Archon: The Light and the Dark is the NES port of a computer game developed by Free Fall Associates and distributed by Electronic Arts. The game is a strategy board game similar to chess, but with action sequences for battles.
The game was designed by Jon Freeman, Anne Westfall, and Paul Reiche III.
In Archon, each side has various monster pieces that the player must move around the board in order to take the pieces of their opponent. Once a piece is moved into the space of an enemy piece, the game switches to an arena where the two opponents face off by dodging enemy attacks and hitting back.
Each piece has a different set of stats, making some much stronger than others. It's possible for both pieces to be destroyed in a battle.
Different pieces feature different lifespans, weapon damage, and attributes such as fire range, speed, rate-of-fire, and power. Certain pieces also have special abilities.
- The Phoenix can turn into a ball of fire, both damaging the enemy and shielding itself from enemy attacks.
- The shapeshifter assumes the shape and abilities of whatever piece it is up against.
- Each side also has a spellcaster piece (the Sorceress for the dark side, the Wizard for the light side) that can cast seven different spells; each spell may be used only once per game by each spellcaster.
The game is over when either one side destroys all the opposing pieces or is able to occupy all of the five power points on the board. Rarely, a side may also win by imprisoning its opponent's last piece. The game can end in a tie if the last battle is a double kill.
Archon eventually received a couple sequels and remakes, but none were released to consoles. These included Archon II: Adept, Archon Ultra by Strategic Simulations, Inc. and the unlicensed fan sequel, Archon 3: Exciter.
In 2008, React Games acquired the license from Free Fall to develop the Archon title across multiple platforms and released an iPhone version and Archon: Conquest for the iPhone, as well as Archon: Classic for Windows.
A spiritual successor was created for the Playstation entitled The Unholy War. It was also designed by Paul Reiche III.