Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39520)
Written on  :  Dec 11, 2004
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

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Chaos in the Land of Wor

The Good

In this action game from the early '80s, you play a worrior who has the task of going through a series of dungeons and killing various types of monsters. After you have killed all monsters on screen, you proceed to the on; but occasionally, you meet the Worluk, an insect that roams around the dungeons. Kill it before it escapes and you points will double for the next dungeon. On rare occasions, you meet the Wizard of Wor, and killing him will also give you double points for the next dungeon.

The C-64 version that I am reviewing is the version that was released for the American market. There is one that was released in Japan also, but I can't stand this release. You have to put up with this annoying three-note melody while you play; and it has poor layouts, poor graphics, and hardly any character animations.

The US version, however, looks and plays like the original arcade game. Everything that was found in the coin-op can be found in the C-64 version – the music, maze layouts, animations, you name it. One of the memorable moments of playing the coin-op is listening to the sampled speech as you play. Although this speech is missing in this version, this didn't stop me from blasting as many monsters as I could before running out of all my lives.

Wizard of Wor also poses a challenge, especially to players who have just got into the game. If you don't blast all the monsters in a certain amount of time, they would gradually run around the mazes at an insane speed, making it hard for you to kill them and this means that it is more likely that you lose one of your lives.

To help you, you are supplied with a radar at the bottom of the screen that will help you locate monsters in the maze, especially invisible ones. Each individual monster is given a different color depending on their appearance in the maze. The Burwors, for example, are blue; and the Garwors and Thorwars are yellow and red respectively. If there are too many of these monsters on screen at once, it makes the radar look more colorful.

The highlight of Wizard of Wor is the two-player option. You can walk around the dungeons with a friend, with you blasting the monsters on your half of the screen, and your friend blasting the monsters on his. This is ideal for finishing dungeons much quicker. Also, the game allows you to blast each other for no reason – a precursor to multiplayer games like Doom and Quake, where the object is to “frag” each other. As far as I know, no other retro game allows you to do this.

The Bad

Apart from the lack of speech, there is nothing bad about this game.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Wizard of Wor is an addictive game where you basically go around a series of dungeons and blast monsters and use your equipped radar to track down invisible ones, and you can call in a friend to help instead of going it alone. The C-64 version is faithful to the original coin-op version as it has exactly the same sounds and graphics.

Playing Wizard of Wor with two players is recommended. Not only will you finish the mazes a lot quicker, but you can shoot each other once in a while. But if you haven't got another player handy, you can still enjoy the game.