar and Matthew Smosna of the open computing magazine "Open Systems Today" cited the game as an example of how graphics co-processors such as those in the NES can compensate for inadequate CPU speed in graphics-intensive computer applications.cite journal| last = Dewar| first = Robert B. K.| coauthors = Smosna, Matthew| title = Clearing The Fog Surrounding x86 -- Sorting Out The Many Variations Of x86 And The Many Vendors That Sell It| journal = Open Systems Today| volume = 64| issue = 111| pages = | publisher = CMP Publications, Inc.| location = Manhasset, New York| date = 1992-11-16| accessdate = 2008-06-26] They also noted that, regardless of CPU speed, the fast-paced action seen in the game could not be replicated on a personal computer at that time (1992) without an expensive graphics board. The music of the game has remained particularly popular many years after the game's release. Samantha Amjadali of the Melbourne–based newspaper "The Herald Sun" reported in 2002 that a remixed tune from the game was the second most popular track on the website OverClocked ReMix for the month of March. [Citation| last = Amjadali|first = Samantha|title = Computer Game Composers|newspaper = Sunday Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia)|pages = 80.|year = 2002|date = 2002-03-31 |accessdate= 2008-06-19] In addition, video game cover band The Advantage's 2006 album "Elf Titled" features a cover version of music from one of the game's dungeon levels.cite web| last =Theakston| first = Rob| title = Elf Titled - Overview| work = All Music Guide| publisher = All Media Guide| url =| accessdate = 2008-06-30 ]



*Cite book | publisher=Brøderbund | date=1988 | title=The Guardian Legend instruction manual | language=English | location=USA | id=NES-GD-USA
*Cite book | publisher=Irem | date=1988-01-29 | title=nihongo|Guardic Gaiden instruction manual|ガーディック外伝 取扱説明書|Gādikku Gaiden toriatsukai setsumei sho | language=Japanese | location=Hakusan, Ishikawa, Japan | id=IF 08

External links

* [ Nintendo of Europe] — the game's European publisher
* [ Irem] — the game's Japanese publisher
* [ "The Guardian Legend" remixes] at OverClocked Remix
* [ "The Guardian Legend" at RetroJunk]

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