36 levels of complex enjoyment.
GRAPHICS: The graphics in this game are simply beautiful. Whether it be the simple wall blocks which can be repeated hundreds of times in a wall without getting old, or the complicated backgrounds, some levels should be stared at as well or played. My paticular favorites included the final areas in episodes 2 and 4, and the first in 1. The sprites are all very well done as well, and while the graphics may all be 16x16, it's not at all noticable while playing.
GAMEPLAY: The gameplay is the kind that shows there's a reason the level designer gets paid. Complex mazes of sheer platforming fun, Hocus Pocus takes the same few objects into 36 levels and still comes out good. You can be sure Hocus has played his last trick on you, and suddenly you notice you've shot yourself into a room with no exit.
GRAPHICS: There were a few graphics bugs now and then. In 1-3, with the 2x2 background blocks, the wrong corner would sometimes show up. 2-2 had a 2x1 block cut in half and used as two different 1x1 blocks, while 1-1 (and the other place that used it) had several bugs where bricks would fail to end.
GAMEPLAY: If there's one downside to the gameplay of this game, it's the AI. Enemies come in four types - walking back and forth, walking back and forth and shooting at you, flying around randomly, and flying around shooting at you. I know that sounds like it incorporates most any simple AI imaginable, but in reality the enemies simply are the same few, only with different graphics. Whether a giant bear dog or a tiny spider, it still runs at you when it shoots at you. The bosses in all but episode 2 are kind of pathetic, and just occasionally (like level 3 of episode 1) the level design bogs down.
The Bottom Line
What's there not to like? Hocus Pocus, though it may show it's age occasionally, is entertainment from beginning to end, however long that may take. And of course, after that, play it all again. And again. And again. The graphics are wonderful, the level design is certainly not something to miss, and the music is nice too.
What's missing? Well, a level/tileset editor would be nice. And, of course, the sequel talked about in the ending...