Capcom has become one of Nintendo’s closest allies and supportive partners. It’s newest Game Pak, Trojan, marks the fourth title to come out in the past several months. If they keep this rate up, they’ll soon have more games available for the NES than Nintendo does! So far they’ve been doing a fantastic job of porting over arcade games to the home gaming market, and Trojan is no different.
Once again, Capcom touts this new Game Pak as being part of its Captain Commando “Challenge Series”, part of its exclusive family computer games. Fun fact: Family Computer is what the NES is called in Japan (Famicom for short). In fact, the diagram for the controller used in the instruction manual is actually a Famicom one, which isn’t a big deal since they’re nearly identical.
Trojan is loosely based off of Greek mythology and your character is a Trojan warrior who must defeat the evil Kings across several stages. His number one enemy is Achilles, but it will take some major skill to make it to him in one piece. The only strange thing is that the game appears to be set in modern times, with a cityscape in the background, garage doors, and even manholes on the streets.
Luckily your character is outfitted with both a sword and a shield. Most enemies just take one swipe to dispatch with your sword, but of course the bosses at the end of each stage will require multiple hits and strategic maneuvers to defeat. One of the coolest features of the game is in fact your shield. Pressing A will allow you to hold the shield and then pressing the directional pad at the same time moves the shield. This becomes essential throughout the stages, as enemies will shoot at you with arrows and other projectiles from almost every direction. Being able to successfully block incoming attacks is essential to staying alive. In other words, staying on the defensive is just as important as taking out the hordes of enemies.
Capcom has sprinkled in secrets and power-ups throughout each area for you to locate. Try jumping around and slashing the environment to find these hidden items, especially when you enter the underground sewers and rooms. You will find special power-ups that actually increase your sword’s attack and these can be chained together by finding another one to boost your attack power even more. Other enhancements include the ability to speed up your character’s walking speed, recovery of your health, and even a super-jump that allows your warrior to reach higher areas of the level.
As you venture further into Trojan, one thing that instantly becomes noticeable is the wide range of locales and detailed graphics. The courses all look good and the color scheme used in the game fits perfectly. Your main character doesn’t really look like a warrior, and his animation is a little stiff, but the game has solid presentation. Like many of Capcom games, there is some flicker present on the screen when too many enemies and projectiles appear, but it’s minimal and not nearly as prevalent as Ghosts ‘n Goblins. The end bosses all have unique animations and are a bit more detailed than the standard enemy fair.
I’ve come to realize that the NES has the capability of creating some pretty amazing music. Games like Gradius, Super Mario Bros., and the aforementioned Ghosts ‘n Goblins feature catchy tunes and solid sound effects. Trojan’s soundtrack really didn’t grab me in any meaningful way. It’s not horrible by any means, but it’s also not memorable.
Like most of Capcom’s stable of games on the NES, Trojan does have a difficulty curve. It’s not quite as brutal as Ghosts ‘n Goblins, but it’s still challenging, especially for newcomers. It’s one of those games that require multiple tries to get the hang of the controls and to properly learn how to use the shield. So many games focus on the player being offensive that it takes time to remember to use the shield as much as possible.
The game does feature a couple ways to incorporate a second player. The first is the traditional alternating play style, where one player waits while the other plays. Capcom has also included Versus Mode, which pits player against player to the death. This definitely adds some replay value to the game, and although somewhat simplistic can be fun with the right group of friends.
Trojan is one of the better efforts on the NES so far. The game looks good and features innovative gameplay that requires the player to defend as much as he attacks. The control scheme will take a little getting used to, especially having to “press UP” on the control pad to jump. I appreciate the five degrees of shield movement (right, upper right, up, upper left, left) and this gameplay mechanic alone sets the game apart from anything else I’ve played. It’s not a perfect game, but what’s here is solid action. Once you become familiar with the controls and have had some time with the game, it does become a rather short and easy experience, but totally worth your $30.
- Graphics - 7.5/107.5/10
- Sound - 6.5/106.5/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
If you’re looking for a new action game that combines defensive maneuvers with sword wielding attacks, then Trojan will fit the bill nicely. It features detailed graphics and even a two-player simultaneous mode that pits you against a friend to the death.