Rygar is an open-world action-adventure game where the player assumes the role of a "Legendary Warrior" who battles through a hostile landscape. The main form of attack is a spinning shield on a chain called the "diskarmor," which is tossed out like a yo-yo. The game is primarily set from a side-scrolling perspective, but there are also some occasional top-down sections.
The game is based on an Arcade game of the same name, but the original version of the game is a straightforward action game, with none of the story or freedom allowed by this NES release.
Over time, Rygar (known simply as the Legendary Warrior in Japanese versions of the game) collects additional items that open up access to different parts of the game, with the end goal being a final confrontation with the evil Ligar, who lives in a sky castle high above the land of Argool.
Note: This page refers to the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Rygar, which was an open-world action-adventure game, not the linear Arcade release and its many ports which can be found here.
"4.5 billion years have passed since Earth's creation. Many dominators have ruled in all their glory, but time was their greatest enemy and it defeated their reign. And now a new dominator's reign begins..."
From the opening of the Arcade game
While this is very abstract, the manuals for the console releases reveal that the evil being Ligar has taken over the land of Argool, and that Rygar, a dead warrior who has risen from his grave, must use his Diskarmor along with a variety of other weapons to stop him. In console versions, clues and limited dialogue are given in the form of large, sage-like men encountered in stone green temples throughout the game. In the Japanese original, references to "Ligar" and "Rygar" are one and the same, due to the fact that the Roman syllables "Li" and "Ry" come from the same Japanese character. As such, the hero is only referred to as "The Legendary Warrior", while both "Rygar" and "Ligar" refer to the main villain.
The Japanese version of this game contains different music than its English localization.
Despite existing as a counterpart to an existing arcade game, this NES version of Rygar was released back into arcades on Nintendo's PlayChoice-10 hardware in 1987.