Upon first glance, Archon appears to be a simple game of monster chess, Light versus Dark.
On the Light side are Knights, Archers, Valkyries; on the Dark, Goblins, Manticores, and Banshees. All the pieces are set up as in chess, with seven Knights and Goblins acting as pawns on their respective sides, and the other pieces placed in order of strength and weakness.
Almost all the monsters have similar three-position move-sets, either on the ground (Golems, Trolls, Manticores) or flying (Phoenix, Dragon). Positioning your pieces strategically isn’t as essential in Archon as it is in chess. Engaging the enemy strategically, however, is imperative. When two creatures of opposing sides clash, they enter into a battlefield and face off against each other. In these scenarios, pit a creature of equal or greater value against the creature that attacks you. You wouldn’t, for example, want to pit a Troll against a Unicorn. Unicorns are fast and strong, while Trolls are strong but incredibly slow.
Archon engages for a time, but it doesn’t have chess’s long-lasting appeal. The battles feel choppy and restricted. You’re only allowed one attack at a time, and how quickly that attack reloads depends on the strength of your character. Still, there’s nothing on the NES quite like Archon, for better and for worse.
PUBLISHER: Activision DEVELOPER: Free Fall Associates (port by Bullet-Proof Software)
GENRE: Strategy RELEASE DATE: 01/1990 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Atari 8-Bit, Amiga, Apple II, C64, Amstrad CPC, iOS, PC, ZX Spectrum