Rygar: Legendary Warrior is a side-scrolling action game from Tecmo, featuring an unnamed warrior with a Diskarmor that sets out to defeat the eponymous warlord Ligar (Rygar) in order to save his homeland from destruction.
The arcade game was released in Japan on 20th May 1986 titled Argus no Senshi (Warrior of Argus), then subsequently released worldwide as Rygar: Legendary Warrior. The worldwide release renamed the unnamed hero warrior in the Japanese version to Rygar.
The game received a handful of home system conversions including the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, Atari Lynx and ZX Spectrum.
The NES game was released in 1987 however, unlike other arcade to NES ports such as Strider and Bionic Commando, which attempt to faithfully convert the gameplay of the original arcade, Rygar on the NES was a completely different action-adventure game with an open world to explore.
Rygar was rebooted for the PS2 with Rygar: The Legendary Adventure in 2002 as a 3D action-adventure game and ported to the Nintendo Wii as Rygar: The Battle of Argus in 2008.
The original arcade version has been included in various collections including the Tecmo Classic Arcade collection released for the Xbox in 2005, the Wii's Virtual Console in 2009, Hamster's Arcade Archives on PS4 in 2014, and the Nintendo Switch Online Service in 2020.
In the arcade versions of Rygar (Legendary Warrior & Argus no Senshi) feature a series of 27 levels (called rounds) the player must move through while battling an onslaught of monsters. At the end of round 27 Rygar must fight and defeat Ligar, after which the game presents a short, celebratory sequence and ends.
The player is armed with a Diskarmor weapon that is attached to the character's wrist by a chain. The character's abilities and weapon can be upgraded by picking up upgrades tokens (called shields) that drop from the sky after destroying a certain number of enemies. All upgrades are lost when the player dies but can be regained.
Upgrades include the length of the weapon (Star Shield), the power of the weapon (crown shield), the vertical thrust of the weapon (sun shield), the ability to destroy monsters when you jump on them (Lepard shield) and temporary invulnerability (cross shield).
The game is notable in that despite having a time limit, the game does not automatically end when the timer expires. Instead, a demonic monster (head) appears and will loop through the screen from left to right in a sine wave pattern, gaining speed on each loop until it is impossible to dodge without dying if you do not exit the level. This game mechanic makes it possible to stick around and leech additional points if you are willing to risk dodging the death head's increasing speed before you exit.
There are many hidden secrets in the arcade version of Rygar including a 1 million point bonus in round 13 that is shot-out from the top of the screen, a 10k bonus (every round) if you match the digit in the 'seconds' position on the timer to the 'hundreds digit' in your score and 'hold diagonally down to the left' with the joystick as you pass the cauldron entering the end of level bonus room, a 70k bonus for every 7 stars you pick up, and a random Question Mark hidden in tombstones that you can shoot to change to different rewards, the final variation being the temporary invulnerability shield upgrade.
There are slight differences in the Japnaese and Worldwide releases of the Rygar arcade game. The enemy move slightly slower in the Japanese release and an additional extra life is awarded in a hidden 'tombstone' in round 14.