Saturday, January 24, 2009

Retro game review: Battle of Olympus Part 1

Ok, here's my first post in my new blog. I'll start off with a retro game review and I've decided to review one of my favourite old NES games, The Battle of Olympus.

This game was developed by Infinity in 1988 and released in Europe in 1990. The main story is about a Greek hero named Orpheus who's bird named Helene gets kidnapped by Hades, the God of the Underworld (or Tartarus) to become his bride. Once you press start you get to name your hero and your girlfriends name. Despite the fact that your game's hero is named Orpheus, the letter entry section is only six letters long for some reason. Anyway, this is pretty minor so we won't worry too much about that. The game's style is a side-scrolling adventure game, similar to that of Zelda II. You start out in a pleasant, grassy wooded area called Arcadia and your first task is to go look for Zeus, the father of the Gods. When you visit Zeus, or any of the other temples you are treated to a cool 8-bit rendition of "Toccata en Fudge"(Diddle DEEEEEE! diddlediddlediddle dee DEEEEE!) Zeus alerts the other Gods to your quest so thatn you can visit their temples scattered throughout the various areas of ancient Greece (There's one temple per area). The Gods will provide you with items and passwords. However, if you visit any of these temples without visiting Zeus first, the Gods will basically tell you to just piss off. I'll now review the main areas of the game.

The first area. A pretty boring area really. Grassy with trees and the odd house. Fairly weak worm-like enemies here mainly that are dispatched easily using the club, which is your starting weapon. Vanquished enemies may leave behind enerch chips or olives, which are the game's main currency. Just the one easy boss here, the bull Taurus, who is found just outside the Temple of Zeus. The music in this section is also a bit dull so you COULD say that it fits this area perfectly.

This area is mainly a town area which also includes Athens (where you find the Temple of Athena where you get your shield). Mainly hoppy Fawn creatures to kill here. Here, you get to save a little boy from the clutches of a snake-like vampire woman named Lamia. The Lamia pelts you with arrows which you can deflect with your shield. The only thing that pissed me off about this battle is that you have to stand perfectly still for your shield to work, and there's a bloody annoying hole that the cow can knock you into as well. After completing this quest you get the staff of Promethius which is a little more powerful than your club. Also found here is a rock giant named Gaia but you need the ocarina, obtained in Laconia to wake him up to battle him. Later in the quest you get a key of this old codger which will enable you to rescue a nymph in Phytia.

Now the game starts to get a bit tougher. Here is a dark cave area with a really cool warbly tune. In the caves are pits and bastard bats that can knock you into the pits. In this area you get to save Promethius from the Nemean lion, who in turn will teach you to use fire with your staff. You can also fall into a Salamander pit where you can kill salamanders and obtain their skins so that you can use them to buy a Salamander skin shield in Crete. I hated this area because of those annoying pits and the fact that when you visit the Temple of Hermes, you discover that the prick has popped out to visit Zeus. That means a trek back to Arcadia to meet him and obtain the very useful sandals, which will enable you to jump higher and walk on certain ceilings. There is also a sea route here to Crete (which you can't use until you obtain the ocarina from Poseidon in Laconia) and a nymph to rescue.

This is a dense, maze-like forest area with spider webs and ostrich-type things to kick your ass. The music here is quite downbeat and depressing though. Here you find metrosexual God Apollo who gives you his harp. You will also find the Hydra here. After you defeat this multi-headed fiend a nymph will give you a rather useless sword and moan at you if you speak to her again after getting said sword (She must be in the middle of a rag rage or something). You need the sword to stab the boulber-chucking Cyclops in the eye and open the way to Laconia.

This area is mainly a stone ruin area with various houses , annoying hoppy monkey things and frustrating eagles who drop rocks on you. Here you get the Ocarina of Poseidon for sixty olives. The frustrating thing about collecting olives is that it is quite time-consuming as every olive you collect only adds one olive to your inventory. You can use the ocarina by the sea to summon a dolphin to cross to another island section where you find the Harpy, who can draw you in with her shrill singing voice. Use the harp to drown out her singing and give that bitch the slapping she deserves. Kill her and a door opens where you can fight the Stygian hags in a dark cave area. Kill those three hags to obtain their eye which you use in Phytia to uncover the door to one of the three nymphs that you must visit in order to open up the door to Tartarus (man, that sentence was long). Use the dolphin again to get to Crete.

It's the Minotaur's maze. Outside is the giant Talos, whom you can simply jump over. This is a maze area which is quite easy when you have the sandals so you can walk on the ceiling thus avoiding the really tough Amazon enemies. You will also find Slimer-lookalike enemies here as well as the Witch Circe and the God of War, Aries. You need eighty olives and I think, twenty salamander skins from Argolis to obtain the Salamander shield. This item is VITAL if you wish to have ANY chance of surviving in Phyrigia. Aries is just a prick though. He also requires eighty olives so that he may give you his bracelet. This is an accessory for the Divine sword of Hephaestos, which you obtain in Phytia but more on that later. If you offer him less than the required eighty olives he will punish you by confiscating your sandals. This means that you have to trek back to the entrance whilst getting your arse kicked by the Amazons, then head back to Argolis only to find out that tool Hermies has pissed off over to Zeus' place AGAIN, grrr. The Minotaur is also (obviously) found here, guarding the third and last nymph. He's a big bull-man who has a shield and chucks maces at you although you must find the first two nymphs first in order to destroy the barrier blocking the entrance to his lair.

Part two to come soon.


  1. I think Battle of Olympus a game that required skill, thought, luck, and patience to beat. But like many early games, it lacked the mercy that many recent games have..

    Anyway if you have time, take a visit to my Download Games games website.

  2. Thanks mate I'll give your website a view. I'll be doing another classic NES adventure named Faxanadu soon:-)