Celebrate Rygar, one of the NES's forgotten innovators

Swing a mean yo-yo, kid.

The NES library accelerated and matured rapidly in 1987. After all, the console went nationwide in the U.S. (and across Europe) three years after its Japanese debut, which means the system's Western library basically got to leapfrog the clumsy early years of the Famicom and go straight to the cool stuff. Stuff like Tecmo's Rygar, which does a whole lot of quintessentially NES-in-1987 things.

In the Famicom context, Rygar looks a lot like Zelda II, which debuted in Japan a few months before Rygar hit. Over here, Zelda II would be massively delayed... so Rygar not only arrived in America before that game, but also before the first Zelda! Ah, localization.

Anyway, Tecmo deserves a ton of credit here regardless of the existence of Zelda games (and Metroid, and Kid Icarus) somewhere in publishing limbo. The arcade version of this game was, shall we say, no great shakes. But the NES version—that's a heck of a game. Here's hoping it hits Nintendo Switch Online one of the days. It would be a bummer if only the Arcade Archives version were to be playable here in the present.

The short of it is: Check out Rygar for NES and give it a chance! It's a pretty solid action RPG and can be completed in an afternoon.