The Battle of Olympus

Reviewed by Stan Stepanic, Posted on 2012-05-02


Developer: Infinity Company Publisher: Broderbund
Release Date: 1989 Available On: Game Boy, NES

I honestly never played through this damn game until I sat down to complete it for this very review. Don't take my 'damn' at face value, I actually liked it. I have memories of The Battle of Olympus, and I recall a number of childhood friends, well actually just one, who was a fan of it. It was the best kind of copycat game in the style of The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, with some clever twists and all-around solid play. For those NES fans out there who have a hankering for some action RPG action, and my redundancy, this is one to check out.

Graphically, The Battle of Olympus is a fine-looking title. The scenery is beautiful and lush with lots of detail and wonderfully designed backgrounds. It's all designed based on Greek mythology, and the programmers did a great job creating landscapes that recall ancient Greece better than the Parthenon. Lots of the smaller enemies are a bit basic, but in general they're designed in a fashion quite similar to Zelda II. Regardless, a weak area this is definitely not.

The music is also designed to fit the theme of The Battle of Olympus, and overall it's successful. The music, especially in areas like Arcadia, sound like they were actually based on classical Greek music. If not, it sure sounds like it, and this combination of graphics and sound create a very accessible and believable atmosphere, so high marks again. Excellent title screen theme, by the way.

The gameplay of The Battle of Olympus is in many ways similar to Zelda II. In fact, and we'll get to this with the creativity segment; in many ways it's the same game. Orpheus moves and looks similar to Link, many of the enemies move and attack in ways similar to those in Zelda II, and the arrangement is largely the same in terms of the basics. Orpheus has to save his love Helene from Hades, who else, and he has to travel to a number of different Greek cities while coming across a variety of helpful and evil creatures based on Greek mythology, or rather taken directly from. So you can eventually ride Pegasus, have to kill the Cyclops, talk to Zeus like you're bros, and so forth. Play is a bit non-linear in comparison to Zelda II in that, instead of moving from one island to the next in a generally orderly fashion, you do a lot of backtracking to go through previously inaccessible parts of older areas so you can access new ones. And, also cool, there are sometimes different ways of going about reaching new sections of the game. Plus, you have a nice password feature so you can pick at it and come back later. Check out some here:

Though The Battle of Olympus lifts much of the style of Zelda II like a cheap Spaghetti western rips off Eastwood, it does it with way more style and less bad dubbing. The Greek theme is played out splendidly throughout the entirety and the gameplay has a ton of variety. Combining this with the basic idea of Zelda II turned out to be a great prospect and it largely succeeds. Really, it's only similar in the minor details, such as how Orpheus moves. So, in the end, these are negligible in terms of the overall picture.

The Battle of Olympus can take some time to complete, and with the nice password feature you can come back to it any time you want. I actually prefer this to Zelda II's save feature, because should you make mistakes later you can use earlier passwords to start at an earlier position. Sometimes, it actually might be to your favor in this particular game because of its occasional, non-linear aspects. Plus, it has quite a bit of challenge; there are a number of tricky jumping/attacking portions later on and some pretty difficult bosses. So it's very well-rounded in this regard.

The Battle of Olympus is a perfect title for any NES fan or any fan of the action RPG. It has a lot of creativity, a lot of variety, and plenty of challenge for even a seasoned player. It clearly nods towards Zelda II, but it does so artfully, and that's what counts. Easily one of the top five action RPGs for the NES, right up there with The Goonies II and others.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.2 out of 10
Written by Stan Stepanic Write a User Review

Reviewed by Stan Stepanic