Released: February 1987
US Cartridge ID: NES-TJ-USA
Players: 2/Alternating & Simultaneous
Genre: Action Platform
Supported Peripherals: Controller
ROM Size: 1 megabit
Mapper: UNROM (128k PRG)
Released under Capcom’s Captain Command “Challenge Series” label in 1987, Trojan is a port of a moderately successful arcade title, joining the trend established by Capcom’s prior US releases, including ports of 1942, Commando, and Ghosts ‘n Goblins. As the company’s earliest side-scrolling beat ’em up, Trojan laid an important foundation for many of the company’s later classics (including the arcade titles Final Fight and Street Fighter), helping to establish what has since become a cherished genre amongst old-school gamers.
As Trojan, a warrior well versed in the martial arts traditions of the Far East, the player must destroy the evil King Achilles and his minions in the hopes of rescuing the innocents abducted by the evil army. Trojan’s post-apocalyptic setting plays host to seven stages split each into two sub-stages spanning battle-scarred neighborhoods, desolate mountaintops, industrial complexes, and an old fortress.
The lone hero fights with sword and shield in hand, and both can be actively used in battle: the A button raises the shield to deflect blows and projectiles, while the B button swings the sword. Controlling the hero is an easy task, as Trojan’s onscreen sprite easily keeps up with the player inputs. Like Rush’n Attack, jump is mapped to the directional pad, freeing up the A button to aim the shield toward any incoming threats.
Trojan is a challenging game, but its difficulty level was thankfully scaled down from the arcade version, making it feel much fairer and better balanced as a result. Numerous power-ups scattered throughout each stage can be picked up to aid progress, including temporary jump and attack power increases in addition to standard-issue health refills. Because of the game’s difficulty level, finding hidden power ups quickly becomes a priority: many can be found by striking particular spots in the scenery, while others can be uncovered by jumping down manholes in search of helpful (though typically guarded) supplies.
Trojan’s aesthetics hold up surprisingly well for a title developed in 1986, largely due to the unique juxtaposition of visual elements: the majority of the game features modern, war torn locales populated with repurposed Greek and British heroes of old. The background graphics are reasonably well detailed and varied thanks to the tacky yet appealing color schemes that each stage uses, though heavy flickering can become a distraction at particularly busy moments. The bright and engaging colors thankfully obviate any concerns of the backdrop disguising enemy fire, but the vertically-scrolling areas tend to glitch badly while in motion.
In addition to the common generic enemy fodder, Trojan will face several sub-boss and boss characters throughout. These powerful foes, many of whom are imbued with a surprising amount of creativity and personality in their sprites, require careful pattern memorization and timing. There are several standouts, including the human/armadillo hybrid Armadillon, the blue-haired Freddy Kruger wannabe Goblin, and the towering symbol of evil, Achilles, clad entirely in blood red armor. The standard enemies found in each stage are fairly nondescript and grow tired by the end of the game, but the bosses’ signature elements grant the overall presentation a remarkably quirky tone. The music is neither memorable nor annoying, despite the instrumentation being a bit too harsh and grating, and the sound effects are adequate, though they do little to stand out.
Trojan is nowhere near as recognizable nor good as many of Capcom’s later efforts on the NES. It’s extremely short, the presentation is marred with a fair number of technical issues, and the gameplay relies heavily on the player’s memorization of enemy placements and patterns. It is, however, a massive step up from Capcom’s earlier Micronics developed games, and provides simple and fun arcade action that entertains with its quirky style and polished gameplay.
|闘いの挽歌 (Tatakai no Banka)
The Elegy of Battle