Archon (NES)

Game description

Archon is a game released by Free Fall Associates and published by Activision in 1989. It is a port of Archon: The Light and the Dark, originally released on the Commodore 64 and the Apple II by Electronic Arts.

Archon is set on a board where the force of light and dark fight each other. The goal is to eliminate the opposing side or occupy the five powers points.

The instruction manual state that the two forces, Light and Dark, are in an eternal struggle for domination. The wizard is leading the light while the sorceress is leading the dark. Legendary heroes and mythical beasts of incredible power fight each other endlessly. When on a square that match their side, they will get extra power, but the opposite is true if they step on a square that does not belong to their side.

Archon is a unique blend of chess-like strategy and action sequence. When you first begin the game, every character place themselves on the starting square. The player each take a turn to move their unit. If two units cross the same square, the game will go in action mode. The two units will fight in various arenas until one of them is defeated. Each type of unit has strength in weakness and strategy is a must to keep the stronger one alive as long as possible.

As said previously, the Light side is controlled by the wizard. His unit is Unicorn, Archer, Golem, Valkyrie, Djinni (a wind elemental), Phoenix and Knight.

The sorceress, on the other hand, has Basilisk, Manticore, Troll, Shapeshifter, Dragon, Banshee and Goblin.

The Phoenix has the unique ability to engulf in fire, hurting anything around it. The Shapeshifter, other hand, will morph into the character it is facing, making it effectively a mirror match. All other unit share the same stats as their equivalent of the other side.

In addition to being the king and queen or their side, the Wizard and the Sorceress are able to cast spells:

  • Teleport: Teleport a unit that belong to the caster on any not occupied square
  • Heal: Fully heal a chosen unit that belong to the caster
  • Shift time: Reverse the color-shifting pattern of the five powers square, which can be either advantageous in specific circumstance
  • Exchange: Switch a unit that belong to the caster with any other unit’s spot, including the opposing side
  • Summon Elemental: Create either an earth, air, fire or water elemental on the spot of an opposing unit. Regardless of the outcome, the elemental will vanish after the fight.
  • Revive: Revive any fallen unit on the caster side. A square around the caster must be clear to place the unit there.
  • Imprison: Block any move of a chosen opposing unit by the caster. It will be blocked until the colour change.

Despite its simplicity, the game allows players to use a wide variety of strategy to have the edge of the game. The addition of spell adds a deep of complexity as well.

Archon playthrough

The play through is done on the USA version of Archon. The goal is to beat the computer player in the game. There is only one difficulty level. The Light side is played against the Dark side, but both teams are very similar outside of graphical difference and the function of two units (The Phoenix and the Shapeshifter).

TASing tools were used to offer a high quality playthrough.

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