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Title: Trojan
Rom Player: Jnes
Reviewer: Rick Wickenhofer

Synopsis: Back in 1986, Capcom introduced kids and video game fans everywhere to the world of Greek mythology with Trojan, a game which reenacts the epic battle of Troy. In the game, you'll do battle with all the creatures of the ancient legends, including the Iron Arm and the Guys In Tiny Helicopters Who Drop Bombs. In order to complete the game, you must familiarize yourself with all the works of Homer, which tells of great artifacts such as the Flashing "P" and the Weird Spirally Thing That Gives You Ten Thousand Points.

Actually, the first level of the game is hardly reminiscent of Troy, and judging by the wrecked Volkswagen in the background I'd say it was more like Detroit. And I'm pretty sure Troy didn't have guys with purple hairdos who jumped around throwing spiked balls that turned into orange bats. Plus the Trojan army probably had more than just one guy in its ranks. So to hell with Greek mythology. I don't know why people even bother to read the story inside the instruction manual anyway; all you do in pretty much every side scroller is go to the end of the level and destroy every single person you encounter. Besides, I haven't known where my instruction manual to Trojan is in well over a decade. It's probably decorating a landfill somewhere, or functioning as the lining in some homeless guy's pants.

Anyway, you are a Trojan warrior girded with a sword and a shield, and you quest to stop Achilles from...being mean to people, I guess. Maybe he has a crystal meth lab down in his underworld fortress, who the hell knows. To stop you, he has sent his finest troops, whom he hired because they are not only weaker than a malnourished gerbil, but are also rock stupid. Since they have to stop chasing you to swing their unwieldy warhammers, you're safe as long as you calmly walk in the opposite direction. There are some levels you can complete simply by walking across them as your sword gathers dust from lack of use. If one of the soldiers blocks your path, just swing your sword once, decapitating him. The blue Trojan guy is not to be trifled with.

About every sixth soldier that emerges is dressed in red. This fellow's goal in life is to throw knives and candy at you. The purpose of the knife is obvious, but the candy turns out to be Happy Candy, which, if you attempt to shunt it aside with your shield, will cause your character to toss his instruments of war away and rejoice. Then the Happy Candy Man throws another knife at you, and you realize that the Happy Candy Man must immediately be destroyed. Unfortunately for the Happy Candy Man, the blue Trojan is equally adept as a kung-fu fighter as he is a swordsman, and the Happy Candy Man succumbs to a kick to the face and a punch to the throat. Fuck the Happy Candy Man.

Along your way to Achilles you will also encounter various forms of assassins, who will emerge from high windows and manholes to shoot arrows or throw bombs at you. Beware these bombs, for once they explode, anyone within a 6-inch radius will immediately be rendered mildly itchy. Assassins in the higher places, including the helicopter guys, can be reached by high-jump boots and will explode when hit. This is not a very successful attempt at martyrdom as this affects none but the assassin. The sewer assassins are equally ineffective, because they can't see you through the tiny holes in the manhole cover until you're practically standing on the damn thing, and they will burst from the manhole, flinging the cover to Connecticut and eliminating any chance they might have had of a stealth attack. The assassin's reward for such stupidity is the surgical removal of his face.

Next on the enemy list is the Mamushi, a character who has a serious psychological complex concerning his ethnic identity. He just can't get over the fact that he's only a white guy. He's given himself a Japanese name and sports the hairdo and tomahawk of a Native American, but that will never change the fact that he likes Travis Tritt and enjoys watching golf on television. If there was ever anyone in need of a mercy killing, it was the Mamushi.

If you bother to venture into the sewers of Detroit, you will encounter the Goblin and the Armadillon. The Goblin is the purple-haired freak who throws bats, and the Armadillon just plain sucks. He rolls around on the ground like Samus' morphing ball, and once this constant rolling makes him sick enough, he will stand up and try to puke on you. He is probably the most annoying boss I've ever fought, because he is invincible in Ball Mode and can roll around for any length of time from five seconds up to ten days; it makes little difference to him. I didn't know an enemy could be both easy and frustrating, but Armadillon pulls it off. In the old days of Greece, the ancestor of Armadillon was always the object of ridicule in the arena, because once he rolled around so long that when he finally emerged from his shell he found that his opponent as well as the entire audience had gone home, and his shell was splattered all over with nacho cheese flung by the angry spectators. Eventually the Greeks used him as one of the back wheels that carried the Trojan Horse to Troy, and he had to stay in Ball Mode so long he puked inside his shell. How he managed to reproduce is anyone's guess.

The next moron you'll encounter is the Iron Arm, who resembles the Iron Man from Marvel Comics in all ways but his face, head, torso, pelvis, legs and feet. Oh, and his arm is blue, not red. So maybe he doesn't look like Iron Man, but I still say Marvel has a potential copyright infringement case. Anyway, Iron Arm attacks by detaching his metal arm and flinging it at you like a boomerang, and then he has to wait 5 seconds for his arm to come back so he can defend himself again. A lot can happen in 5 seconds, especially when there's an enemy swordsman standing two feet away. Maybe Achilles should have appointed a personnel clerk to screen some of his more unqualified applicants before setting up his army.

After fighting Iron Man for the first time and Armadillon for the second, you must walk through a shallow lake full of piranha fish. There you will encounter the Fish Turd, a guy who pops out of the lake and tries to spit on you. The Fish Turd used to be as strong as the bosses, that is, it took eight hits to kill him, but being bitten by piranha time after time has taken its toll on the Fish Turd. This is why if your next-door neighbor is a flesh-eating predator capable of stripping a cow to its marrow within a matter of seconds, you might want to consider contacting U-Haul. Just a suggestion, Fish Turd.

The next new face you'll see is the Muscler, who carries a huge spiked club. Though many times stronger than the average soldier, he has the intelligence of a turnip. He will stop to swing his club, leaving you plenty of time to strike and hop away laughing as the Muscler wonders where two of his fingers went. This does not trouble him long, for he has no aptitude for math and figures that he had eight fingers at birth. Then he contemplates whether his thumbs actually count as fingers, giving you enough time to hack at him some more. Muscler now faces a dilemma as to whose nose that is lying on the floor. As he utilizes too much of his neurological energy to ponder this, he loses control of his bodily functions and craps his pants. If you are simple enough to actually get hit by this guy, maybe you should stop playing the game long enough to check your own underwear.

The next boss you'll fight is the brown Trojan, who, according to the manual, "fights just like you." This phrase is only true if you have neither the mental capacity nor the bodily appendages necessary to push a button eight times. My strategy for defeating the brown Trojan is simply to hurl my body heedlessly at him, swinging my sword relentlessly at his scalp. The bad Trojan is not prepared for this, and will duck and cower behind his shield, allowing you to score enough blows to his head to give him Parkinson's disease. The brown Trojan cannot even defend himself against your kung-fu, and walking up to him and kicking him in the face is also a sure tactic for victory.

That's pretty much it for all the new people you'll encounter in this game, because you'll have to fight most bosses about three times each. The only unique characters are the Fish Turd, even though he's not a boss, King Shriek and Achilles. King Shriek is actually two guys who burst from the walls of the final level one at a time, each swinging a giant flail. They are fairly easy if you found at least one of the two "P" items in the game, the first of which doubles your original strength, the second of which triples it. If not, victory is at best uncertain.

Achilles is the final boss, and you must fight him in his throne room after he shows you how pretty his cape is. He is strong, but not fast on his feet, and usually the sophisticated suicide body hurling technique is sufficient to destroy him, or at least give him one hell of an entertaining story to tell his army buddies after the fight. Finish Achilles and you are rewarded by the message: "thanks to your help, we have finally defeated 'Achilles.'" Um, who exactly is WE, motherfucker? I'M the one who kicked all the ass. Then it says "We praise your love and courage that has carried us through our desperate struggle!" Thanks for the sentiment, but it wasn't exactly love that prompted me to jam my sword through the enemy Trojan's head. Then you are shown close-up pictures of all your enemies, or in other words, all the people who no longer exist thanks to your homicidal rampage.

Trojan is one of my favorite NES games, because the hero is one of the most versatile characters ever to grace the Nintendo, as he can swordfight, dodge, punck, kick and block. Megaman, in contrast, was supposed to be this bad-ass cyborg, and he couldn't even shoot upward or duck. The graphics were great, especially for a game released back in 1986. The music and sounds were good, except that the game made this really weird sound whenever you struck the deathblow to a boss. Back then I'd never seen any game like Trojan, so it definitely gains points for originality. Fighting the boss clones became somewhat repetitive, but on the other hand, it gave you more than one chance to humiliate a swordsman by kicking him in the face. I bet if the real Trojans had been as bad-ass as the game version of the hero, the Greeks wouldn't have stood a chance in hell. Or Hades, pardon.

Best Cheats: These useless tricks both involve the lake in Stage Two:

First, when you encounter Fish Turd, try striking him when he first jumps out of the lake. If you time it right, he will be stuck in midair and will be unable to harm you. It will appear as though he is trapped among the weeds lining the shore.

Second, as you reach the end of the lake, swing your sword to reveal a 1-Up. As you grab it, jump forward toward the shoreline. If you hit the point where the land meets the water just right, you will continue wading across the land. This will intimidate the hell out of the next boss.

Game Play: 10
Graphics: 10
Music/Sound: 8
Originality: 10
Overall Rating: 10

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