The Guardian Legend, also known as Guardic Gaiden outside the US, is a very unique hybrid shmup created for the NES/Famicom in 1988 by Compile and published by Irem. TGL is a very unique shmup in that it has properties of a multidirectional and exclusive vertically scrolling shooter. It is the spiritual sequel of Guardic.
From the manual:
"Long ago, in a distant galaxy, an alien race sent a huge world-called Naju hurtling toward Earth, loaded with a cargo of mysterious life forms.
During the long journey, these creatures have multiplied and become increasingly evil-and now Naju teems with evil. However, deep within this complex globe are self-destruct mechanisms that can be activated to destroy it before it reaches Earth.
Now, you must battle your way deep within Naju's labyrinths to destroy the alien world. You are the guardian of Earth and your saga will become The Guardian Legend."
During the exploration of Naju, the story goes more into detail explaining what happened and who is responsible for Naju's collision course to Earth.
The Guardian Legend plays differently compared to many shmups in that there are two separate terrains of play. Axelay and Contra would be two examples of this, and oddly enough are closely related in this regard. At first, TGL is a run and gun top view shooter with Miria going throughout Naju collecting chips and items, buying things in the Lander shop, and defeating mini bosses to gain access to Corridors and get weapons and upgrades.
When Miria enters a corridor, the game changes into a vertical scrolling shooter akin to Zanac and can also use the weapons gathered within Naju's surface. At the end of each is a boss that must be defeated in order to proceed. Beating a corridor will usually result in another area being accessible. Although not all of these corridors need to be completed in order to proceed, it is usually a good idea to do so anyway as beating it will always yield some type of useful item, be it a key, upgrade, or weapons. Sometimes a little extra work is required in order to gain access to a corridor, one notable example is having to wait on the door without moving or firing for a few seconds.
The game employs a very long password system that saves your progress and your weapons. These are gotten by visiting a Lander who will give one to you for free. With some playing around, one can find various combinations that enable some interesting effects, like having all weapons fully powered up at the start.
Miria's life increases with higher scores but there are also items that increase her defense, enabling here to take more damage before it lowers her life by one level. In this sense, destroying enemies and collecting chips is greatly encouraged.
Items and LandersEdit
In addition to the weapons, there are several items that will help Miria in her quest.
- Blue Chips - These restore 10 chips and also recharge the shield by 1/4th a unit.
- Red Chips - These restore 500 chips and also recharge the shield by 1 unit.
- Heart Tank - These restore the shield by 5 units.
- Power Tank - These restore the shield to full.
- Blue Lander - Restores the shield to full and adds one extra unit.
- Red Lander - Restores both shield and chips to full and adds to max chip capacity.
- Blaster Pistol - Increases the main gun's power by 1.
- Defense Shield - Increases endurance, the amount of damage needed to lower 1 shield unit. as an added effect, getting 5 will increase walking speed.
- Speed Shot - Increases the bullet speed of the main gun.
- EE Pack - When first collected, adds the Enemy Eraser sub-weapon and gives 20 charges. Subsequent collections will add 20 more up to 255.
- Sub-Weapon Icon - This will add a sub-weapon or if was already collected, adds another level up to 3. It also restores 2 shield units.
- Key - These allow access to the other parts of Naju and are received upon beating certain dungeons.
In certain rooms, there is a big Blue Lander who will either give information, sell items, or assist you in some other way. Most will allow you to "save" the game by giving a long password that keeps track of the progress.
For the shops, they are a one time deal in that once an item is collected, no more items are available. There is a slight way around this though.
There are some cases where it is necessary to visit a nearby Lander as they have valuable information and can help you to get access to certain places.