Rygar is an action-adventure title developed and published by Tecmo exclusively for the Nintendo X. While billed as a remake of the original game, it falls more into the "reimagining" camp than it does into the "remake" camp, as the gameplay is completely overhauled in lieu of a more hack and slash approach. The main premise is that the demon king Rygar was summoned from the underworld by the Cult of Argos, and has enslaved the five gods of Indora to conquer the continent of Indora. In a last-ditch effort to stop Rygar, the gods resurrect the legendary warrior Argus, the wielder of the Diskarmor. The gameplay is a mix of Devil May Cry and Dynasty Warriors, where Argus can use flashy and complex combos to fight hordes of enemies head-on by switching weapons in real-time, though unlike Devil May Cry, players can cycle through all weapons instead of only two. Aside from the Diskarmor, Argus also collects five other weapons throughout the game, each of them being bestowed upon him by the gods of Indora. They are:
- The Sword of Aquila, a sword that can harness the power of the water goddess, Aquila.
- The Spear of Pyris, a spear that can harness the power of the fire god, Pyris.
- The Bow of Aerous, a bow that can harness the power of the wind god, Aerous.
- The Gauntlets of Terran, a pair of gauntlets that can harness the power of the earth god, Terran.
- The Whips of Glacia, a pair of whips that can harness the power of the ice goddess, Glacia.
The gods can be rescued in any set order, and once all are rescued, Argus descends into the underworld to combat Rygar. After Rygar is defeated, a story campaign revolved around Rygar is unlocked featuring unique enemies and cutscene, showing how Rygar fought and imprisoned the five gods of Indora before Argus was resurrected. Rygar also plays very differently from Argus, only using his Dragon Claymore (a weapon original to TTL) to fight. This was not only aspect of Rygar that was resigned ITTL, as he is now designed with the physical appearance of a viking or a barbarian, rather than looking like a green monster with a lion's head.
Rygar is released on October 25th, 2002 for the Nintendo X, and sells around 1 million units in terms of lifetime sales. It is very positively-received, especially due to how expansive the combat can become as a result of the weapon-switching, leading to an endless number of combos the player can perform. It increases excitement for the upcoming Ninja Gaiden revival, though comments by Itagaki suggest that the Ninja Gaiden will be a "similar but different flavor" from Rygar. Tecmo greenlights a sequel almost immediately, establishing it as a flagship IP for them, alongside Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, Fatal Frame, and Tecmo Bowl.
Tecmo Bowl '03
Tecmo Bowl '03 is a sports simulation game, and the sequel to the two Tecmo Bowl games on the NES. While EA still retains the rights to the Madden NFL series, Tecmo struck a deal with NFLPA (as they did in the 80s) for a four year deal in which Tecmo would be allowed to use the likenesses of professional NFL players, albeit without the official team names and brandings. The game has twenty-eight teams in total, and its gameplay modes include standard match, split-screen multiplayer, arcade mode, tournament mode, the heavily-touted online mode, which allows players to play matches or even whole tournaments in an online setting, and retro mode, which emulates the 8-bit graphics and visual style of the first Tecmo Bowl game, with a Tecmo Super Bowl version available after beating arcade mode. The game also features four unlockable characters from Tecmo's other games, which are Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, Kasumi and Ayane from Dead or Alive, and Argus from Rygar.
Tecmo Bowl '03 goes head to head against Madden NFL '03, with fans of Madden making fun of Tecmo Bowl for being blinded by nostalgia, and Tecmo Bowl fans firing back by claiming that Madden fans were too close-minded to enjoy any other football or sports game. It also doesn't help that Madden NFL '03 was releasing on PC and PS2, while Tecmo Bow '03 was only releasing on the Nintendo X, while also made the fan arguments over both games an extension of the platform wars. Tecmo also decides to push the series in PAL territories in order to maximize sales, despite American football not being as popular as association football or rugby in said regions. Overall, Tecmo Bowl '03 receives favorable reviews and sells 5 million units worldwide, with the retro mode, guest characters, and online tournament mode helping distinguish it from Madden NFL '03.