Willow (NES) Playthrough – NintendoComplete



A playthrough of Capcom’s 1989 license-based action-adventure game for the NES, Willow.

Capcom’s Willow for the NES, not to be confused with the excellent yet totally different arcade platformer, is one of my favorite action RPGs on the NES. It follows a lot of the trends set by the original The Legend of Zelda, but it feels closer to Crystalis with its added emphasis on magic and on plot.

And while Capcom’s efforts saw an amazing amount of success on the NES, I can’t help but feel that Willow is among the most impressive. It’s beautiful for an NES game – I know I can’t be the only one who is still sometimes taken aback by the battle scenes. When you wander into a clearing and the wind kicks up, blowing all the trees, grass, and water around as the dramatic battle theme’s intro kicks in – I thought it was the coolest effect as a kid, and I still find myself now saying wow when I see it. The music is just as good as the graphics, too – it carries the unmistakable signs of being a Capcom production, but the soundtrack is head and shoulders above most of their NES games. I swear I could go fifty years without touching it and I’d still remember every song without difficulty.

I think I’d have to say that I actually prefer the NES game to the film that inspired it!

*Side note: there are two spots where I cut out a bit of level grinding – once before meeting Fin Raziel the first time, and again right before entering Nockmaar Castle for the final time. I tried to make these edits clear by showing the status screen when the jumps happen. All together those sections account for probably an hour or so of beating up on enemies. Nothing else was cut from the video.

I’ve already done a fairly lengthy write-up on Willow, so if you are interested in my thoughts and reflections on the game, please feel free to check out my article at

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No cheats were used during the recording of this video.

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42 Comments

  1. This game was pretty amazing for its time

  2. I never knew bout this game as a kid. The movie i have on dvd and blu-ray. Imma hunt this game down. It's Zelda likeish.

  3. Finally, it's nice to come across a full NES gameplay of one of my absolute favorite childhood movies of all time! I was eight years old when Willow came out in theaters and I still watch the movie annually as a tradition back when classic 80's practical effects were an industry standard for monster effects. CG effects are, to this day, still hokey as hell to me! That and there are no more Madmartigan character archetypes in movies or games anymore – he is the greatest "swordsman" that ever lived!

  4. Watching the movie and this game make me want to read the novelized version which contain elements not shown in the film.

  5. I played this game as a child, and every time I had a battle at the beginning of the game, the grass and tree animation scared the hell out of me. I never beat it then, but a few years went by and when my wisdom teeth got removed, and I was bedridden for a few days, I finally beat the game.

  6. "It may be heavy and hard to use at first, but you should get used to it after a few fights"

    Fluid 5 frame swing effortlessly with grace and 2 frame stabbing animation first few swings

  7. This game is really underrated. Its complex yet accessible and the style is so rich.

  8. Best playthrough, others are boring because the player dont use the magic powers and dont do another thing, but beat with phisical attacks so

  9. Well this is awkward…

    Anyway, I just picked up a Switch and I'm guessing this won't be on the Acrade any time soon. Very sad.

  10. Its Zelda for Hobbit lovers

  11. Amazing game for its time. Confusing as hell, but incredible graphics for the NES. Music sounds very Scottish/English which is pretty cool.

  12. As a kid I found the wind effect signifying the danger of lurking enemies very unsettling.

  13. If you like this game, try Robin Hood Prince of Thieves for NES.

  14. Airk approves of Wonder swords placement. Makes his sacrifice and gift so much more worth it.

  15. Back then as a child, I was terrified to see the trees moving when I was playing the game. This was a part of childhood. Though I did not really understood the story that time, I was able to finish the game.

  16. How did you gain so much experience for 1:02:35–1:02:44?

  17. Never even knew this game existed, and Willow is one of my fave fantasy films! Why did I not know?? 😞

  18. 16:03 Golden idols give the light of life?

    "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
    -John 8:12

  19. Willow looking like Kirby disguised as a human

  20. The game is sounds like Zelda 1 right?

  21. I loved this game as a kid and would play it constantly if I wasn't playing a Mario game with my brother. I never had Legend of Zelda growing up on the NES and this was pretty close. It was years before I actually saw the movie the game was based on but I really have fond memories of playing it. Thank you for the nostalgia.

  22. OMG! I haven’t played this game in YEARS.

  23. It took me nearly eight hours to pass this game in the Summer of 91. I was tired, hungry, and paranoid towards the end. I don't know what the hell I was thinking but I was so hooked on it, I couldn't let go

  24. Willow on nes, good game!

  25. as a kid, i thought that this is zelda 3…but wondering where the hell link and zelda. great game

  26. it's from 1989?!
    Graphics-wise i would say that it came out in 1992 or 1993, in Late NES years.
    I'm surprised to see such amazing NES graphics in 1989.

  27. this game was one of a kind. i played it back in 90 or 91 i cant remember for sure but i did remember the songs it played. i was hooked for awhile the game was addicting i never got to finish it i have yet to play through this game 🙂

  28. What the hell are those graphics? Damn this game looks good considering the time it came out. Actually I would say this is the best looking nes rpg in 1988

  29. I just realized the words "Oh Willow! I'll take you anywhere you need to go" matches the melody of the dialogue music. I know it's a silly comment but nevertheless 🙂

  30. I love this game lve always saw in the store bye

  31. Mind blowing effects! Amazing graphics! And music! It could have been easily a game for Super Nintendo 🙂

  32. Remember in grandschool when a friend of mine talked about this game like it would be a final fantasy game..

  33. Wow just those first notes of the intro immediately take me back. Underrated yet excellent game.

  34. Best music in a game period

  35. This was a great NES game. One of those times where you pick up a game for superficial reasons(I loved the movie as a kid) and it ends up being a gem.

  36. I found maybe half of the "bad" or "unfairly hard" games of the NES era are really just more ahead of their time and without the technology to truly do them justice.
    Also I love the effect of the two towers. Though I really find the bubble enemies quite annoying, good for grinding, but annoying none the less.

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