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King's Knight was developed by Bits Laboratory and published by Square for the NES and MSX in 1986. King's Knight is often incorrectly credited both as Square's first development and an RPG. It was, however, Square's first North American release under Square Soft, Inc. and their first release as an independent company. King's Knight saw a second release in 1987 on the NEC PC-8801 and the Sharp X1. The game was titled King's Knight Special and was released exclusively in Japan. King's Knight was scored by Nobuo Uematsu. It was Uematsu's fourth work of video game music composition.
King's Knight is a vertically scrolling shooter, where the main objective is to dodge or destroy all on-screen enemies and obstacles. Various items, however, add depth to the game. As any character, the player can collect various power-ups to increase a character's level (maximum of twenty levels per character): as many as seven Jump Increases, seven Speed Increases, three Weapon Increases, and three Shield Increases. There are also Life Ups, which are collected to increase the character's life meter. To balance out the Life Ups, there are also Life Downs. Other on-screen icons can affect the stage, such as hidden cave entrances/exits and a "secret revealer," which reveals hidden stones that block progress. Finally, there are four types of elements to be collected in each level, which are vital to the completion of the last stage.
The Famicom and NES versions of King's Knight differ only in the title screen. The MSX version of King's Knight differed from the Famicom version of in a variety of ways. In the MSX version, the flanks of the screen were "closed off," while the stage maps have moved slightly, and so some of the items appear to be out of their original locations. The characters can also sustain more damage from attacks. The MSX port featured more sound channels than the Famicom, and as such many music tracks and sound effects were altered or improved. The MSX version also boasts a wider range of colors, updated graphics, new monster and boss designs (dragons at the end of caves, for example, were replaced with lizard-like monsters), and a new sidebar, which displayed the player's life meter, allocated power-ups, and allocated elements. Unfortunately, though, the MSX could not smoothly render vertical scrolling - unlike the Famicom - so the movement of the graphics is very "choppy" in comparison.
In the Kingdom of Izander, the fair Princess Claire has been kidnapped by a foul and insidious Dragon and it is the mission of four brave fighters to save her. These fearless champions will come together, after proving themselves on their own, to fight their way to the lair of the Dragon and restore the kingdom to its peaceful start. The Knight, Ray Jack, will go first. He is the most experienced of the group and he carries a strong weapon. The Wizard, Kaliva is next. He has magic and good jumping abilities. The Monster, Barusa, follows. This scaly creature has strong defenses and can take many hits. The Thief, Toby, is the youngest and quickest member of the team. They must first set out solo and build their individual fighting abilities. Once they each have advanced skills, these courageous warriors will come together to seek out and save the princess. You must help them reach their goal as you are now part of the team that will fight to free the princess from her imprisonment. Keep your wits about you, plan your strategy and set off on an exciting adventure!
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