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Wicked logo  Zzap! Sizzler

Electric Dreams, Amiga 24.99
Wicked A beautiful, South American Sun God charm was the inspiration for a game which draws on legends from around the world to present the ultimate conflict between Good and Evil. You have been called into the Palace of the Shining Thrones to meet the Lord of Light. You've accepted the ritual of the ring of flame; your wrists and ankles tied by chains to an oaken ring which is set alight transforming you into a flaming star hurled out into the night sky to fight Evil.

The game begins with the bloodshot Eye of Infinity staring out at you from the centre of a ring of astrological signs. The first three signs are green, meaning you can travel to Scorpio, Libra or Virgo to battle evil there. The further around the ring you go, the tougher Evil becomes, and if you complete Virgo then a further three constellations are accessible. Once you select a constellation a map unfurls showing the stars which make it up, click en a star and the first battle begins.

On the left of the battle screen is you, a star, along with yellow growth and portals. On the right is an Evil guardian (such as a triple-headed dragon or the Devil) and Evil growth and portals - which are blue. The aim of the game is to eliminate Evil portals by surrounding them with Good growth. It is portals that create growth, and spores that can be picked up and placed to create more portals. Good growth can only surround Evil portals if all the Evil growth surrounding them is shot away. Evil growth, by contrast can replace good growth relentlessly unless kept in check by being shot.

At the centre of the screen is either a Sun face or the Beast, these alternate to show night and day. Only during the day are good spores created, and the Evil guardian vulnerable to your shots. On the harder constellations the days become very short indeed.

Once every day and night a Tarot card appears on the central face and a crystal flies out - what you get by collecting it depends on the Tarot card. Learning to read the cards is vital if you want to defeat Evil before time runs out. If you find the standard game too difficult, then you can also choose to play either a Tactical or Arcade version.

Zzap! Issue 51, July 1989, p.p.76-77

Stuart Wynne First impressions are often misleading which is certainly the case here. Despite some good sampled sound effects and neat graphic touches, presentation isn't state of the art.
Similarly gameplay, which at first seems merely to be whizzing around shooting lots of stuff, looks unimpressive. But once you start playing Wicked it really comes into its own, becoming fiendishly addictive. Like all classic shoot-'em-ups simply blasting everything in sight won't get you far, you've also got to work out tactics - often subconsciously - to win. On higher levels, for example, it's vital you use the Good spores to go after certain clumps of Evil growth one at a time. Try to take them all on simultaneously and you'll be overwhelmed. Wicked may lack the arcade graphics of games like Forgotten Worlds, but it offers the superior arcade experience: unbelievable playability, an enthralling mystical atmosphere and unrelenting action. Buy it now!

Robin Hogg While the graphics are little more than average with spot effects to match, gameplay is so addictive this is of negligible concern. To match the Tarot atmosphere the music is mean, moody and superb (well, I thought so). The difficulty level is so well crafted you don't notice the tension building up. The pace soon gets ever more frantic as evil spores erupt all over the place with total disregard for my blood pressure (anyone got past Pisces yet?). Wicked is well wicked! (Sorry, I had to say it.)

SURVIVAL SYSTEMS

Tarot cards are the West's most important system of occult, symbolic knowledge. Originating in Midieval times Tarot is made up of 22 trump cards (the Greater Arcana) and 56 other cards (the Lesser Arcaba) from which ordinary playing cards are derived. Like the Chinese I Ching Tarot cards are often used for fortune telling.
In Wicked there are eight cards:
The Sun - Fire in all directions.
The Moon - Attracts Guardian.
The Star - Multiple.
The Lion - Shield.
Tower of Destruction - Increase Evil Growth.
Death - Extra Life.
Hanged Man - Time Limit decreases.
Wheel of Fortune - Good and Evil energy reversed.

PRESENTATION 92%
Spooky intro tune and a good, animated explanation of the game.
GRAPHICS 85%
Extremely effective, lots of nice touches but overall not superlative use of the Amiga.
SOUND 90%
Church bells when you complete a constellation and ominous 'o,' sound FX help establish an eery atmosphere.
HOOKABILITY 92%
Starts off relatively easy, but soon gets tougher.
LASTABILITY 92%
12 constellations plus three different versions of the game make for a substantial challenge.
OVERALL
92%
An incredibly atmospheric, original and extremely playable shoot-'em-up. A classic.