The Guardian Legend


New member
Nov 26, 2008
The year is 1988 and Nintendo and Sega were in competition with each other between the Sega Master System and the Nintendo Entertainment System. Sega had Alex Kidd and the first Phantasy Star game and Nintendo had Mario, Link and Samus as their primary games and mascots.

Nintendo's "Grey Box" was very successful because of its popularity and even still is to this day, but no system or company despite what anyone says can last without a solid third party library and that is where this review starts for one of the games I call "The Most Underrated Game in the NES Library" and that is The Guardian Legend or "TGL".

THe Guardian Legend is actually a sequel to a game that came out in Japan called "Guardic" and was created by Compile, Borderbound Software and Irem. TGL or "Guardic Gaiden" in Japn follows an interesting formula that is part shoot-em-up and part RPG and was realistically one of the first games to do it when everyone else just kind of stayed to one or the other.

The story of this games goes that out in the vastness of outer space there is a planet called "NAJU" that was minding its own business with no one bothering it until one day a batch of alien life forms invaded it and sent it hurtling towards Earth. The people of this planet were in a panic were trying to think of a way to prevent the impending doom of having another planet smash into it and thus a "battle robot" called "The Guardian" was sent to try and stop this planet from crashing into Earth!

So that's the main's the game play work?

In short: Very well!

The game is played into two parts: The first deals with a 3/4 overhead perspective where you take the Guardian and walk her(yes its a female) around the planet attempt to try and find "Optional Weapons" to help you fight the sub bosses in the overworld and the "Corridors" that you must go into to break the 10 seals that activate the self-destruct mechanism within the plant NAJU.

Part Two deals with the overhead shooting levels where you must go and fight a boss at the end of each "Corridor" to try and either find a key or weapons and "Landers" to assist you on your journey. Your first introduction to these levels is when you press start and you have to try and get ON the planet! You are immediately bombarded by asteriods, "Mariner Symbols"(See the Seattle Mariners logo at one time), asteroid rings, and all kinds of crap only to get to fight a big gun installation at the end of it! Its arguably the most frustrating thing to get to fight because dying here doesn't allow you to continue. You can only do that when you get on the planet itself.

How does the RPG element work exactly? Good Question and here's the answer...

With any shooting game you get a score typically right? You shoot enemies and get points and with some games when you get a certain number you get an extra life, continues or what have ya. With this game your life bar "levels up"! Yep! Every time you make it to a certain scoring target a special tone plays and your life bar extends by one with the max being 16.

Your "Optional Weapons" also level up too, but this works differently as you have to find its weapon icon in the planet or from fighting a boss to get it. Be careful though cos everytime you get one of the same item while it makes it more powerful it also consumes more "power chips" that you get in the game. These act as currency in shops and power your main and sub weapons. The only way to increase those was by finding a "Lander"(Compile's Mascot) and they came in two colours: Red and Blue. Red bumped your max chips and Blue extended your life.

The game had very little slowdown except in certain corridors that moved about 100 MPH which was someone inconsistent in its speed, but that was just another very minor flaw in a perfect game. You understand how hard the game can be when you go fight a boss and he keeps kicking your butt up and down the room because you don't have enough power to go face him yet and trust me you are going to NEED IT!

The password system was kind of long and confusing if you aren't used to it but I don't really see it as a problem. Just be careful when you write down your password and your good to go.

When I found my copy of the game at Funcoland it was ONLY $2.00! In my mind its worth more that than for sure and is one of the most unappreciated classics of all time!

Recommendation: BUY IT!!!!


New member
Aug 8, 2008
Agree with your assessment. This is an underrated NES game. I played through it again recently. Meaning about a year and a half ago. Still holds up very well. Great review.