King's Knight (NES)

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King's Knight
King's Knight - NES.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1986
Developer: Bits Laboratory

King's Knight is a game that one would expect to be an RPG, but not quite. Instead, it combines a vertical shooter with RPG elements. There are five stages; one for each character, and the final stage, in which all four characters are together.

The first stage is Rayjack the Knight, the second stage is Kaliva the Wizard, the third level is Barusa the Monster, and the fourth level is Toby the Thief.

Five levels may sound easy, but it's actually the complete opposite; the game has been criticized heavily for its brutal difficulty. While the player gets a health bar, it can be depleted in just a few hits, as the enemies do tons of damage. To find powerups for health, weapons, and other things, you must shoot the environment. However, this can cause enemies to spawn and come after you, so you must be careful. On top of its brutal difficulty, the game can't be completed unless the player finds four hidden artifacts on each stage. Collecting these powerups causes the character the player is currently playing as to "level up." If the player loses a character, the game moves on to the next character.

Though most believe the game was developed by Square themselves, it was actually developed by Bits Laboratory, the same company responsible for the appalling Ghostbusters (NES).

The game was released for many home computers, but the NES version is the only version released outside of Japan.


King's Knight - NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

King's Knight - NES - Gameplay 1.png

The first level in the overworld.

King's Knight - NES - Gameplay 2.png

Fighting the first underworld boss, which are the same on all levels.

King's Knight - NES - Gameplay 3.png

Playing the second stage.

King's Knight - NES - Gameplay 4.png

Playing the third stage.

King's Knight - NES - Gameplay 5.png

Playing the fourth stage.


The game features 9 songs by Nobuo Uematsu, Square's lead composer at the time. They fit with the medieval theme of the game, but due to the poor quality of the sound engine, they don't sound as good as they could be. The game's sound driver's frequency table was programmed to play the music a quarter step (microtone) sharp, which can make it sound out of tune.

Nobuo most likely wrote his compositions on sheet music and sent it to the developers.


# Title ComposerProgrammer Length Listen Download
01 Press Start Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 0:05
02 Overworld Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 5:56
03 Underworld Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 1:27
04 Stage Clear Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 0:06
05 Help the Princess! Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 0:07
06 Final Stage Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 0:33
07 Final Boss Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 0:39
08 Death Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 0:03
09 Ending Nobuo UematsuYoshiaki Tsuruoka 1:01


(Verification from composer, other game credits; Game lacks credits.)

Nobuo has taken credit for composing the game's soundtrack. Oddly enough, this game doesn't have credits, something most Bits Laboratory titles did have. Since most Squaresoft games at the time didn't have credits, it's possible Squaresoft restricted the developers from putting their names in it, though the developer's name can be seen on the Japanese version's title screen. Yoshiaki Tsuruoka is credited in Ghostbusters for sound, and is credited in Magma Project Hacker (FDS) for music programming. Tadashi Sou, the other sound designer listed in Ghostbusters may have also helped work on this game's soundtrack arrangement, but Ghostbusters appears to be his only music credit, as he was usually attributed to graphic design. Additionally, Ghostbusters was developed and released around the same time as this game.

Audio Devices

The game uses the 2A03 of the NES for music and sound effects. The noise channel is never used for music, only sound effects. The game uses Yoshiaki Tsuruoka's sound driver, and uses the same variant used in Ghostbusters (NES).

Game Rip





  Japan.svg   Japan
King's Knight - FC.jpg
Title: キングスナイト (King's Knight)
Platform: Famicom
Released: 1986-09-18
Publisher: Squaresoft
  USA.svg   USA
King's Knight - NES.jpg
Title: King's Knight
Platform: NES
Released: 1989-09-??
Publisher: Squaresoft