Zäher Hase

Whizz logo

Keine Chance für Genießer: Bereits die AGA-Variante von Flairs hüpfendem Karnickel war mit einem unbarmherzigen Zeitlimit garantiert, und daran hat sich auf dem ECS-Teller leider nichts geändert.

Schade, denn eine genauere Untersuchung der (jetzt nicht mehr parallax scrollenden) Wiesen-, Schnee-, Strand- oder Kasino-Landscahften im schicken Iso-Look verbietet sich damit von selbst. Nur ausgebufften Profis werden daher die liebevollen Animations-Details der prächtig bunten Grafik so richtig munden – etwa der hübsche Schattenwurf beweglicher Plattformen, der qualmende Schweif, den startende Bonusraketen hinter sich herziehen, oder die sich sanft im Wind wiegenden Flaggen.

Und bevor Otto Normalzocker noch Geschmack an den Sound-FX, den flotten Musikstücken oder den Details des ausgefeilten Game-designs mit seinen vielen Mini-Puzzles finden kann, ist schon wieder wertvolle Zeit verronnen, das Ausgangstor zum nächsten der zwölf Levels aber noch in weiter Ferne und eines der drei Häschen-Leben über den Jordan.

Einen Rettungsanker in Form von Levelcodes gibt es nicht, Sammel-Zeitboni zu selten und Continues nur für den Finder der weiträumig verteilten Bonusflaggen – da für Exkursionen ins Plattform-Umland aber eben die Zeit fehlt, ist der Frust vorprogrammiert.

Noch ärger trifft es Hasenherzen mit nur einem Feuerknopf, denn das Unterscheiden zwischen Hüpfen und Spin-Attacke (mit der sich kleinere Gegner beiseite schubsen lassen) klappt im Ernstfall mehr schlecht als recht; erst zwei Buttons lösen das Problem.

Aber das war ja alles am A1200 nicht viel anders, weshalb wir getrost das dortige Test-Fazit nochmals aufwärmen können: Whizz steckt voller Ideen und wurde technisch gut umgesetzt, ist aber eindeutig zu schwer. (rl)

Whizz logo

█ Price: £25.95 █ Publisher: Flair 01661 860 260

Tense, nervous headache? Yes. You must have just finished playing Whizz - Flair’s latest isometric view platformer. Let me explain. At first glance Whizz has all the makings of a great platform game. The graphics are excellent, the levels are all very dreamlike and look like they could have stepped off the pages of a Lewis Caroll novel. Indeed Whizz himself could justifiably take part in an I parade for the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.

However, after quite a few frustrating bouts of trying beat the clock, wrestle with the controls and having to start from the beginning of the game every time you slip up, you begin to wish you’d never set eyes on the damn thing.

It’s a shame really. Whizz, a cute lovable bunny wabbit, has the evil Ratty hot on his tail. So he’s off running scared through the levels trying to escape the evil rodent. Getting from one end of a level to another before you run out of time or energy can be a tricky business.

There are puzzles to solve, creatures to avoid, rockets to set off (four for an extra life), flags, gems and various pickups to collect.

However, once you’ve learned the quickest route through each level it’s just a matter of remembering it and playing it through. But there is no password system, so no matter how far you get through the game you have to plough through it all again. This can be very annoying. The awkward control system adds even more to the general feeling of frustration leaving you without the energy or the will to play the game through.

This is unfortunate as Whizz could have been a decent game. The graphics are great and the sound is OK. But the annoying control system and the need to return back to the start every time ha prevented it from getting a much higher mark.

Whizz logo AGA

Flair Software are back hoping their latest game will inject some new life into the platform genre. Gareth Lofthouse takes Whizz for a whirl.


Amiga platformers have always been rather hit and miss when it comes to quality in comparison to their console counterparts. People have said good things about games like Zool or Superfrog, but as good as they were, I found them to be pale reflections of the best Sega and Nintendo rivals.

Now this jaded genre has a newcomer designed by Flair Software. Featuring a rabbit remarkably similar to the one in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Whizz is slightly unusual in that it is an isometric adventure – in other words, a platformer in 3D.

The story behind Whizz is simple, you will be surprised to hear. Our rapidly rotating rabbit is being chased by his adversary Ratty in a balloon around the mystical world, leading to adventures set on levels like the Green Grassed Castle or the South Sea Beaches.

Disembarking from his aerial transport, Whizz sets off on each level in a race against time, frantically seeking a variety of collectibles needed to complete his mission. If the sands of time run out before he succeeds, however, Ratty will catch him up and finish him off.


Sadly this game’s soundtrack is more likely to irritate than give Whizz appeal. It is the sort of sonic sewage we’ve been listening to on computer games since the mid-’80s, and frankly I’d rather play with the sound turned off than suffer it all over again.

If old ideas are going to get rehashed, developers should at least attempt to perfect them. To me, the humdrum nature of the sound effects in Whizz give it away as a half-hearted affair.



Whizz is hardly going to turn heads as far as its looks go, but it is not too bad. The isometric view is an unusual touch in this type of game, the main character is likable enough, and the general effect is cheerfully colourful.

Details have been added to give Whizz a dream-like appearance. For example, the first level appears to be set high up in the sky, with the ocean visible miles below the action. Then there’s the indoor World of Gamesville, a bizarre land of puzzles featuring giant cards that again would look perfectly at home in a Lewis Carroll adventure. Unfortunately there are a fair few drawbacks as well. The monsters are at best unimpressive and at worst ineptly designed – the bouncing tubes, for example, shouldn’t really have made it off the drawing board.

There are various features to visually reward the player. Hopping onto some buttons will launch bonus scoring rockets, doors shatter when approached using the correct device, and as in the Mario series, there are power-up mushrooms to be consumed. Why these platform programmers are fixated by magic mushrooms I couldn’t say.




Okay. I’m a bit tired of platformers, so the likelihood of me being stunned into silent awe by Whizz was rather unlikely. Nevertheless, I was hoping for some entertaining puzzles and a few fresh twists on an old idea.

Whizz does feature the odd interesting innovation, but unfortunately they are not successfully pulled off. Take the isometric view, for example. This device has worked well in a lot of games since Knightlore on the Spectrum, but try to zip round in Whizz and things get frustrating. The problem is that Whizz is about a race against time, and the traditional Sonic the Hedgehog view seems better suited to that sort of challenge.

The way players are supposed to spin the rabbit into enemies to kill them is another example of either a singular lack of imagination or effort on the developer’s part. Added to that is the fact that it’s tough from the outset and you have to go right back to the level’s beginning – factors which won’t help to win new friends for the genre.

For those who’ve had enough of the usual platform fare to last a lifetime, my advice is to give Whizz a wide berth. Then again, my advice for those who do like the genre is to give it a miss in the hope that something half professional might come along.

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The rat is chasing the rabbit in a hot-air balloon. The rabbit gets out and a 3D platform game begins, which is where Steve Bradley comes in. Hurrah!

A word of advice, care of Ferris Bueller Esquire. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t slow down and take a look around once in a while, you might just miss it." Such counsel should be taken on board by young rabbit Whizz, who would appear to be on the wrong side of late for a very important date.

A rabbit flies around the world in a hot-air balloon pursued by a rat. I do not know why, only that, occasionally, the rabbit jumps balloon and runs around collecting bobs and ends and sods and bits as quickly as possible.

If the rabbit fails to complete the 3D level in the allotted time he starts again. If the rabbit completes the level, enters the next level only to come unstuck, he starts again on the later level. However, should the rabbit run out of lives, no matter how far into the levels he’s [progressed it’s game over and back to start. For the player (for he or she is that very rabbit) of the game this is extremely annoying.

As my Scottish colleague McGill would say, it makes your oxters ming. He is correct – it indeed makes your armpits stink. Whizz, readers, is stinky armpits. It is stinky armpits because the control method is finicky to the point where your blood boils, as you tumble yet again because you failed to jump in the right direction.

Of course, practice ensures a certain degree of competence but it don’t hide the fact that this particular game does not lend itself to the perspective grandly known as isometric 3D. You may well be impressed as you gaze at the colourful screenshots.

Iz Whizz the biz?
Whizz DOES look good, the parallax scrolling is smooth as you soar across platforms above a shimmering sea, littered with the wreckage of ships. Oh, it is pretty. But it is stinky armpits if you are, and most of you would be were to make a purchase, using a one-button joystick. Move the shaft and press Fire to ump and if you wish to kill a baddie, press Fire to spin – not easy. Not nice.

The combination of extremely fiddly control and odd perspective ensure frustration is always at the end of the street as you attempt to flit around at pace while the sands of time trickle slowly away.

As you learn the levels, most of the baddies become superfluous – you simply take the shortest route possible, avoiding trouble, collecting the right pieces, before hopping to the exit which becomes very dull, very quickly.

The AF team tired of Whizz, most throwing down the joystick with frustration at the unforgiving controls and the send-you-back-to-the-startness of it all. Avoid Whizz if sanity is your bag, as they used to say in the Sixties.

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Nach unsäglichen bis mittelprächtigen Titeln wie "Dangerous Streets" oder "Trolls" wollte Flair Software mit diesem Plattform-Karnickel endlich in Hit-Regionen hoppeln - und fast hätte es auch geklappt...

Nur leider spielt Meister Lampe die Hauptrolle in einem Game, das zwar astrein programmiert und dank netter Ideen auch grundsätzlich sehr spielbar ist, dessen maßlos überhöhter Schwierigkeitsgrad jedoch selbst dem erfahrenen Gambler den Schweiß aus den Schlappohren rinnen läßt. Und bei soviel Frust verläßt auch den Tester irgendwann die Lust – jedenfalls die an einer Medaillenvergabe.

Der Grund für den Ärger ist das erbarmungslose Zeitlimit, innerhalb dessen der Knuddel-Hase hier durch die jeweis drei ausgedehnten Abschnitte der vier hübschen Iso-Welten hetzen muß, um den jeweiligen Levelausgang zu finden.

Kleine Exkursionen abseits des vorgegebenen Weges werden damit oft zum Todesmarsch – in neuen von zehn Fällen findet sich in der Plattform-Pampa eben nicht das benötigte Sammelextra für Zusatzzeit, was unweigerlich eines der drei Anfangsleben kostet und somit auf die Motivation neugieriger Rammler drückt.

Dummerweise erlauben nämlich weder Levelcodes noch Speicherstände ein Überspringen bereits gesehener Schauplätze, und selbst Continues gibt es erst im Austausch gegen rare Sammeldiamanten und Bonusflaggen. Hier beißt sich der Hase wiederum in den Schwanz, weil für die erforderlichen Such-aktionen der ausschweifenden Art wie gesagt die Zeit fehlt...

Das ist um so bedauerlicher, als die schick ausgearbeiteten Szenarien eigentlich zum längerem Verweilen und Erkunden einladen. Da sorgen teils recht ausgetüftelte Rätsel der Marke "Schlüssel X öffnet Tor Y" und Bonusspiele am einarmigen Banditen für Abwechslung, Rolltreppen wollen im Turbogang befahren und kaskadisch aufgebaute Plattform-Aufzüge erklommen werden, ganze Batterien von Feder-Katapulten stehen im Weg, Kanonen laden zu einem Rundflug und Schachfiguren zum Ausrit ein.

Auf der Gegenseite geht es nicht minder bunt zu, denn in den saftig grünen Wiesen der Highlands tummeln sich u.a. witzige Clowns, in der Arktis Schneemänner, Pinguine und Walrosse, am Srand Riesenkrebse und in Gamesville wandelnde Spielkarten, die bisweilen auch als Sprungbrett fungieren.

Bei Kontakt knabbern die Widersacher an Whizz‘ (immerhin ausreichend dosiertem) Energievorrat, was unser Langohr durch gekonntes Überspringen oder eine Wirbelattacke zu verhindern trachtet. Erlegte Gegner hinterlassen dann und wann Stärkungstränke, meist aber bloß schädliche Giftpilze, die beim Drüberlaufen die Lebensenergie reduzieren.

Rein technisch gibt es an alledem wenig auszusetzen, denn die Machart des Spiels ist rundum kompetent: Das butterweiche Parallax-Scrolling der vorliegenden AGA-Version vermittelt einen sehr dreidimensionalen Eindruck, während die feine Cartoon-Grafik mit so vielen liebevollen Animations-Details aufwartet, daß es anderswo für zwei Programme gereicht hätte.

So zerplatzen einmal geöffnete Steintore in ein Dutzend Trümmer, gestartete Bonusrakteten ziehen auf ihrem Weg gen Himmel eine Rauschfahne hinter sich her. Flaggen wiegen sich sanft im Wind, und bewegliche Plattformen werfen einen Schatten am Boden.

Die teilweise beeindruckend großen Feindsprites stehen dem qualitativ nicht nach, sie wurden samt uns sonders hübsch gezeichnet und prima in Bewegung gesetzt – lediglich das kurze Intro ist optisch eine Enttäuschung.

Aber akustisch geht die Hasenpost schon wieder tierisch ab, wobei die gelungene Begleitmusik und die passenden Sound-FX getrennt an- bzw. abgestellt werden dürfen. Die Steuerung erkennt und unterstützt Zwei-Button-Sticks, was auch nötig ist, weil es in der Hitze des Gefechts oft unmöglich ist, mit nur einem Feuerknopf zwischen Hüpfen und Spin-Attacke zu unterscheiden – und wer will sich das ohnehin hammerharte Gameplay schon noch zusätzlich erschweren?

Schwer hat es uns Whizz somit jedenfalls bei der Bewertung gemacht, denn einerseits haben wir am Amiga noch selten so viele Ideen auf so schönen 3D Plattformen gesehen, andererseits bekommt man sie aufgrund der Mängel im Design eben kaum zu sehen.

Als Neulinge im Hüpf- und Laufgewerbe ist man hier ja schon mal hoffnungslos verloren, und selbst als Veteran wünscht man sich des öfteren einen regulierbaren Schwierigkeitsgrad herbei.

Daß es auch anders bzw. besser geht, hat die zeitgleich erschienen PC-Version bewiesen: Obwohl technisch und optisch dieser AGA-Fassung klar unterlegen, macht sie dank eines bei weitem gnädiger ausgelegten Zeitlimits und dreier großzügig von vornherein gewährter Continues einfach mehr Spaß. Na, immerhin zieht der Hersteller inzwischen in Erwägung, das Spiel (welches am A4000/040 übrigens im Intro Grafikfehler produziert, ansonsten aber fehlerfrei läuft) in diesem Punkt nochmals etwas zu überarbeiten. Insbesondere für die kommenden A500- und CD32 Versionen besteht also noch Hoffnung au Besserung! (rl)

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When I were a lad, a whizz was something I did in the toilet, not a 3D platform game

"Oh God," I though, "My first review. They‘re going to give me a flight sim, aren‘t they? Or a wargame. Aagghh. No. Help." Imagine, then, my relief when JD handed me a copy of Whizz, a nice, cute, harmless ‘isometric platform game’. What a nice way to enter the world of game assessment than to play a rabbit in a coat, venturing through a world of penguins, starfish and living chess pieces? Unfortnately, it didn’t take long before the colourful and cheerful facade fell away to reveal a game that is in fact anything but nice or harmless.

Whizz is a fast isometric 3D game, one which would like to think it’s a platformer but unfortunately is not. The box proudly states that the game’s 3D perspective is the next step forward in platformers. And who knows?

Perhaps they’re right, but I’m afraid that Whizz fails to deliver the goods. Rather than being a platformer, it actually turns out to be more of a maze game, where you have to guide your rabbit chum from the start of each level to (no!) the end, where a hot air balloon awaits to transport him to (surprised gasp) the next level.

There are four worlds, each of which looks cheerful enough, with nice parallax scrolling the background. There are a few rudimentary puzzles to solve along the way, and it all looks jolly fun. Or perhaps it might be if it weren’t for the game’s most obvious fault, the control system.

You see, the whole game is geared towards doing things with great haste, there being a harsh time limit imposed on each level (more of which later). The problem is that, this being a isometric game, when you push up on the joypad the rabbit moves diagonally up and right. This can get very confusing when you’re dashing around frantically trying to guess your way to the end of the level. It can also be irritating, as can the instances when Whizz (the rabbit) decides to take on a will of his own and jump in a direction other than the one you wanted.

The foul control system serves to enhance the game’s second, and most heinous, problem – the time limits. So, a game like this probably needs time limits, but not ones of this magnitude. They leave you little or no room for error – if you stray off course more than a couple of times you can pretty much forget about finishing the level before the time runs out. This means that you can’t try to complete the little sub quests like launching the four rockets you find on each level (which, incidentally, is the only way you can get extra lives). Lack of time also means that enemies are just things you try to jump straight over rather than fight.

Listen to something on the radio instead

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. I hate this game. I loathe it with an intensity unparalleled in the known universe. It’s not the worst game in the world by any means, but it’s just so… so… so infuriating. The control system is truly a thing spawned from the loins of Satan; the fact that finding your way to the exit is mainly guesswork and luck is a patently unclean flaw; and the vicious time limit is the product of a cruel and diseased mind.

But these aren’t the only impure traits that Whizz has to offer. Oh no. Let’s move on to the sound effects and music, shall we? Although they are not a major contributor to a game’s greatness, the sounds which come out of the monitor are nonetheless part of the gaming experience. So it’s probably appropriate that a game such as Whizz should have annoying music and virtually non-existent sound effects. Thankfully, you can turn either or both off, and listen to something decent on the radio instead. Better still, you could just turn the computer off, and do something more interesting than playing crap games like this. Such as tearing all the hair off your body with sellotape.

The baddies which you come up against on your quest are less than impressive. Due to the time limit it’s more sensible just to jump straight over them rather than bothering to kill them, but should you decide to indulge in violence, you’ll find to your dismay that initiating a spinning attack (the only way to kill baddies or break through barriers) causes you to lose some of your energy.

Indeed, all the way through Whizz you get the creeping feeling that the game hates you. Everything it does seems to be geared towards hindering your progress unfairly, like how you can’t ump off lots of platforms you clearly should be able to - a sinister and disturbing contrivance to LIMIT THE PLAYER’S FREE WILL, or how when you die, you’re sent all the way back to the start of the level (tool of the devil), or how there’s no save facility or password system. (Aarghh! Begone, begone, for thou art truly evil!)

Phew. Okay, now all that’s of my chest, and because we at AP are all consummate professionals, we shall allow Whizz the chance to defend itself. The graphics are all right – nice and cute and, er, stuff. The puzzles, though not in any way taxing, offer some variety in the gameplay, and the game recognises a two-button joystick, which is a good job because trying to play it with a single-button one is a joke. Erm, and that’s about it. Whizz isn’t completely awful, but it’s certainly below average.

Here are just some of the fiendishly impressive icons you too can share in if you buy a copy of Whizz. Wood-key
Wood. To get through wooden doors.
Bricks. To get you through bricky doors.
This is an egg timer. It gives you more time.
Ice. To get through icy doors.
Metal. To get you...... oh, I give up.