The Wikipedia entry for Rygar does not mention it being a Metroidvania. This is correct. Rygarmanias precede Metroidvanias. The first Castlevania that was an official Metroidvania was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night which came out in March 1997. Even if you wanted to call Castlevania II: Simon's Quest a Metroidvania it was still preceded by Rygar by 4 months, both being released in 1987. The term -vania doesn't even make sense, they should really just be called "-troids". Metroid preceded both Castlevania II: Simon's Quest and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
Now, you might say, "Surely, then, Rygar must be a Rygroid or a Metrogar." Wrong.
A Rygarmania is superior to a -troid or "Metroidvania" because it incorporates perspective shifts and talking to NPCs. The game begins in side-scrolling mode. At points dictated by map movement (of your choice), you enter scintillating top-down mode. An entire system was developed and released by Nintendo to capture the perspective shift phenomenon. The system was called Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) and the technology was called Mode 7. I'm also nearly positive that Sony developed the Playstation purely so you could talk to NPCs in a variety of games. Rygar was capable of perspective shifts, item collecting, freedom of movement and deep philosophical debates with NPCs in the year 1987.
Rygar was the first Rygarmania. Researchers have since discovered two additional Rygarmanias, Bionic Commando (NES) and Zelda II: Adventure of Link (NES).
Please list other games of the superior Rygarmania genre in this thread.