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Wizkid logo  Amiga Format Gold

The Wizard and Wizball have been kidnapped by the evil Zark. Ready your joystick and prepare for excitement as you try to rescue them in Ocean's new platform game cum adventure game cum shoot-em-up. Sounds weird? It is.
Wizkid There are no two ways about it, this is a very strange game. Wizkid is the type of game that French programmers seem to churn out with monotonous regularity, but it's better than anything I've seen over the English Channel for a very long time. I'm not saying that it's fundamentally bizarre; it's just a cutesy platform game, but hiding within Wizkid's structure is a mischievous intelligence.

The colourful graphics and irritating tunes that pervade the game simply can't hide the fact that the people who wrote it were having wicked fun. Unheard of! Coders enjoying their work indeed – what is the world coming to! But the benefit to you and I is that we'll enjoy playing it at least as much as they enjoyed writing it, and possibly even more.

Pinball wizkid
You play Wizkid, the son of the Wizard of Wizball. Hold on a second; unless you've got a very long memory you probably don't know what the hell the shoot-'em-up classic Wizball is. Never fear, here at Amiga Format we don't like to leave our readers guessing, so if you glance around these pages you'll find a box explaining just what it's all about.

Your dad, the Wiz, and Wizball have been captured by Zark who is holding them captive in his castle. You have to travel to his island while freeing kittens on the way. If you're successful, you'll face a final showdown with Zark and have the chance to liberate your parents so everyone can live happily ever after. But if you fail, the Wizard and Wizball will remain incarcerated until you improve your playing technique.

Acid casualties
The playfields are themed quite strangely - traveling towards the castle is sometimes taking a strange, LSD-fuelled trip. Along the way you meet a host of cute-looking animals and people, all of whom prove to be less than friendly to touch. Headbutting the objects on the screen can help you on your quest. They are easily dislodged and when they hit the little unicycling clowns or the multi-coloured butterflies (see what I mean about weird) it splatters them most effectively. And this is just the easy bit!

If you can get one 'thing' to hit more than one creature, a bubble is created. If you hare around the screen and manage to collide with the bubble, it will burst to create a musical note. If you get enough notes to fill the stave at the top of the screen, the tune shown by the notes is played. I did tell you it's a strange game, didn't I?

Not all the bubbles contain notes, however. Some have clown's noses in them and some have sets of false gnashers. If you burst a 'nose' bubble you will gain the ability to 'juggle' dislodged scenery on your head. This may sound like a superfluous talent, but it can prove very useful. You see, on some levels there is a short supply of things to headbut at the nasties, so being able to keep once piece of debris going for a while can be very useful. On some screens you can just dislodge an item and sit there with it bouncing on your head until all the baddies run into it and expire. And when you are juggling things, you can throw them anywhere you choose by moving the joystick in the desired direction.

The false teeth, or thunderchoppers as they're called, are almost as useful. When possessed of a pair you have the ability to pick up (in your teeth, of course) any item of scenery just by pressing fire as you headbut it. Once you've picked something up, you can move around the screen with it in your grasp until you are in the best position, then let go of the fire button and bomb the baddies. Both of the extra powers take a little getting used to, but soon you'll have developed a preference for one or the other. After that, playing the game without the power-up will seem like a real chore. To help you get the hang of using the power-ups, the first level of the game is a training school, where a character called B.D. Snail teaches you the basics of the game's control method – do pay attention, you'll need the skills soon enough.

Life's great adventure
It gets even more complicated when you discover that this isn't just a simple platform romp. There are huge great gobbets of adventure/role-playing game lurking in there too. When you have completed several screens of a level you will have created and burst enough bubbles to play a tune, at which point the notes will fall from the stave at the top of the screen and rain down as money. Collect the money as it falls – if you let a coin bounce more than a few times on the bottom of the screen it disappears. Once all the money has gone, you will be presented with the shop screen. Make sure to buy items with care: some are useless and if you fill your pockets with them you'll have no room left for the more useful trinkets.

After you've bought everything, or spent all your money, you can choose to exit to either the head or the body. Exiting to the head will take you back into the game – fine if you need to earn more money, but exiting to the body is what it's really about. The arcade platform bit just allows you to make the moolah, but to have any chance of completing the game you have to spend it wisely and then use your powers of reason and logic so you can use the things you've bought in the best possible way. Now hold on a second, we're not talking a Secret of Monkey Island-level adventure here! If you don't have a particular object, Wizkid will give you some pretty big clues. So big, in fact, that they include showing you a picture of the object you need – you don't require an 'A' level in role-playing games to stand a chance in this outing.

The secret screens and little scenarios you can get into by exiting to head are often hilarious and, although you could feasibly finish the game without going via these routes, it is well worth it just for the extra fun you'll have. Almost every level has a secret screen to access and most have more than one. The only exception seems to be the 'Ghost of Wizkid Past' level, but you never know, it might just be that we haven't found it yet.

The secret screens aren't the only subgame elements. Every so often, apparently at random, you will be given an option to do a crossword for points. Give it a whirl, you don't lose anything if you fail. Each crossword is themed to the level you are on at the time, but be warned! They are very difficult ant the time limits are short.

Amazement arcade
The action and adventure continues through nine (increasingly difficult) levels until you have finished the main part of the game.
Now you have to rely on how well you have done so far to help you with the final showdown: a boat race to Zark's island. Your crew is made up of the kittens you have released throughout the game, and not enough kittens means not enough speed. Zark will be able to beat you to his castle and pull up the drawbridge – at this point it's 'game over' time and back to the beginning.

If you have a powerful enough team to make it to the castle before Zark then you must battle him at a game of his choice. I can't really see why Wizkid doesn't do the decent thing and run through him with a sword so the Wizard and Wizball can be liberated, but that's not the way it goes. I'm not going to say too much about the final encounter, except that you will need as much money as you can get. Oh, and a great love of classic arcade games wouldn't go amiss either.

With Wizkid (and Parasol Stars) Ocean have released two great arcade games in as many months. It makes you wonder why they keep putting out lame film licences when they can produce software of this quality. But they only produce what they think they will sell, and it's you and I who do the buying.
So rather than gnashing and grinding on about how crap Terminator 2 was why not go out and buy some quality software like this instead? You know it makes sense.
Marcus Dyson

Amiga Format, Issue 37, August 1992, p.p.54-56



"It gets even more complicated when you discover that Wizkid isn't just a simple platform romp. There are huge great gobbets of adventure/role-playing game lurking in there too."


Sensible Software's John Hare WHY IS WIZKID SO WEIRD? We asked John Hare, of Wizkid programmers Sensible, what possessed them to write such a bat's-arse game. He had this to say: "Because we used to write games like that all the time, but they weren't commercial enough. We knew we could get away with Wizkid because of Wizball's reputation. You don't often get that much opportunity to experiment with new ideas. For example, what can you do with Mega lo Mania, or Sensible Soccer that's really new? With a game like Wizball, you've got the freedom to decide what you want. It's not hard to come up with crappy game ideas, but it's harder to do something more interesting."
AF: How long did it take?
JH: "Two bloody years!" But Chris Yates, the other half of Sensible, enjoys splitting hairs: "23 months!" he cries from the background.
AF: What's next?
JH: "Well, we're not doing another Wiz game for the foreseeable future [mind you, Wizkid was nearly six years after Wizball]. That's not to say it's dead, but not for a while. We're having a rest!"

Wizworld

A trip around Wizworld. These are the levels Wizkid has to complete:
1. Sunset Wizovard: A bit of a cruise, this easy.
2. Ahoy Wiz Maties: An underwater adventure – get the oxygum.
3. Mount Wizimanjaro: In the heart of the volcano – choose the right door.
4. Elementree My Dear Wizkid: Don't get stumped by this level.
5. Ghost of Wizkid Past: The vampires in this level are very difficult to beat.
6. Wizkid and the Wizball Mystery: A bit of a shoot-em-up to keep things exciting.
7. Wizkid Goes to the Circus: Prepare yourself for some death-defying stunts.
8. Wizkid Meets Dog Girl: What did this poor girl do to deserve such mockery?
9. Jail House Wizfirst Level: Crack the shell to reveal vast riches – you'll need 'em.

WALK THE BODY

If you collect enough bubbles to play a tune, you will be transported to the shop screen. In each shop you can buy items that will be of use in your quest for kittens and diamonds. That is, provided you have collected enough money.

Shop sreen

If you choose the 'exit to body' item from the shop, you will be presented with the current level screen with no floating 'scenery' on it. It looks pretty dull at first, but if you've bought and collected the right things on the way through the game, you'll discover that you can do things and go places on the screen. Let's take a look at just some of these 'secret' levels:

If you take a carrot, you can take a donkey to water...

...but you can't make him swim. You'd better jump for it.

Pink! You're in the ladies, sunshine! The gents is next door.

Ooh! Look at that, it's a red diamond. Pick it up.

How much is the doggie in the window? Jump on the woof...

...and into the wizroom. There's something to collect. Find it!

In the circus, just light the blue touchpaper... and bang!

Down below the circus ring there's a surprise in store.

How handy. A wizkid-sized hole to climb through.

Gosh, I'm sure that huge pile of cash will come in handy.

Wizball SO WHAT EXACTLY WAS WIZBALL? A long time ago, Ocean brought out a game called Wizball. It involved a Wizard, his friend, Catelite, and a malevolent force called (funnily enough!) Zark.
The Wiz lived on a colourful planet called Wizworld, but the evil Zark had turned the whole world into drab shades of grey. So the Wiz invented an amazing bounding sphere which he released on to the surface of Wizworld to defeat Zark and restore all the colours.
It sounds just as weird as Wizkid doesn't it? And it almost was. One thing's for sure, it was an excellent variation on the horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up.

Wizkid
Ocean * £25.99
  • Colourful graphics and catchy tunes are spot-on for this type of game.
  • Totally weird sense of humour and bizarre gameplay make this uniquely entertaining.
  • The 'collect money to spend in shop', and 'find objects to use later' elements are both unusual in an arcade platform game.
  • Superb arcade-style secret ending (but we're not going to tell you what it is).
verdict: 93%



Guter Wiz?


Wizkid logo

Vor fünf Jahren gab es am 64er mal ein Kultspiel namens „Wizball", dessen Amigaversion dann ziemlich in die Hose ging. Nun hat Sensible Software den Nachfolger programmiert...

Wizkid ... und der ist gottlob spritziger ausgefallen. Der kleine Wizkid ist mit drei Bildschirmleben ausgestattet, die sich nach jeweils fünf Feindberührungen von ihm verabschieden. Damit muß er neun Level durchstehen, und das geht wiederum auf zwei Arten: Im „Kopf-Modus" schubst er die im Bild verteilten Symbole vom Screen, die bei ihrem Absturz oft gleich noch einige der herumflatternden Gegner mit ins elektronische Nirwana reißen. Neben Punkten bringt das auch Geld, für das man sich in den Shops Extraleben und nützliche Gegenstände kaufen kann. Außerdem ist in den Geschäften der "Körper-Modus" zugänglich, bei dem sich Wizkid von einer "PacMan"-artigen Kugel in ein Männchen verwandelt, nur halt mit einem "PacMan"-Kopf. In dieser Gestalt muß er diverse, allesamt recht simple Rätsel lösen, als Belohnung winken gelegentlich sogar Ausflüge in andere Level. Sollte man in einer Runde mal total versagt haben, darf man sein Glück an einer schlichten Scrabble-Variante versuchen.

Technisch gibt es eigentlich nichts zu meckern: Stick-Steuerung und Kollisionsabfrage wurden perfekt gelöst, die drollige und kunterbunte Grafik ist absolut ruckelfrei animiert, und die Soundbegleitung (Musik & FX) kann ebenfalls überzeugen. Auch an haarsträubenden Einfällen, wie etwa grimmigen Wachhunden, die am stillen Örtchen Zeitung lesen, herrscht kein Mangel; bloß mit der Langzeitmotivation sieht es halt nicht gar so toll aus. Der Schwierigkeitsgrad ist eher niedrig angesiedelt, und die Gags kennt man irgendwann auswendig – so gut sie auch sind. (pb)

Amiga Joker, November 1992, p.96

WIZKID
(OCEAN)
WIZ-MIX

67%

"WI(T)ZIG"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPASS
76%
72%
70%
64%
78%
61%
VARIABEL: 3 STUFEN
PREIS DM 89,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
512 KB
2/JA
NEIN
NEIN
KOMPLETT


Wizkid logo

Just because you're called Sensible Software it doesn't mean you've got to put out boring games. Steve Keen looks at the slapstick sequel to the legendary Wizball.

Wizkid LONG TIME COMING
It's been five years since Wizball was thrust on to the games-playing world. The original was praised for its addictivity and playability, and even today it still holds up well against recent releases. Unfortunately, though, Sensible never wrote the Amiga version of Wizball, and as a consequence the conversion – whilst still playable – wasn't all it could have been. With a totally revised gamestyle, Sensible Software hope to put that right with their sequel, Wizkid, and amalgamate the old with the new for a modern day classic.

Wizard, Wizball and Nifta the Cat have been imprisoned in the turtle dungeon somewhere on Wiz Island. Fortunately, their recent offspring, Wizkid, escaped and, recruiting the player as his co-pilot, embarks on a mission to rescue them. There are nine levels to play through on Wiz Island, and each accommodates two different styles of gameplay: arcade and puzzle. It is possible to finish the entire game without touching on the puzzle element at all, but it isn't half as rewarding.

ALTERNATIVE ACTION
The arcade sections consist of five insect-infested screens. Taking control of a disembodied head, the basic idea is to clear the area's rogue creatures by knocking a multitude of blocks and other objects into them. There are only a limited number of blocks which can be used, though, so a little thought is needed when aiming your shots. The projectiles hand in mid-air and, once touched, will fly off in all directions (Breakout-style), eradicating everything they touch. If you use up all the blocks and there are still monsters left, though, you'll pass on to the next screen and must return for another crack later. On the other hand, should you clear the waves, you will be rewarded with a liberal smattering of bouncing coins which must be collected before they disappear – and this is often more frustrating than the game itself!

From time to time, bubbles containing musical notes appear and float around the screen. These are thrown whenever an alien is killed, and, when collected, add to a music score located at the top of the screen. When all the colours and spaces have been filled on the sheet, a tune plays and the notes rain down exploding into golden coins. Other globules contain chompers which let Wizkid grab an object and throw it accurately at a nasty. Some hide a clown's red nose which allows the hero to bounce falling blocks off of his head and direct it towards a target. With a little skill and practice you can wipe out an entire screen with a single block, as it rebounds all around and comes back to you for another shot.

After the downpour of coins, a shop menu appears. Initially, such items as a carrot on a stick, a newspaper and a flying scarf seem useless to your quest, when they are actually vital to the completion of the game. Also included in the menu are the 'Head' and 'Body' icons. The head is strictly reserved for the arcade sequences, but the body opens up a new element to the gameplay. With this command, Wizkid is made completely mobile and can explore and interact with the screens he can normally only fly around. The secret of success here is one of trial and error and complete vigilance. As Wiz walks slowly around the screen, your attention could be drawn towards, say, a flashing bulb which appears in the top right-hand corner. This indicates there's something to be done at this location. For an action to take place you'll invariably need one of the objects from the shop. If you haven't got the required piece, you can reenter the shop by summoning the shop balloon. Simply hold down the fire button and catch it as it drifts above you. Surprisingly, the element of discovery has not been included and when you reach a part of the game necessitating an object, the computer automatically selects the correct items removing any aspect of trial and error.

YOUNG AT HEART
Overall Wizkid gives the impression of a game aimed at the younger player – there's even a tutorial given by a snail at the beginning to show you how to play. The graphics are attractive and exceedingly colourful, but pretty simplistic. However, it's in the gameplay department where Wizkid excels. The difference in style and presentation that Sensible have opted for with the game works extremely well. With all the different paths and sub-games included, it's possible to spend hours enjoying one aspect of the game before discovering another part is just as much fun. A good entertaining game with plenty of surprises.

CU Amiga, July 1992, p.65

SUB ROUTES Puzzle solving is very rewarding as most actions are a catalyst for a piece of animation. Failure to finish a title screen will present you with the option to win some extra money in a Scrabble contest with the computer. Here, you must place a series of given words on the board and lock them together. There's only twenty seconds to do it in, and some of the words just don't seem to want to link together!

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of disks:
number of players:
hard disk installable:
memory:
 
July 1992
Arcade
Sensible Software
Joystick
2
1
No
512k

 

OCEAN £25.99
A colourful and fast-moving arcade game...
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
84%
77%
81%
83%
OVERALL 81%