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SummaryA wonderful piece of artwork, especially on the Apple II
The GoodWizard and the Princess is another adventure from On-Line Systems that was released after Mystery House. One major feature is the use of high resolution graphics that looked great on the Apple II for its time. Now the “save the damsel” theme was quite common in the Eighties, and it set the scene for many movies and video games at that time. And we see this theme being introduced here.
The story revolves around King George. His daughter, Princess Priscilla, has been kidnapped by Harlin, a wizard who is terrorizing the peaceful land of Serenia. And it is up to the player to rescue Priscilla and defeat Harlin. Ken and Roberta, who were the founders of On-Line Systems, decided to take the theme to a whole new level. You see, George offers half his kingdom for the safe return of Priscilla.
To get through Wizard and the Princess, the player needs to input a two-word command, with the first part of the command being recognized by the game; and if the command isn't recognized, then the game will produce a “I don't know how to x something” error message. Also, the player meets a range of characters, with some of them not letting you pass until you give them something.
Besides the commands, the game has a few difficult bits. Actually, it is easy if you played King's Quest II or King's Quest III before. One of the characters is a gnome who will steal your possessions, no matter what you do. You have to find some way to enter the gnome's home and get them back. There is a lot of treasure hunting too, with you obtaining a shovel and doing quite a bit of digging here and there. Now I have no idea why are asked to do this. The most important thing of Wizard and the Princess is knowing how to get around in the game. You will get lost if you don't map your way, especially when you have to navigate the waters to get to other islands.
When it comes to the graphics, the authors managed to tweak the graphics so that the game uses more than 16 colors. As a result, most locations you visit are breathtaking, including the deserts, meadows and islands. Wizard and the Princess contains a lot of color graphics that were hand-drawn by Roberta herself and a paint program was used to fill the graphics with color. After that, Ken programmed the game.
The game doesn't use any sound, but a game like this doesn't need any. Wizard and the Princess was made in the early Eighties, and at that time sound wasn't commonplace yet. Actually, there is sound but all you will hear are a lot of beeps.
The BadWhen you go out in the desert at the beginning, most of the locations are the same. Some more obstacles could have been added that would not have been added. Sometimes, my disk failed to load some scenes for no reason. There is no sound in the game, and I could picture some events that could have used some sounds.
The Bottom LineWizard and the Princess is a slight improvement over Mystery House, with still no sound but color graphics being introduced in adventure games for the first time. Getting through the game requires commands to be executed, and it may take long to complete depending on whether you typed in the right commands. Without the use of maps, you may go around in circles trying to find where you need to be.
IBM created a DOS version called Adventure in Serenia. This is the exactly same game as Wizard and the Princess even though the company made it out as a sequel. If you enjoyed the game, then perhaps you like the next game in the Hi-Res Adventure series.