Holy Diver – Retro Wednesdays Episode 53

250px-HolyDiver_frontcoverIn this episode of Retro Wednesdays we really went above and beyond to frustrate ourselves. We decided to play Holy Diver.

A video game that is about heavy metal musicians? Check. Side scrolling platformer? Check. Interesting graphics and sound? Check. Magic? Check. Boss fights? Check. At first glance Holy Diver appears to be a really really awesome game. You have a very elaborate fantasy story with references to some of metal’s best musicians. (You play the character that is an homage to ¬†Zack Wylde. You’re rescuing a “Randy” Randy Rhodes and your dad is named Ozzy). Sadly there is no Dio references other than the game title. I really want to do a hack of this and have the game play Holy Diver instead of the music.

So what is the problem with this game? Why was it never released in the U.S. (other than copyright reasons). Well after playing it for a few hours I can tell you the problem. Holy Diver is the most difficult game I have EVER played. It’s harder than Batman, and Ninja Gaiden. It’s not even close. Holy Diver stands above the rest as one of the most challenging, frustrating and infuriating games I have ever played.

And despite my crying on the video I still love it.

The problem isn’t that the game isnt’ unfair. Minus the occasional glitch where I swear the game doesn’t respond to controls, Holy Diver is a good game. It’s just incredibly difficult. Your character has a regular shot and magic. As you go through the game your acquire more magic skills that are necessary in order to complete levels. Blizzard is you best friend (keep that in mind as you play. Each level has a boss and each level has a myriad of enemies that vary from annoying to just plain gross (that level 3 fish… shudder).

The other thing about Holy Diver is that it is VERY random. Sometimes you get enemies in certain places, sometimes they ¬†aren’t there. The biggest problem is that often the game has too many sprites on the screen so things will disappear from view but still be in the game. This is almost ALWAYS the enemy projectiles and it can make you want to pull your hair out. Blizzard is a very helpful spell but some enemies are not frozen by them which really sucks.

And that’s really the summary of this game. It’s fun but it is SO freaking hard. We referenced a speed run of this a few times and even the person doing that who is insanely good at this game died twice. Our attempt never got past the 3rd level, but despite being frustrated and annoyed, we have now found new determination to beat this game. Brett has already gotten past level 4 and we are really going to try to take this game down. It might take 20 years and a lot of continues but I think we can do it.

On a personal note the last 20 minutes or so I found the most hilarious. Despite my crying I did find Holy Diver to be a fun game and a game that you should own for Famicom or NES (There are tons of reproduction carts out there that are translated).



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