"We're Off To Kill The Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard Of Wor..." (Incredible Wizard Review, Astrocade)

Buy This Item Man, I used to play this game at a Montgomery Wards back in the day (THE only place I had ever seen an in-store display of the Bally Astrocade, which never really got any respect). Never being much of a contender in the fierce video game console war (or "wor", ha ha), or at least not here in the States, the Astrocade ceased production a couple of years later, Montgomery Wards is also dead, and I don't feel very good either (har!). However, this was a pretty good port of the Wizard of Wor arcade game.

In the arcade game, you (known as a "worrior"; ugh) blasted your way through 15 mazes (if you could get that far) filled with fantasy creatures and a deadly wizard (which would seem to come straight out of a J. R. R. Tolkien fantasy novel, except for not being able to explain why your character looks like some kind of a futuristic astronaut, complete with flamethrower backpack). You and/or another player started out easily picking off creatures in the mazes, using a warp tunnel to travel from one side of a maze to the other, and hoping the dreaded wizard wouldn't show up and blast you with a lightning bolt. Touchy guy/tough room(s)...

Wizard

Unfortunately things didn't stay easy for long, as you could get shot by accident by the other player (or if you believe that "there are no accidents", then you'll know who's butt to kick later), the creatures started moving faster in no time, started shooting, and could be invisible at times as well, with their locations only marked by the scanner at the bottom of the screen (which doesn't show the dungeon walls, so creatures' positions are still a bit difficult to pinpoint; that scanner must've been made by the same people who came up with the Ford Pinto), plus the later mazes can have areas that are wide open, giving opportunities for monsters to shoot at you from all sides (which made you realize how the space ship in Asteroids felt).

Like I said with my Colecovision review of Zaxxon, there really isn't much to talk about here after going over the arcade version, as this is a pretty decent port of it, although it's a little easier. The graphics are also a bit more "cutsy" looking, I guess you could say, although the controls responded pretty well. There was also far less flicker than the Atari 2600 port (granted, the Astrocade was a more powerful console, but I'm just pointing out the obvious), although I don't know how the 5200 port of the game compared, since I've never played it.

Games like this for the Astrocade kind of make you wonder what kind of contender Bally could have been if they spent a lot more on television and print ads and all. They were a big enough arcade company as it was, so why couldn't their home division have had a bigger budget?

Perhaps they didn't have any wizards in accounting. Rating: 8/10

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Anonymous, 10/5/2013 12:31:28 AM
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