Do the Wild Fang
Draw your swords, pick up your spellbook, and take my axe, as this week’s entry to the Arcade Archives sees Hamster treat us to Koei Tecmo’s high-fantasy brawler Tecmo Knight, now available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.
Released to arcades in 1989, hot on the heels of Tecmo success Ninja Gaiden, Tecmo Knight, (known in Japan as Wild Fang), sees the titular, muscle-bound hero battle their way through the Kingdom of Valdik, on a quest to rescue the townspeople from the clutches of the terrifying Beast Demon Army, (Beasts? Demons? Nah, both). Tecmo Knight is ably assisted by his tiger pal, “Tiger”, who absolutely isn’t Cringer, and Smokeman, a deity who provides additional attacks and abilities.
Additionally, Tecmo Knight can call upon the power of a dragon, who can defeat any opponent with a single blast of fiery breath. Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Punch Pedia.
While Tecmo Knight at first glance appears to be Tecmo’s take on Sega’s own hit, Golden Axe, (and in many ways it is), Tecmo’s offering is a little more finicky and precise in its controls, ala Ninja Gaiden, which makes it a trickier challenge and thus kept it from becoming a truly well-remembered classic.
Oh, and like Ninja Gaiden, it has an anxiety-inducing Continue? screen, which sees the Tecmo Knight being eaten by a giant monster as he screams in pain. Failing to add a credit in time sees a helmeted beast hack through the screen, yelling “NO FUTURE!” like a 1978 British punk. A famously violent attract sequence was also ultimately censored before release, with further bloodletting, (decapitations in particular), ensuing throughout the game.
Tecmo Knight is definitely worth checking out, though it certainly lacks the pace and energy of other brawlers of the day. It is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at $8.
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