Wizard of Wor

aka: Le Magicien de Wor, The Incredible Wizard, Wizard
Moby ID: 10745
Arcade Specs
Buy on Atari 5200
$19.50 used on eBay
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Description official descriptions

Wizard of Wor is an arcade shooter played from a top-down point of view.

The player controls a "Worrior" who is trapped in a dungeon. The goal is to earn as many points as possible by shooting the numerous enemy creatures which wander about the maze-like corridors. The creatures wander about at various speeds, may shoot darts at the player, and some even have the ability to disappear temporarily. At the bottom of the screen, the player has a radar which can be used to locate creatures that are invisible.

When the player completes a maze, a Worluk sometimes appears. This creature moves rapidly and will only be on the screen momentarily. If the player destroys the creature before it escapes, the next dungeon will become a double score dungeon and all creatures will be worth twice as many points. Occasionally the Wizard of Wor himself may appear! He moves quickly and can teleport around the maze. If they destroy him, the player will earn a large number of points.

The game may be played by one player or two players simultaneously. The players can cooperate to better defend against the enemy hordes — but shooting the other player's Worrior grants a large score bonus, which can potentially encourage competitive play.

Spellings

  • ウィザード・オブ・ウォー - Japanese spelling

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 85% (based on 12 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 46 ratings with 1 reviews)

Chaos in the Land of Wor

The Good
The early '80s saw quite an addictive game by Bally in which 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 next one. Occasionally, you meet the Worluk, an insect that roams around the dungeons. Kill it before it escapes and your points 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 game saw ports for Atari’s home systems, Bally Astrocade, and Commodore 64. The latter came in two forms. There was one for the Commodore MAX, a crippled version of the C-64 with only 2KB RAM. It was only released in Japan in 1982, and had an annoying three-note melody, poor layouts, crude graphics, and no animations. It was also hard as hell, with even the basic enemies trying to block your shots. Even the Wizard himself would zip from one side of the dungeon to the other in just half a second.

There is also a version that was released for the American market, that closely resembles the coin-op - 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. One of my favorite lines is “Now you meet the heavyweight. Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha”. Unless you have the Magic Voice plugged in, you won’t hear the samples, which greatly enhances the experience.

Wizard of Wor also poses a challenge, especially to players who have just gotten 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 incredible speeds, making it harder 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, in which the tiny squares represent each monster in the maze, and the color of the squares vary depending on their type. You need to keep an eye on this radar at all times. The Garwors and Thorwars (yellow and red monsters respectively) have the ability to cloak themselves. If there are too many of these monsters on screen at once, it makes the radar look more colorful. Many times have I gone too close to a warp tunnel and got killed by one of the monsters.

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
The beauty of the original coin-op is having the computer opponent play with you in a one-player game. This is missing in the C-64 version, so is the tutorial during the attract mode.

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 at 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.

Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43091) · 2022

Discussion

Subject By Date
American Release of the C64? Edwin Drost (9347) Mar 24, 2017

Trivia

C64 versions

Wizard of Wor was in fact ported twice to the C64. The first port was done for the release of the C64, and its little brother, the MAX Machine, in Japan. This cartridge was also released by Handic in Scandinavia. A bigger version was then made for the American release of the C64.

Game Art Beyond

In 2018, Wizard of Wor was selected as one of the biggest classics on the Commodore 64 by the creators of the C64 graphics collection Game Art Beyond. Wizard of Wor was honoured with a high resolution title picture (based on box artwork) in a special C64 graphics format called NUFLI. Before the image comes up, you can hear a short speech sample of the arcade version from the Wizard himself!

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Servo.

Atari 5200 added by RKL. Arcade, Bally Astrocade added by Kabushi. Atari 8-bit added by ZZip. Antstream added by lights out party.

Additional contributors: 80, Sciere, Alaka, Kabushi, Игги Друге, Malte Mundt.

Game added October 23, 2003. Last modified March 29, 2024.