IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II (NES) Review

By Athanasios 27.01.2018 4

Review for IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II on NES

Wizards & Warriors was a cult series of fantasy action games for the NES that, while far from highly successful, stuck around for a while, as many people actually loved them. Why? Who knows… Looking back at the original, it was nothing more than a heavily repetitive platformer, with a swordsman that couldn't really handle his sword, and all this while a constant barrage of critters never stopped coming towards him. Is the sequel, IronSword, any different? Yes… and no. Read on to learn all about it.

IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II is part of this big family of video games whose cover art was a blatant lie. No, really! Google it and what you'll see will be the sword-wielding cheap-romance-novel-cover-model Fabio in Conan the Barbarian attire, a scorched land with a volcano, and a beautiful, cloudy sky with God rays coming from within it in the distance. Corny? Sure, but it also looks cool. The problem? It pumps you up for an epic, fantasy hack 'n' slasher, when this is nothing more than an aggravating platformer.

Screenshot for IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II on NES

Once again, this fails at offering a knight worth his salt. Kuros holds a sword, but he mainly attacks by jumping towards foes and hoping the tip of his weapon will touch them, something that'll lead to a lot of frustration. In other words, like the first one in the series, this is mainly a platformer, and the enemies are mostly there to be avoided, not killed - not to mention that there's little meaning in doing so, as they come in never-ending waves.

Other than that, IronSword is actually the better game. While the original was pretty much the same from beginning to end, this actually feels like an adventure that manages to give a sense of progress, whereas Wizards & Warriors was an arcade-y platformer at heart. Furthermore, while far from a giant leap, this also looks and sounds better, with levels that are more varied, and tunes that are longer and catchier - especially the epic main theme.

Screenshot for IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II on NES

Better doesn't mean good, though, and this is far from one. For starters, while it's not as formulaic as the first, it is so too. Each world is always divided between two sections, something that goes like this: find a certain item to give to this level's animal ally to move to the second part of the chapter, and then find the spell to kill the head honcho of the world - killing it means you can now move the next level, but only after you've grabeth a piece of the lamest sword ever. Obviously, all this makes things feel quite repetitive.

Screenshot for IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II on NES

An even bigger problem, however, is the level design itself, which, like almost everything else, is a bit better, it's also far more treacherous. Yes, this is once again a tough game, but not in the right way as, instead of requiring from you to improve on your skills, it wants you to learn the game by trial-and-error. Oh, and by the way, remember the infinite continues of the original? These are infinite in here two… but for some reason they disappear near the very end, something that renders them kind of useless.

In conclusion: putting those nostalgia glasses aside, and although this somewhat smooths out some of the many rough edges of Wizards & Warriors, it hasn't really helped in improving the series, as it remains a clunky, repetitive, and annoying action-platformer. It definitely has some retro charm, but a true classic video game is one that doesn't solely rely on that - not even a cult one.

Screenshot for IronSword: Wizards & Warriors II on NES

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


IronSword: Wizards & Warriors didn't fix what was broken, and is instead content with some minor improvements, audio-visual, and gameplay-wise. In the end, though, it's the same experience all over again: an action-platfomer with little to no action, and lots of annoying platforming.






Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Haha admittedly, I am one of those young 'uns who grew up loving this game. Having never played the original, I fell for the cool and epic-looking cover. But I can't disagree with you, for the game it is quite bad.... but my nostalgic goggles are just too much for me to admit it so. 

As for why I love it? As you said... "Who knows..." I cannot explain the hold it has on me.

I never got past the fire stage, mainly because of the stupid boss (last picture in the review).

In order to beat him, you have to hit him in his (constantly moving) mouth. As with the other bosses, you can only use magic, but the spell the game gives you is really awkward and hard to hit anything with. Usually what happens is that I miss a bunch of times, run out of magic, and then that's that, game over.


Yeah, Nostalgia is sometimes stronger than gravity...
I have a couple of bad games that I'm love with myself Smilie

Can't a fella drink in peace?
Del_Duio (guest) 04.07.2018#4

A 4?! Egads!

I really liked this game a lot as a kid, probably better than the original (harmed mostly due to its unlimited continues that brought you back to life at the exact spot where you died).

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