Usually I tend to stay away from 8-bit movie games because they for the most part tend to suck major amounts of cheese. While Willow the movie pretty much bites donkey balls on so many levels it's not even funny, Willow the NES game does a pretty good job of managing to make itself a decent Zelda clone.
The game loosely follows the movie for the most part, you're a midget from a village of midgets that aren't allowed to be called Hobbits because of copyright restrictions, you have to kill somebody who looks suspiciously like the evil witch in Snow White and the seven dwarves, rescue a baby, and save the world, all by yourself. At least she wears the same head-thing, like an evil nun or something. You do this by walking around in an overworld map killing random monsters who are doing nothing less than minding their own business.
The game has very good graphics for the most part. Everything is still and tranquil until a monster shows up when the whole landscape starts animating all dramatically like the wind's blowing. Your little midget actually looks like the guy from the movie (except in cut scenes when he suddenly gets very anime-lookin,') he animates good and has two different sword strokes, something Zelda would actually rip off a few years later. Like Zelda you collect numerous items, weapons, keys, and have to go through castles, dungeons, mazes, etc, and they are all designed well and manage to keep you interested.
The story takes some liberties from the movie (actually improving upon it somewhat) however the supporting characters are underutilized. You have to kill all the bad guys and at the end Mad Martigan gets the girl. What kind of crap is that? It would have been cool to play as Mad Martigan like the arcade version for a little bit too but sadly this never happens. The game also has a tendency to go into 8-bit item collecting overload, where you collect items that either have no use or only use a few times. Good game design necessitates cutting out superfluous baloney like a necklace that just takes up space or magical/power up items that do essentially the same thing.
I would recommend this game to any fans of Zelda (as it's actually better than the original Zelda in many gameplay respects.) In fact later editions of Zelda owe a lot to this game's control and design. A very solid overhead adventure.
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