Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39505)
Written on  :  Mar 23, 2009
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars

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Add a little bit of color to your world

The Good

For many years, Wiz and his friend Cat lived happily in WizWorld, a brightly colored land targeted by the evil Zark. He sends his horrible sprites to eliminate WizWorld of its brilliance and render all landscapes drab and gray. Both Wiz and Cat need to destroy the sprites and restore WizWorld to its former glory.

The first thing that drew me in was the title screen. The music, written by Martin Galway, was the best piece that I have heard of any C64 game in the '80s, and it is proof that the C64 was the only 8-bit machine that can produce high quality soundtracks. In addition to the music, you can read information about the game by pressing the [Space] bar. Reading these three pages of information made me feel as if I was reading an online manual.

The aim of the game is navigate Wiz through WizWorld shooting molecules and collecting the green pearls that they leave behind. The green pearls are actually power-ups that are activated by wiggling the joystick left and right. When you first meet Wiz, it is hard to control him as he bounces all over the place, but as you activate more power-ups, things are much easier for you. While playing this game, I like activating all the power-ups just to make sure that nothing stands in my way. Once you have destroyed enough molecules, the real action begins.

Zark's goons will head toward Wiz, shooting at him. These enemies are drawn nicely and, even now and then, they shoot something at Wiz that you have to avoid. Destroying them will possibly award you with more pearls. More often than not, red, green, or blue balls will appear, and shooting these will cause droplets of the same color to fall. If you activate Cat, he can be used to collect these droplets before they reach the ground. Doing this will fill one of the three flasks with the appropriate color.

You need to travel between different levels by going through holes in the surface and embedded into certain structures so that you can allow Cat to collect droplets of a different kind. Each level has some nice graphics. The colors are also nice once you remove the gray you see when you start the level. If you have filled up enough flasks, you are transported away to a bonus section where you have to shoot some aliens while you are heading to the WizLab. toward your lab. I enjoyed seeing how long I can survive without getting killed.

The sound is excellent. As I have stated above, the music on the title screen is the best soundtrack that I have heard in a C64 game to date. While playing the game, there is some background noise that (to me) sounds like some sort of space creature chirping away in the distance. When you lose all your lives, the words “game over” appears which is accompanied by a very short tune written on an electronic guitar. This tune sounded very good to me.

The Bad

The ending is a disappointment. From such a great game like Wizball, I expected some cut-scenes and some text. But no. All you get is an ending that is one screen long, and you are thrown back to the beginning of the game.

The Bottom Line

Wizball is a great game that anyone with a C64 should play through at least once. The music that plays on the title screen is well composed, and this goes for the music playing in the bonus section as well. It is good that the developers allowed users to press the [Space] bar to read information about the game. What you have to do in the game – obtain power-ups, shoot sprites and balls, get Cat to collect droplets, etc. – is excellent. Each of the landscapes look colorful once you get rid of that dull gray. The lab in which you mix potions looks good. There are 16-bit versions with better graphics, but I think that the C64 version is the best of the lot.