Source: Wikipedia, "Magician Lord", available under the CC-BY-SA License.
Magician Lord (マジシャンロード, Majishan Roodo?), is a side-scrolling platform game developed by ADK that was released on April 26, 1990. It was a launch title for both the Neo-Geo MVS (arcade) and AES (home) systems, and was one of the pack-in games for the Neo-Geo AES. Like many earlier SNK games, it is well-known for its challenging difficulty.
It was re-released through the Virtual Console download service in Europe and Australia on October 26, 2007, and in North America on October 29, 2007. Most recently it was included in SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1, released for the Wii, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable in North America on May 1, 2008.
The player controls the wizard Elta, the last magician lord, on his quest to save his homeland from the evil wizard Gal Agiese. The evil wizard is seeking the god of destruction Az Atorse whom he plans to resurrect this using eight tomes of mystical power. As Elta, the player must battle through eight levels to find each of the tomes before he can reach Gal's fortress, and seal away the evil deity once again.
Elta has to jump, shoot and climb his way to the end of each level where he must beat a servant of Gal, along with one of Gal's sinister boss creations, in order to progress through the game. To complete the game Elta must reach the final stage and defeat Az Atorse himself. The gameplay is typical to a standard action-platformer fitted for arcade machines and thus very challenging. If the player takes too long to complete a stage, then they will be harassed by an invincible monster. Aside from the fantasy themes there's an added twist of transformations that make the wizard more powerful and grants him new attacks. When he has not been transformed, Elta's primary form of attack is a weak but fast-moving energy projectile that he can shoot in four directions; left, right, up and (while jumping) down.
These are the forms that Elta can assume by picking up combinations of colored orbs found throughout the stages:
Dragon Warrior: In this form Elta attacks by breathing fire; a continuous short-range attack that can also be aimed diagonally unlike his standard attack.
Waterman: The Waterman-form attacks with water grenades - blue bubbles of water that explode into water pillars upon touching the ground. The attack can hit several times for additional damage but only covers a small area.
Poseidon: A more powerful version of the Waterman, Poseidon shoots wide waves of water that travels along the ground for several hits. It does severe damage and causes enemies to freeze and shatter on impact. While very powerful, this form moves very slowly.
Shinobi: The Shinobi-form gains increased agility and attacks with powerful magical archs of fire which are wide but slow-moving.
Samurai: While limited in range, the Samurai-form is the only form that can attack through barriers, such as walls, shields or even multiple enemies, using a boomerang-like energy attack that does heavy damage.
Raijin: The Raijin-form gives Elta's jumping ability a big boost as well as a unique attack that creates a continuous electrical field around his body.