It Came From Japan

Holy Diver

こんにちは everyone! Today I’m bringing out the big guns, it’s about time that I tell you about one of the Famicom games that I would consider to be on my top 5 list of exclusive Famicom titles. So needless to say you should definitely check out if you have a chance. It’s called Holy Diver, and amazingly enough it actually is based on the song by Dio or the cover by Killswitch Engage.


When I was playing the game, it felt like a mix between Castlevania, Getsu Fuma Den and threw in some Mega Man just for fun. Even graphics-wise it really is reminiscent of the Castlevania series so if you are a fan of those games you will feel right at home. The company with the crazy idea to release a game like this was Irem, which is the same company that put out Spelunker II, Lot Lot and Kickle Cubicle; for me personally, this game is definitely the best out of the Irem games that I have played. In Japan Holy Diver hit the shelves in April of 1989, but of course like many other Famicom games it never saw the light of day in North America.

Story-wise there was no manual or anything with my copy so I wasn’t too sure what was going on. There aren’t any movie sequences or anything telling you a story so you just get tossed right into the action of the game. So being very curious especially with the song tie in, I did some research and found a few different versions of the story. The first guy had the instruction manual but couldn’t read Japanese so he made up a story based on seeing 666 in the text. He thought your character was sent to save the world and had to kill the devil. Luckily I soon found a translation of the story right from the manual…

“Resurrected-The Legend of the Holy Magic King’s Justice
It is the 666th year of the world of magic. The Black Slayer, Demon King of the Underground Dark Empire, has extended the world of darkness and weakened the power of King Crimson whose wisdom has guided the world of magic for generations.
The 16th Crimson Emperor Ronnie 4th entrusted his two infant sons, Randy and Zack, to his faithful servant Ozzy. The three escaped the forces from another dimension in the hope to bring light back into the world.

The next 17 years were difficult but Randy, Zack, and Ozzy devoted themselves to the cause of Holy Magic Justice. The Black Slayer had further extended his empire over the countryside and the interdimensional forces were even more powerful. Randy needed to find the Royal Coat Of Arms of the Crimson to battle the demons. He set out alone to carry out the will of his surrogate father Ozzy who had passed away. Thus begins the Legend Of The Holy Magic King’s Justice.”

So Ronnie (lead singer of Dio former lead singer of Black Sabbath) Ozzy like Ozzy Osbourne and Zack is like Zakk Wylde are all represented here. Still seems very odd to me that the game is based on a heavy metal song, but that theory does seem to be legit when you see things like that. I do know one thing, though: the game definitely does have some really good catchy music which is nice compared to some games that have the same song playing throughout the whole thing! So to sum it up you basically battle demons, with rock stars as characters, that’s enough of a story for me!


When you start off the game you aren’t equipped with a big sword like I would have expected, but instead you use magic which is in projectile form. It’s just like if you were using the mega buster in Mega Man. If you had to do close combat with punching, this game would be impossible to beat! It definitely tests your reflexes, those enemies are fast and there are tons of them at once!


This game features unlimited continues, which already is a sign that its probably going to pretty difficult. But at least you don’t have to contend with using up all of your continues and starting over again so that is nice! It’s definitely not going to be the easiest game you’ve ever played, but it’s challenging in a good way. I’m one of those people who love to play difficult games just for the sense of accomplishment I get when I do make progress, so this game is right up my alley.



I’ve recorded myself playing through the first level of the game (this is the first time I’ve ever played). Apparently I couldn’t figure out how to finish off the level after I beat the boss and I stand there awkwardly for a while. Once I figured it out you see this screen.


Totally reminds me of Mega Man!

This is a definite must play or buy for anyone who likes games like Castlevania, Mega Man, or even Ninja Gaiden. I love me some platforming games and this one definitely fits the bill! If you get a chance to play this game please let me know what you thought of it! I’m really curious to see if other people liked it as much as I do! So until next time さようなら!