Rare developed several Nintendo Entertainment System games, but only a handful have that certain signature charm that has become synonymous with the English company. Wizards & Warriors, however, has quality written all over it–not to mention also one of David Wise’s best scores to date.

In Japan, the game was published by Jaleco and renamed Densetsu no Kishi – Elrond.

(Image source: Yahoo! Japan Auctions)

Game preservationist Chris Covell bought this Family Computer prototype of the Japanese Wizards & Warriors on Yahoo! Japan Auctions back in July 2011 for 8,000 yen (around $104). The game was called The Tale – Elrond no Eiyuu at the time of this build. I was asked to check for differences between the two versions. Here’s what I found.

(Image source: Yahoo! Japan Auctions)

First, let’s start with probably the most interesting difference.

Boots of Force (Prototype):

Boots of Force (Japanese Release):

The Boots of Force in the prototype match the sprite used in the North American game, which most likely means that the Family Computer version came later. I’m not sure why they decided to make this change, but I have to admit, I am digging the newer boots.

Now to the title screens.


Japanese Release:

As you can see, the prototype is dated 1987, one year before the Japanese release.


Japanese Release:

The copyright was removed from the released version, and the suit of armor on Kuros was darkened. There is less greenery in the background as well.

High Score List (Prototype):

High Score List (Japanese Release):

Note the darker grass and copyright placement changes. “PP” remains number one in the high scores. A urine joke goes here.

Moving right along.

Game Over (Prototype):

Game Over (Japanese Release):

The HUD doesn’t go away after you get the Game Over screen. If you notice, too, the “L” in EVIL appears slightly deflated.

Well Done Screen (Prototype):

Well Done (Japanese Release):

Kuros doesn’t come off as looking very sure of himself  in the prototype, as his leg is seen raised up in the air when he rescues a damsel in distress. The released version ends his final animation sequence with both feet squarely on the ground.

Ending (Prototype):

Ending (Japanese Release):

The prototype shows off the HUD, even after you have beaten the game.

The End (Prototype):

The End (Japanese Release):

“My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, / And true plain hearts do in the faces rest…” -John Donne

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