If there was ever a genre that's been over-used since the day when computers first began, it has to be the platformer. The unusual thing about platformers is the fact they are almost identical to each other. That blasted Mario has got a lot to answer for. Ever since the early days of computers we've been plagued by Mario wannabes and Sonic lookalikes. The shame is that a lot of these are just pure unadulterated crap.
Platformers are big business, mainly because everybody levls them. I can bet that every gamer in the world has at least one in their collection. For every amazing one you can expect another 20 copycats which are a load of old rubbish.
The Amiga world is packed full of rubbish as well, but when a good platform game comes out you know about it. Switchblade, Another World, Myth, Putty, Rainbow Islands, Zool and more recently Superfrog are just a few examples I could mention.
The thing is that these tend to be fairly easy and are quite small in size. Vision Software claim that Woody's World is the world's biggest Amiga platform game - a pretty brash and bold statement, especially as this is their very first full price release.
It could well be true though. I've always fancied being a detective, so I'll don my deerstalker like Sherlock, my false moustache like Poirot, hop in my Jag like Morse, be fat like Tosh from The Bill and investigate.
If you ask me, the evil baddies are a right pain. IF they're not taking over a whole universe then they're robbing old Mrs Miggins, the lady down the street. This time in Woody's World they nicked a magic crystal and a few TVs and videos to boot.
The King was inconsolable because the crystal had been stolen. Kingy had lost control and his marbles and his kingdom had been overthrown by, yep, you've guessed it, evil baddies.
Woody was just your average kind of hero whose thoughts were more concerned with the up and coming elf Olympics. The King decided that Woody should find his beloved crystal because of the fact that Woody is, umm, an athlete and can run fast, err probably.
The King then gave Woody a map and described each of the castles illustrated and the dangers that surrounded them. He explained that there was a seventh castle that was missing from the map. IT was at this castle that the King thought Woody would (ho, ho) find the magic crystal.
Woody knew that he would have to travel across his whole world to find the mysterious seventh castle, but if that's what the King wanted then that is what he would have to do.
The chances of him finding the crystal before the Olympics would be very slim, but you never know, he might just get lucky. Woody then bounded off to complete his quest.
What this basically means is that this platformer involves you trekking through many different and varied levels in the desperate hope to find a crystal. A cheesy plot doesn't always make for a bad piece of software though!
The adventure starts in the mysterious Steam Castle where Woody must beware of the, err, steam and also the evil beavers and birds that inhabit the place. If you bumped in to Wody in the street he'd look a fairly normal chap and if he was your mate you'd probably by him a pint, but Woody is far from normal. Remember, it's always the quiet, shy, retiring types that are the serial killers. Woody changes his appearance more times than his underwear. He starts off in an off-the-
Contained in the game are hundreds of heart blocks. When Woody bangs them with his head he scores bonus points, but some of these blocks contain special power-ups. If you collect a sceptre, Woody transforms into Prince Woody which gives him greater jumping power and the ability to kick enemies.
If you manage to grab a crown then Woody turns into King Wody giving him greater jumping power and the ability to fire stars at his enemies, and he gets to wear a smart shiny crown to boot.
Each power-up also speeds Woody up thus making the game more smooth and in the process more enjoyable to play.
The graphics in Woody's World are brilliant and easily rival the standard set in Rainbow Islands. In fact to put it into perspective, imagine a cutesy puppy dog with sad eyes looking up at you with its tongue out and begging with its paw. Aww cute you may think, but the graphics in Woody's World are ten times cuter than that. Even when our hero dies it's really cute.
The backdrops are just as good as the sprites with some really nice effects - they're as impressive as anything I've seen for a long time.
For instance, take the clouds level where Woody jumps from cumulus to nimbus and where the wind actually blows our stocky hero all over the place making the game more interesting than just running through the level.
If I was stupid and didn't have much sense I could instantly compare this to Superfrog, but some people will simply because it came out last month and is still in people's minds, but I won't because they are two totally different games.
If I had to compare it to anything it'd probably be Mario, but seeing as the fat Italian plumber has never and will never appear on the Amiga I can quite happily compare it, so there.
On the sound front there is a whole abundance of fantastic tunes. The music seems to fit the action perfectly and for a change it doesn't get annoying - you could actually find yourself humming it, even when you're not playing! The sound effects are kept to a minimum, but are more than adequate for this type of game.
You only get three lives and these will rapidly run out if you don't keep on collecting energy and extra lives. It'll take you a while, before you actually manage to get through a few levels. Lastability isn't a problem because I've carried out a thorough investigation and Wody's World is the biggest Amiga platform game to date.
The number of levels is incredible. Put it this way - you won't be able to complete it very quickly unless you're some kind of computer games hero or genius.
Vision have come up with a cracker and for their full price debut they couldn't have written a better game. Woody's World has got everything - great graphics, top tunes, packed full of playability and an addiction factor that is so dangerous it broke the Gamer addictive-o-
If you liked Superfrog then this is your cup o tea and I would heartily recommend it to anyone, although it is a bit of the difficult side, but more than definitely worth persevering with. Wood you believe it a brilliant debut and no mistake. Platform fans have never had it so good.