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Box artwork for Hydlide.
Japanese title ハイドライド
(lit. "Hydlide")
Developer(s) Toshiba EMI
Publisher(s) Toshiba EMI (JP), FCI (US NES)
Release date(s)
Genre(s) RPG
System(s) NEC PC-6001, NEC PC-8801, MSX, MSX2, Sharp MZ, Fujitsu FM-7, NES, Windows
Players 1
Followed by Hydlide II: Shine of Darkness
Series Hydlide
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This is the first game in the Hydlide series. For other games in the series see the Hydlide category.

Hydlide was originally released in Japan in 1984 for several systems. It was localized to the USA several years later, when more advanced games (e.g. The Legend of Zelda) were already well known. Next to the original title Hydlide is often the Japanese translitteration ハイドライド ("Haidorado" , i.e. "Hydlyde"), as a reading help for Japanese players.


In Japan, Hydlide enjoyed a tremendous fanbase, having been published for many major popular home computers in the Japanese market before being released for the Famicom. Its arrival on the Famicom was celebrated as a remake to a very popular game, rather than being seen as a game which tried to compete with similar games on the market. In fact, there were no similar games available for the Famicom at the time. Hydlide was billed as an "Active Role Playing Game" combining the top-down iconic overworld style of games such as Ultima (which enjoyed some popularity in Japan) with the collision-based combat system of The Tower of Druaga (also very popular in Japan).

When Hydlide was released for the Famicom, it was actually given the name Hydlide Special to denote certain enhancements that this version contained over the original. Magic was only introduced to the series in Hydlide 2, but was retrofitted for use in the Famicom version of the original Hydlide. As a result, it plays only a minor role in the game. Hydlide is rather small, and can easily be beaten in only a couple of hours if one knows exactly where to go.

In the West, The name Hydlide has appeared many times on various "Worst 10 NES games" lists over the years. Many players have compared it to The Legend of Zelda which was released for the NES nearly two years earlier. But this comparison is unfair because the game was actually developed in 1984, two years before The Legend of Zelda was published in Japan (it was simply released too late in the NES's lifetime to be appreciated).

However, players of more modern RPGs will find the experience less than enjoyable for a few reasons. The game's very short tune plays repeatedly without change to many players' annoyance. The combat system takes some getting used-to, and the player's defense rarely ever improves. And last, but not least, the task of leveling up can be quite repetitive, and requires a lot of patience. While Hydlide was celebrated as an evolution in the Role Playing Genre in Japan, it was simply seen as a poor imitator in America.

In 1999, a special remake of Hydlide was released for Windows 95/98 that allowed players to choose between the look of the original PC-8001 version and a new high resolution Arranged mode. It has been translated into English by, and the patch for the translation can be downloaded here.


In the kingdom of Fairyland, three magic jewels were enshrined in the palace to maintain peace in the kingdom. One day, an evil man broke into the palace and stole one of the three magic jewels. Without the third jewel, the two remaining jewels lost their magic sparkle. The magic spell that sealed the power of Varalys, the most vicious demon in the kingdom, was broken. During the turmoil which followed, the last two jewels were stolen. Varalys cast a special magic on Princess Ann, turning her into three fairies, and hid them somewhere in the kingdom. He then let loose a horde of monsters across the land and became the ruler of the kingdom.

Finally, the young knight Jim stood up and took action to restore peace in the kingdom. He bravely made his way into the wilderness in full armor to fight the monsters...

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