Title: Battle of Olympus
Developer: Imagineer
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Dates: 3-28-88 (Japan), 1988 (North America), 9-26-91 (Europe) (from GameFAQs)
Platform: NES
ESRB Rating: N/A

Battle of Olympus

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is considered one of the best adventure games the Nintendo Entertainment System has to offer. Why is that fact relevant to this discussion? Because Battle of Olympus is often called a Zelda II clone, and not without merit (though the two games were released at close to the same time.) Battle of Olympus plays much like Zelda II, but still provides plenty of gameplay to set it apart.

Just Give Me the Nectar, Baby

Battle of Olympus is the story of Orpheus, whose love, Helene, was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the Underworld. Orpheus journeys throughout Greece to seek out the assistance of the other gods, and ultimately journeys to the Underworld itself to face Hades on his own turf. Many regions of ancient Greece and Asia Minor are represented in Battle of Olympus, including Arcadia, Phrygia, Crete, and Laconia. Most of the major gods of the Greek pantheon appear to help Orpheus, though some are more forthcoming with their assistance than others. Many mythical monsters appear as well, including the Hydra, Lamia, Cyclops, and Centaur. Orpheus will also catch rides from the winged horse Pegasus, learn the secret of fire from Prometheus, and bargain with the devious sorceress Circe.

Fear the Power of Argus

Orpheus's arsenal is slim but adequate. He starts out with a simple club, but in time, he will acquire a flame-throwing staff of fennel, a sword, and a divine sword which will enable Orpheus to attack with the Power of Argus (shoot bolts from its tip). He will also acquire several tools for his quest, such as the gravity-defying Sandals of Hermes, the mysterious Harp of Apollo, and (fittingly for a so-called Zelda clone) an Ocarina. Nectar, Ambrosia, and the Golden Apple of the Hesperides will keep his health up, while olives will serve him as currency.

Stab, Stab, Stab!

Battle of Olympus's gameplay is very similar to that of Zelda II. Battle of Olympus is a side-scroller, and Orpheus can walk, run, jump, duck, and swing his sword just as Link can. Orpheus also carries an upgradable shield, and can learn new fighting techniques as he progresses. The lands of Battle of Olympus are interconnected, and Orpheus will have to backtrack frequently in order to advance.

Greek Tragedy

Battle of Olympus is difficult. There are numerous pits to cross, and numerous enemies who'd like nothing more than to prevent Orpheus from doing so. Every time Orpheus dies, he loses half of his olives, and considering that he often has to traverse dangerous terrain to make a purchase, acquiring a few key items can be an exercise in frustration. Tricky jumps are frequent, and players must often fend off enemies simultaneously. There are no "impossible" parts, though a few parts will seem to be so at first.

Players should take copious notes on what friendly characters tell them in order to know how to proceed, though even then, consulting a FAQ may be necessary.

Give My Regards to the British Museum

Battle of Olympus was a fairly common cartridge. Any good NES emulator should be able to play it.

Come On, You've Always Wanted to Kill a God

Battle of Olympus presents players with a challenging romp through ancient Greece, packed with all types of foes and obstacles. Every new item and upgrade will be welcomed eagerly, and every difficult jump will be dreaded. In the end, though, ultimate victory over Hades provides immense satisfaction and a fitting conclusion to a lengthy trek through the birthplace of Western Civilization.

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