Wizball

Moby ID: 526
DOS Specs
Included in See Also

Description official descriptions

In Wizball the player takes the role of the friendly wizard Wiz who can turn himself into a green ball that is able to defend his world against the color-sucking enemies who have turned his once brightly colored Wizworld into a drab planet. With his trusty feline companion Catelite, the wizard will restore the colors to the world by retrieving them from defeated enemies. There are eight levels to be completed.

The player starts out as a bouncing green ball that can shoot and be put into more or less heavy rotation to move slowly or faster, physically correct through the side-scrolling levels. The first task is to upgrade the ball by shooting the first non-moving enemies, and collect the green bubbles that are left by them. In order to stand a chance against the following moving enemy waves, some upgrades are a must. First and foremost, complete control over the ball should be activated (i.e. flying through the levels), a shield sheltering the top and bottom of the player's should be acquired, and two-way fire (left/right) should be obtained.

But the extra needed to advance in Wizball is your friend Catelite who will, once summoned, take the form of a small green satellite that will imitate the ball's movement, or can be directly controlled by the player. Besides upping Wiz' fire power, Catelite is able to collect paint drops left by a certain kind of defeated enemies until the respective color pot is filled up. There's three colors available (red, green and blue), and several different combinations of them must be collected to complete a level and restore it to former colorfulness. Every color combination collected will send Wiz to a bonus stage, then to his laboratory where one of the power-ups can be made permanently.

The game also features a bunch of multi-player modes, there's even a two-player cooperative mode amongst them.

Spellings

  • Wiz Ball - Alternate spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

Game Coding by
Graphic Design by
Aural Delights by

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 85% (based on 21 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 69 ratings with 3 reviews)

roll up another one dave

The Good
Ah the memories - The smell of splifs and coffee on a Sunday afternoon with all the misfits in Dave the Hippy's room - fighting over the joystick with Cumby. And this off-the-wall game which was like nothing I'd ever played before. Who knows why I cared about getting more colours and painting the picture - but I kept playing like a lunatic until I finally cracked it - very early on Monday morning. Don't forget to contact me via radio Gnome - and everything you know is wrong.

The Bad
nothing

The Bottom Line
wacky

Amiga · by OkayThanks (2) · 2004

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.

Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2009

A ! CLASSIC !

The Good
LITERALLY EVERYTHING !

The Bad
Has yet to be remade for VR.

The Bottom Line
Why are we even discussing this? Just play it and enjoy

Commodore 64 · by InactionMan64 · 2023

Discussion

Subject By Date
Screwed screen thumbs in here MZ per X (3017) Feb 16, 2010

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Wizball appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Andreas Axelsson

Andreas Axelsson, founder of and programmer at Digital Illusions (Pinball Dreams, Motorhead, Battlefield 1942 etc), said in an interview that Wizball was his all time favourite game.:

I always think about this game and how to recreate it.

Releases

About the platforms and publishers: Originally released as a booting game in Europe, Mindscape had the developers recompile to a DOS version to market in the US. Later, Mindscape's Thunder Mountain title remarketed it at bargain-bin prices.

Spectrum Version

The Spectrum version had a change of programmer midway through, Steven Watson left the company abruptly forcing Paul Owens to take over. This probably explains why the Bonus stage and Cop sprite were never added. Peter Clarke did write tunes for them, and had a couple of other unused sound effects. In 2017 Adrian Singh released a hack which made these sounds available from the main menu (and also changed the text over to the C64 version's custom font)

Awards

  • ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
    • March 1991 (issue #42) - Included in the list Greatest Games of all Time in category Shoot-'em-ups (editorial staff choice)
  • Commodore Format
    • July 1991 (Issue 10) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)
    • March 1994 (Issue 42) Heaven – The Path to Righteousness: 20 Essential Games
    • March 1994 (Issue 42) – Heaven: Music of the Gods
    • November 1994 (Issue 50) – #8 The All-Time Top 50 C64 Games
  • Computer and Video Games
    • May 1988 (Issue #79) - Golden Joystick 1988 Award: Runner up in category Best Original Game of the Year
  • Happy Computer
    • Issue 01/1988 - Best Action Game in 1987
  • Power Play
    • 1987 - Best C64 Game '87
    • 1987 - Best Music Track '87 (High score music)
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #25 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
  • Zzap!
    • Newsfield Reader's Awards 1987 - Best Shoot-'em-up (readers choice)
    • Newsfield Reader's Awards 1987 - Best Sound Effects (readers choice)
    • January 1990 (Issue 57) – 'The Best Games of the 80's Decade' (Stuart Wynne)

Information also contributed by Grov

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

Thomson TO added by Trypticon. Commodore 64 added by Isak. Antstream added by firefang9212. Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum added by Kabushi. Atari ST added by Martin Smith. Amiga added by Rantanplan.

Additional contributors: Trixter, nullnullnull, Martin Smith, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Game added December 5, 1999. Last modified February 13, 2024.