Title : Archon
Publisher : Activision
Genre : Strategy
Release Date : 1989
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $4-$7
I'll admit it. I was a member of the Chess Club in Junior High School. I didn't care if that stamped a giant NERD label on my forehead. I loved chess. The strategy, the thought process involved, and the utter satisfaction in defeating your opponent. Now being an uber nerd throughout my youth, I was of course obsessed with the fantasy element. Dragons, Wizards, Knights. You name it, I loved it.
Combine the two? You've got yourself a winner, and by far one of my favorite games on the NES.
I was first introduced to this game over at my friend Mike M's house back in elementary school. It was one of the few games that he had for the NES, but it was one we always had to play. There was a period of a few weeks where I would make my way to his house after school JUST so we can play this game. Take the chess concept, but add an action combat style element to it and we were addicted To kick things up a notch, you can't just take each others pieces. No, you've gotta battle for it.
I give you, ARCHON!
There's two sides. Light and Dark. Both have the same pieces in terms of general abilities, but their appearance coincide with whether or not you're dark or light. Light side has basically normal human warriors, while dark side has goblins or something. I was always the Light side when I was a kid, so of course I picked the light side now. Even now, I always have to follow the path of the righteous.....I really need to turn to the dark side...more fun I hear.
Each piece has similar moves to chess pieces. Similar...but then you've got ones that fly around all over the place or teleport. You've got Pawns, Bishops, Knights, Rooks, etc. BUT here comes the major, and incredibly awesome twist. When you approach your opponents piece in order to take it, the screen changes and here comes the kicker. BATTLE MODE!!!
That's right. You have to defeat your opponent in battle in order to claim the piece. What's great about this, is that you can have a very powerful piece off against a weaker piece (in this case its a bishop against a pawn), but the pawn still has a fighting chance! Come on, tell me that isn't awesome.
Of course it's pretty difficult for lower level pieces to beat higher level pieces. The higher level pieces have more abilities and more health and generally kick arse, but it's not impossible. What's great is getting that victory over a higher level piece. It totally throws the opponents strategy out of whack.
The catch is that after the battle, you stay at the health you were left at. As you can see here, my wizard is being chased by a goblin but my wizard is dangerously low at health because I just defeated the sorceress in an epic battle.
Pieces also have moves outside the battle screen. Some can revive dead pieces, others can teleport across the entire board. I mean it's some classic fighting elements with chess strategy. You can't beat this.
Now I'm not saying this game is perfect. it's not. The combat scenes can be awkward, and its all about who can get the hits in first. But that's not to say it isn't fun, because it is. Graphically, it isn't spectacular and the pieces in both the combat screen and the board are very simplistic.
Regardless, this game remains one of my favorites and holds a very special place in my very nerdy heart.
Final Score (out of 5) :
Until next time. Keep on gaming!