まもって騎士 (Protect Me Knight)
Available On: XBLIG (local co-op only)
Protect Me Knight opens with a hum of an old CRT TV, a rather pixilated image of some… thing, followed by a clicking sound and a Famicom cartridge being held up in front of a TV screen now filled with snow. A green “A” appears and pressing the button results in a blowing sound. The cartridge disappears, more clicks, and another pixilated image appears, a little clearer this time, and the process repeats. After the 2nd successful attempt of “blowing in the cartridge,” the game starts up. There are retro games, and then there are games that capture the retro spirit. Protect Me Knight wonderfully falls into the latter category.
From the 8-bit characters and soundtrack, to the intentionally (and amusingly) poor translations of instructions and character bios, Protect Me Knight is a delightful treat for those who long for the old NES days without the same level of frustration to which many of those games lead when played today. The general premise behind Protect Me Knight is that you are one of four Knights of Love (you pick from the witch, the ninja, the fighter, or the amazon) that has to protect the princess from the evil that’s beset the kingdom and, in the process, destroy it so that peace may be restored once more. Each level, you must protect the princess from all types of foes, ranging from lowly goblins to demons and dragons, by attacking them directly and by using the towers surrounding the princess. These towers initially serve as a defensive mechanism, but after they have been upgraded a couple of times, they turn into catapults that launch boulders at the swarms of foes. As you defeat foes, you’ll earn “love points” that can be used in between levels to increase your character’s attack, defense, magic, and speed stats, so Protect Me Knight also has a few RPG elements tossed into the mix.
Dragons, dragonmen, demons, minotaurs, and centipedes are just a few of the boss-type characters you'll face
If you aren’t convinced of this game’s fun already, then let me say that when playing with friends, the game becomes exponentially more satisfying. While the Knights of Loves' abilities don’t exactly work directly with one another, the abilities can be far more effective when paired together. For example, the ninja creates a princess decoy that distracts the enemy and draws their attention while the fighter tosses an axes that travels across the screen in a straight line. Grouping the enemies up by using the decoy allows the fighter to employ his axe attack more effectively. What’s more, having multiple players around makes it possible for one or more players to run around hacking the monsters up while another one mans the catapult(s) and unleashes aerial doom upon their foes. With four difficulty levels, players looking to increase the challenge for themselves won’t be disappointed.
Simply put, Protect Me Knight is one of the best retro games I’ve played in a while and the inclusion of four player co-op completely throws me back to the days of gathering around a NES with my friends to play Contra, Battletoads, or Gauntlet.
Super Happy Bonus Extreme: For those interested in truly reliving the 8-bit era of gaming, Ancient has a do-it-yourself box art graphic!
Protect Me Knight is For: Anyone who enjoys playing games (and particularly those who grew up playing the NES)
The Co-Op Experience: You and up to three friends choose from one of four Knights of Love then set off to protect the princess and save the kingdom from the forces of evil