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Wonderdog logo

F Wonderdog irst impressions can be misleading, and that is certainly the case with the platform extravaganza Wonder Dog. Let us face it, Bunny Meadow is not where you would expect to start an adventure in which your canine hero must save the galaxy from the evil General Von Ruffbone and his army of dog troopers. In fact, why anybody would want to go to Bunny Meadow is beyond me. The rabbits do not attack you unless you hit them first, the moles nip your ankles in a cute sort of way, and all there is to do is leap around the greenery and foliage collecting bones and diamonds and stumbling across the occasional bonus levels before wandering off towards the next challenge.
You half expect Wonder Dog to stop half way through and say “Come on bunnie wunnies, come on moles, come on hedgehogs, come on ducks, let us all stop and have a picnic”. Pratt.

Anyway, after this less auspicious start, Wonder Dog begins to show its teeth. The levels become more challenging, there is the occasional puzzle and you discover that Wonder Dog can burrow down to deep levels and slide under things, and that if you shoot some of the walls there are bonuses concealed within them.

After working your way through six levels (including the entertaining ‘Dogsville’ and ‘Scrap Yard’ and the extremely tricky ‘Planet Weird’) and taking on some particularly mediocre guardians, you arrive at General Von Ruffbone’s home planet, K9, where your mission comes to a moderately thrilling climax. All of this is accompanied by the sort of music they played to carpet advertisements at cinemas in the 1970s, and some rather good graphics.
Although it seems a bit ruff at first, Wonder Dog eventually shows some pedigree.
Richard Jones

Amiga Format, Issue 54, Christmas 1993, p.106

WONDERDOG
PROGRAMMERS
Dan Scott
PUBLISHER
Core Design 0332 297797
PRICE
£25.99
RELEASED
Out now

 

GRAPHICS
07 out of 10
Smooth scrolling and well-drawn background add quite a lot to the gameplay.

SOUND
05 out of 10
Everyone who heard the music was somehow reminded of the 1970s. Most peculiar.

ADDICTION
07 out of 10
Enjoyable, but not the sort of game that you will have to be dragged away from.

PLAYABILITY
07 out of 10
Despite a poor start, Wonder Dog develops into an engaging if undemanding platformer.

VERDICT
"Wonder Dog is a well-crafted platformer, which lacks any real originality but is fine as far it goes. The graphics are good, but the sound is a bit annoying."
74%


Auf den Hund gekommen

Wonderdog logo

Die Jungs von Core Design sind bekannt für kernige Plattform-Action mit originellen Helden, man denke nur an „Wolfchild“ oder „Chuck Rock“- ob ihr hüpfender Hund wirklich ein Genre-Wunder ist?

Wonderdog Zunächst hat es nicht den Anschein, das Zamperl ist ein Köter wie du und ich. Okay, vielleicht etwas mehr wie du, denn der Vierbeiner stammt nicht von dieser Welt und kann daher neben laufen und springen in begrenztem Umfang auch schweben, zudem sind seine Wurfsterne in der ganzen Galaxis gefürchtet. Keine üblen Voraussetzungen also, um den Hundeplaneten K9 vor General von Ruffbone und seinen Invasoren zu schützen...

Der Schutz unseres Wachwaldis erstreckt sind auf fünf abschnittsweise unterteilte Knuddel-Landschaften, wie sie unterschiedlicher kaum sein könnten. Im Wald- und Wiesenbereich lauern arglistige Füchse, Raben und Maulwürfe auf Beute, anschließend geht es in die Stadt Dogsville, wo man boxwütige Boxer und heißblütige Terrier am Shuriken kauen läßt. Es folgen der Marsch über den Schrottplatz und ein Abstecher zum Mond, ehe es der Wauwau im Finale vor allem mit seinesgleichen zu tun bekommt – auf K9 fletschen patrouillierende Hunde-Soldaten die Beißer.

So weit schafft es freilich nur ein geübter Hundehalter, dank des variablen Abschußwinkels trudeln die Sterne zunächst nämlich etwas unmotiviert Richtung Feind. Außerdem ist Wachsamkeit oberstes Gebot, denn das Böse hält sich oft und gerne hinter Bäumen oder sonstigem Landschaftsbeiwerk verborgen, so daß Windhunde vor dem Monitor leicht in ihr Verderben rennen. Abgesehen davon lohnen six Exkurse abseits des vorgegebenen Pfades, wo viele Geheimräume und sogar zwei versteckte Extra-Welten zu entdecken sind. Das klingt nach solider Plattform-Kost, und so ist es denn auch: Die Mittel- und Endgegner sind kaum als originell zu bezeichnen, an Sammelextras gibt es die üblichen Bonuspunkte und Schutzschilde. So manches wurde zudem beim hauseigenen „Chuck Rock“- abgekupfert, etwa das Sprung-Sofa für Hüpfer in höhere Regionen. Andererseits ist damit auch das Gameplay von gewohnter Güte – die feindlichen Attacken sind fair ausgetüftelt, und nach zu vielen Remplern muß man lediglich ein kurzes Stück weiter vorn neu starten.

Ähnliches gilt für den bei Core Design stets hohen Technik-Standard mit feinstem Parallax-Scrolling in alle Himmelsrichtungen, schön bunt gezeichneten Hintergründen und witzigen Animationen der Sprites. Richtig spritzig ist die Begleitmusik ausgefallen, auf Sound-FC muß man jedoch verzichten. Verzichten muß man auch auf die Unterstützung von Zwei-Button-Sticks, ansonsten klappt die Steuerung aber sehr ordentlich, und die Nachladezeiten fallen angenehm kurz aus.

Alles in allem bietet Wonderdog somit bodenständiges Entertainment, selbst wenn ihm das Zeug zum wahren Plattform-Star fehlt. Aber das Genre neu zu erfinden, ist heutzutage wohl selbst von einem Wunderhund etwas viel verlangt, oder? (rl)

Amiga Joker, December 1993, p.?

WONDERDOG
(CORE DESIGN)
JUMP & FUN
75%
"WUFF"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
76%
79%
83%
-  
72%
74%
FÜR GEÜBTE
PREIS DM 69,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
2/JA
NEIN
LEVEL-PASSWÖRT.
ANLEITUNG


Wonderdog logo

It might sound like a new brand of pet food, but does Core’s new platformer live up to its Mega CD pedigree?

Game: Wonder Dog
Publisher: Core Design
Author: Dan Scott
Price: £25.99
Release: Out now

C Wonderdog onversions, eh? Doncha just love ‘em? Don’t you just love it when you get a nice shiny new game and someone swans in and says "Oh yes, well of course I saw this done six years ago on the Nagagamichi 5000… the graphics have not converted very well… oh dear, the gameplay is shot to pieces… no, you should have seen it on the Naga – it was BRILLIANT".
Of course it is at this point when your patience generally snaps and you roundly berate your so-called friend for being (a) such a tedious git as to know where the game originated, (b) such an elitist git for thinking the original was better than your version (probably simply because it was the original rather than for any properly thought-out reason) and (c) such an annoyingly thoughtless git as to tell you.

Wonder Dog is a conversion from the Mega CD where it looked just lovely, thank you very much. It was not in any way exceptional to play, but it did look extremely nice. But you do not care about that, really, do you? You could have lived your whole life without ever having learned that Wonder Dog was a conversion from the Mega CD. Core would be unhappy, though, because they are very pleased with the way it has turned out.
So, then, what do you want to know? You probably want to know how to become an inordinately rich, successful and happy person. You probably want to know how to meet and win the partner of your dreams. You probably want to know… (We want to know when you are going to get on with it. – Ed).

This here is a platform game. In the manner of platform games, it has a multitude of platforms spread throughout numerous worlds. You get to visit a lovely wooded world, some sort of alien world, a junk yard and loads of other places besides, as well as a number of ‘bone-us’ levels (no, really). You play the part of a dog with a silly hat on (always a jolly good start) who throws stars (well, he would, wouldn’t he?) and has to, er, well, er, get to the end of the game, really. It is fun. Sort of.

Wonderdog HOT CROSS BUNNIES
You start out on a lovely sunny sylvan world being bothered by bunnies. The bunnies do not seem to be actively trying to give you a hard time, but they do get a little tetchy if you muck them about, so it pays to leave them alone. Dealing with nasty things is chiefly by means of magic stars. Or something like that.

I am not usually much of a one for reading instructions, to be honest, but in this case it was not much of a problem because I did not have any. Even without them I managed to work out the star business (trust me, I am a professional). A short press on the fire button releases a little star or two more or less horizontally from your dog. Longer presses produce somewhat larger stars which fly up in an entertaining manner and can be used to inflict fatal damage upon flying saucers. If you should happen to encounter any. And you do on the outer space level bit.

I HATE ‘UP TO JUMP’
The problem with modern computer games is that the programming has all tended to get a bit on the slick side. The result is that the controls have become very sensitive and the consequence of that is that they actually become a little difficult to control. In days of yore, you used to have to heave long and hard on the joystick (oo-er) to make the game character move even slightly. Now, the merest accidental tap on the official AP Bug seems to send Wonder Dog skittering about all over the place. There was one jump, for instance, that took absolutely ages to get right and nearly made me give the whole thing up as a bad job. (Oh, and Up to jump does not help and is the world’s stupidest idea. By the way. If you want my opinion). So, anyway, it is much too controllable, sometimes to the point where you cannot actually control it. But perhaps that can be considered to be part of the challenge.

Wonderdog It sounds great, though. There is music and effects and… ooh, loads of aural treats. And the graphics are smooth and well-executed too. There is, strangely for a Core game, only scant humour. The bunnies in the first level are amusing, I guess, and some stuff later on has its moments (like bouncing on old sofas in the junk yard to reach the higher bits), but it does not really seem to sparkle quite as it should. That is not to say that it is not pleasing, merely that it is not exceptionally pleasing.
"But what, oh reviewing-type person, is it like to play?" you would almost certainly be saying right now if only you were here with me. (Actually, I rather think you would probably be nagging me for some of my coffee and trying to scrounge a bit of the chocolate I am about to eat. You would get short shrift, though – this is my breakfast).

I am sorry, where was I? Oh yes, what is it like to play?
What do you expect it to be like? Search deep into that part of your brain labelled ‘Computer Games And What They’re Like’. Root through the dusty files. Laugh at the scribbled-out notes you originally made on the ‘Film Licence’ file which said they would probably be really exciting and innovative. Ignore ‘Shoot-‘Em-Ups’ – that means, you have gone too far – and eventually you will light upon the file marked ‘Platform Games’. What does it say? Mine says something like: "Characters move though a left-to-right scrolling world. Occasionally they get the chance to jump onto platforms (hence the name of the genre). There are obstacles and baddies. These can usually be destroyed by shooting at them (if the character is armed in any way) or by bouncing on their heads. Main characters can be cute and cuddly or vicious and hard (see also ‘Film Licences’)". If that is what you think platform games are like then you already know what Wonder Dog is all about.

It certainly does not dismay, it more sort of disappoints. I loved Core’s recent classic, Chuck Rock 2, and I was expecting something more from Wonder Dog, to be honest. It is a great conversion from the Mega-CD, that is for sure, but that is really more of a technical achievement than a ‘creating a great game’ achievement.
No, sadly, it is little more than standard platform stuff, and with so many other platformers out there competing for our attention, it is going to be hard pushed to make much of an impact. And Wonder Dog is not even particularly cute.
TIM NORRIS

Amiga Power, Issue 31, December 1993, p.p.42-43



"Longer presses produce larger stars"


Upper UPPERS An excellent conversion of a Mega CD game. It is competently put together and does pretty much everything you would expect a well made platform game to do.
Downer DOWNERS Unfortunately, there is nothing really new in there and it does not really do anything you would not expect a well made platform game to do.

THE BOTTOM LINE
It is not really going to set the world on fire but, to be fair, it is a moderately amusing diversion for a couple of hours. Just not very much more than that, that is all.
73

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE

A1200 Exactly and absolutely the same, right down to the annoying detail of not seeming to recognise a second disk drive. What a drag.



Wonderdog logo

CORE £25.99

Wonderdog Core Design have always had a hell of a reputation when it comes to platform games, what with past successes in the shape of Chuck Rock and Premiere. That goes some way to explaining why I was so quick to leap up and shout 'me, me, me!' when their latest came in for review. Five seconds into the game, and I was beginning to wish I had stayed in my seat and my mouth closed. Wonderdog is not a particularly fine example of what Core's boys and girls are capable of, and that's a tactful way of putting it. Believe me, there's nothing wonderful about this dog!

The plot is the same old guff as before, only this time littered with doggie puns. General Von Ruffbone is 'sweeping through the galaxy, achieving total galactic domination in his wake'. You are a small dog that has been injected with 'Wonder Serum' and sent to stop Ruffbone's mighty army. This all takes place over seven incredibly similar levels including settings such as an abandoned city, the surface of the moon and Bunny Meadow.

The moment you look at Wonderdog, you see how it was put together. The same scrolling and sprite animation routines from Chuck Rock have been stuck back together with some less than impressive sprites and some extremely grating sound effects, including a sample of Homer Simpson's 'Doh!'. It moves around at a heck of a speed, but due to the fact that many of the opposing sprites are quite small plus the inertia imposed on the main character the game is a bit of a dog to play. To top it all off, there are some invisible platforms and secret rooms that are obviously intended to enhance the game, but end up being ignored as you hunt frantically for a fun part of the game.

When I ran this review through my Macintosh spelling checker, it tried the title with the word 'Underdog'. I think it had the right idea.
Tony Dillon

31%

CU Amiga, December 1993, "HOT! The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" – Amiga games Special, p.13