The player sends the title character (who did not have a proper name in the Japanese version) through a number of fantastic settings with the ultimate goal of defeating the evil King Ligar in order to restore peace to the realm of Argool (Argos in the Japanese version). To accomplish this goal, Rygar/the Warrior must visit five Indora gods who present him with essential items needed for completion of the game. Each of the Indora gods is located in a different realm, and is almost always guarded by a boss. The player can choose the order in which some stages are played, but since certain items are required to reach new areas, choices are somewhat limited. After playing through the five major realms of the game, he must journey to King Ligar's flying castle for the final confrontation.
"Ligar" (the final boss) can also be romanized as Rygar because in Japanese there is no distinction between "l" and "r," but the name is written with the syllable ra (ラ) in katakana. The central player character is only known as senshi (the Warrior) in the Japanese version.
Rygar is a rough adaptation of an earlier arcade game of the same name, but the similarities are few. The main character, his weapon, and much of the enemies remain the same, but the gameplay of the NES version is quite different. While the arcade version is more of a standard side-scrolling action title, the NES Rygar is an open-ended action-adventure game like Metroid, which was also released at the time. At the beginning of the game, Rygar has access to some of the worlds, but as the game progresses, new areas open up as the result of finding items such as the grappling hook, crossbow, and wind pulley, which let him cross previously impassable obstacles.
A serious downside to the NES version of Rygar is that it didn't allow for game saves. The complexity and difficulty of the game, along with the puzzles to solve and special objects needed to progress, require a great deal of time and unlike other complex adventure games of the time (The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Castlevania) the cartridge did not contain a battery (Zelda), nor did it contain a password feature (Metroid, Castlevania). As a result, many players were forced to pause the game and leave their NES on overnight (to resume the next day), sometimes going on for days or even weeks, before finally obtaining the necessary items and power to finish the game. If the unit was accidentally turned off, unplugged, or if it malfunctioned, all game data would be lost and the player would be forced to start over from the beginning.
Source: Wikipedia, Rygar (NES game) , available under the CC-BY-SA License.