Woody's World logo Gamer Gold

The people behind the PD classic CYbernetix are dipping their toes into the pond of full-time computer games publishing with Woody's World, allegedly the biggest Amiga platform game in existence.

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-shoulder wizard outfit and isn't that hero-like because he's quite slow and can only kill his enemies by bouncing on their heads.

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.

Playability-wise I can't really knock it. There aren't any design faults that I could find. It looks suited to small kids, but it's one of the hardest platform games I've ever played and is recommended to platform experts wanting a bit of a challenge.

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-meter.

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.



Woody's World logo

The number of platform games on the Amiga is now reaching epidemic proportions. All manner of subjects have been breached - Trolls, frogs, dinosaurs, Arabian knights-in-shining-armour, Ninjas from the Nth dimension - honestly, you'd swear that the Amiga was turning into one of those console-type things.

Fortunately, unlike people who own those console-type things, we Amiga owners also have plenty of other game styles to choose from - adventures, shoot-em-ups, flight sims, role-playing games and the like. This means that when a good platformer comes out, it's just another notch in the metaphorical 'Amiga vs console' belt.

In this issue of Amiga Format we have two such games - Superfrog from established Amiga coders Team 17, and Woody's World, the first commercial release from Vision Software, the New Zealand software house previously responsible for the popular shareware games Microbes and Cybernetix.

The story of Woody's World follows a tiny elfin chap, who is given a task of retrieving a crystal by the King of the land. The crystal is in another land 4000 screens away, across 60 levels of extremely perilous landscapes which are designed... hang on a minute, I've got a problem here. Should I be sarcastic and make a comment like "Oh God, it's one of those stories which try to make it different to other platform games, but which have no effect on the gameplay?" Or should I be less cruel, and take the view that if it didn't have a story at all it would be boring? (This is a type of quandary which us games reviewers face quite a lot, you know - I mean, it's not all play, play, play).

At the end of the world
Anyway, suffice to say that the reason little Woody has to get this crystal is that otherwise his world as he knows it will end. And that means he won't be able to compete in the Elfin Olympics. Erm, yes. Well...

Woody's World is fun. It's not as fast as, say, Zool, but the scrolling is ultra-smooth and the animation is neat. It's all very colourful, and while many of the 60 different levels contain the stuff expected of platform games - such as moving girders and swinging chains - it's obvious that a lot of thought has gone into the look and feel of the game.

Bonuses are scattered throughout, which were obviously designed with previous games somewhat in mind - including blocks that yield points and power-ups when you nut them with your head, and treasure chests which throw out a handful of golden stars when opened - you know the sort of thing.

Most of the power-ups either give you extra points or an extra life, but some will give you special powers. The star gives you the ability to shoot your enemies instead of bouncing on them. The prince's outfit enables you to jump higher, and perform a nifty low sweep with your foot to do away with nasties; while the crown gives you them all at the same time.

A right royal privilege
Doorways positioned here and there either signify the end of the current level, or the entrance to a bonus room. Also, if you happen to be wearing the royal crown, you can gain entrance to one of the Throne Rooms, of which there are only one or two per level. These are basically rooms where riches abound, but you might also accidentally leap to your death if you are not careful. There are plenty of secret rooms to be found as well, keeping in style with recent arcade games.

Cute, light and catchy
All this points to Woody's World being a very derivative game. This isn't a particularly bad thing, because the different elements taken from other games work together rather well together. The main character is suitably cute, as are the 'enemies' which take the form of cutesome lickle animals like foxes and birds.

The graphics are nice, the tunes are light and catchy and change depending where you are in the game, and the World which Woody must traverse is bloody huge - so you're likely to be playing it for weeks on end.

With this game and the forthcoming Donk! (previously Dong!), distributors DMI are going to make a name for themselves in the quality platform game market, which considering their commitment to the Amiga is not a bad thing. More power to them.



Woody's World logo

Nein, dies ist nicht die Versoftung von Mr. Allens Ehedrama! Es handelt sich vielmehr um das erste Vollpreisspiel des neuseelandischen Vision-Labels, das schon sehr gute Sharewaregames abgeliefert hat.

Nach ihren PD-Erfolgen legen die Jungs von der anderen Seite des Globus nun ein recht ansprechendes Debut im kommerziellen Bereich vor: Woody ist ein Elf, der sechs Platform-Schlösser von bösen Gegern entsorgen muß und dazu möglichst alle herumliegenden Goldmünzen aufklauben sollte.

Dabei sind die spielerischen Anleihen, die man bei allen möglichen Konsolen-Klassikern genommen hat, unübersehbar - die noch mal in Unterabschnitte eingeteilten Level sind z.B. über eine Landkarte a la "Super Mario World" zugänglich, die Plattformen mit ausfahrbaren Stächeln kennt man aus "B.C. Kid", un die Achterbahnfahrten in den Bonusrunden erinneren stark an "Sonic".

Gut geklaut ist in diesem Fall allerdings nur die halbe Miete, denn Woody's World erreicht trotz der spielerischen Zitate weder das Tempo von "Zool" oder "Superfrog" noch die ideenvielfalt von Onkel "Mario".

Im Prinzip besteht das Gameplay aus dem ständigen Platthupfen der Feinde und Einsammeln von Gold in jeder Form und in jedem Geheimraum.

Dafür herrscht hier währlich kein Mängel an abwechslungsreichen, sauber scrollenden Sammellandschaften, heimtückischen Fallen, mackellos animierten Gegern und praktischen Levelcodes. Musik und FX werden relativ schnell langweilig, dafür gibt's an der Steuerung nichts auszusetzen, die auch Zwei-Button-Sticks wie etwa das Sega-Pad unterstützt.

Ein Einstand von visionären Kraft ist den visionären Newcomern also nicht gerade geglückt, aber warten wir mal ab, was ihr nächstes Profi-Spiel bringt.(mm)



Woody's World logo

It's a world of laughter, it's a world of tears. It's a world of boats, and a world of piers. It's Woody's very own world of woodiness. Probably.

POOLS OF DARKNESS: ...which is why my grandmother never wore tight-fitting underwear.
[AUDIENCE LAUGHTER]
MICHAEL ASPEL: Ha ha ha ha. Or slept with the window closed, presumably?
POOLS OF DARKNESS: Exactly.
[MORE LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE.]

MICHAEL: But I'm sure our next guest has never suffered the same problem. Ladies and gentlemen... The latest in line for a 'cute/console-esque/platforms' label... A game about a chap called Woody wh's searching for a magic crystal to save the kingdom from some unspecified evil or other... Please give a great big warm welcome to Woody's World.
[AUDIENCE APPLAUSE.]

WOODY'S WORLD: Hello
MICHAEL: Woody's world - your detractors reckon you're trying to look like Super Mario Brothers, but don't even come close. How do you respond>
WOODY'S WORLD: What detractors?
MICHAEL: Well, me for instance.
WOODY'S WORLD: Oh. Um. I suppose I do look a bit like a Mario game. Slightly. But you could say that about any platform game, surely?

MICHAEL: Yes, but there's something about you in particular. All that hitting-blocks-with-your-head business, maybe. Anyway, let's talk about your graphics.
WOODY'S WORLD: What do you think of them? 'Woody' like 'em - that's what I was wondering on the way here!
[SILENCE FROM AUDIENCE]

MICHAEL: They're... well... they're okay, aren't they? But not exactly startling. All the sprites are a bit titchy, and, although you claim to use 32 colours...
WOODY'S WORLD: Sure do.
MICHAEL: ...it doesn't look like more than half a dozen or so. And you look so flat.
WOODY'S WORLD: Probably because I haven't got parallax scrolling backgrounds, for some reason.

MICHAEL: Oh well, at least everything moves slickly enough. Which brings us to... the music.
WOODY'S WORLD: What about it?
MICHAEL: Well, how about giving us a quick tune?
WOODY'S WORLD: What, now?
MICHAEL: Go on.
WOODY'S WORLD: Crumbs. Er, it's not all that good. It sort of goes, er, tum te te te tum te te tum, er, te te tum, er, tum. And so on.
[SILENCE FROM AUDIENCE]
MICHAEL: Hmm.


He's an odd little fellow, isn't he?

WOODY'S WORLD: I told you it wasn't very good. P'raps it's just as well it's really quiet, so you can hardly hear it.
MICHAEL: Ha ha ha ha. Now, to Woody himself. He's an odd little fellow, isn't he? For a start, he doesn't seem to have much in the way of personality...
WOODY'S WORLD: I suppose not, really. Although you've got to admit it's quite handy the way he can jump on baddies' heads to kill them, and sometimes turn into a prince who can karate-kick them, and also fire blobs if he picks up the right sort of block.

MICHAEL: True. Although he can't pick up a cloak and glide around, can he?
WOODY'S WORLD: Eh?
MICHAEL: Or, for that matter, ride on the back of a dinosaur.
WOODY'S WORLD: Huh?
MICHAEL: Sorry - just my little joke. I must say, though, Woody's inertia and everything is just about right, and he jumps about rather nicely. As controllability goes he couldn't be much better.

WOODY'S WORLD: So you reckon I play pretty well, then?
Weeelll... up to a point. Each level starts off looking very... not wonderful exactly... alright. But then they just never seem to go anywhere. Once you've seen the first couple of screens of each one you've basically seen the whole thing - it's just the same sorts of obstacles over and over again. And they tend to be spread out rather thinly, so there are lots of complete empty areas, with just the odd miniscule baddy crawling out.
WOODY'S WORLD: Humph.

MICHAEL: And going back to this 'personality' thing - the game as a whole doesn't seem to have one, does it? Some of the baddies are reasonably cute (if you peer at them very closely), but you're unlikely to remember anything about them after a day or two. There's just no coherent 'feel' to the game to hold it all together. Even the levels have got boring names like 'Caves' and 'Mines'.

POOLS OF DARKNESS: It's still reasonably good fun to play, though, I reckon. But don't expect it to last you for very long. There are sixty levels, but they're not breathtakingly long, and with the passwords you should have it polished off within a week or so.
MICHAEL: What, with all the little secret rooms and things? There are lots of them.
POOLS OF DARKNESS: Yeah, they're a nice touch, but, like the rest of the game, they hardly set one's pulse racing.

WOODY'S WORLD: Um, would this be a good time to mention my new book?
MICHAEL: Thanks very much, then, Woody's World. If you'd like to stay put on the settee for a minute we'll welcome my next guest, A320 Airbus.
A32 AIRBUS: Hello.
[AUDIENCE APPLAUSE]
(Could we stop this now, please? - Ed)


WHEREVER YOU GO - THERE YOU ARE

Woody's World
DATA: Sensors indicate a Class M life-supporting level with lots of cogs that are quite tricky to jump onto, sir.
PICARD: Very good, Mr Data.

Woody's World
DATA: Readings suggest a level with pools of lava in it, sir. We could launch a probe.
PICARD: Make it so.

Woody's World
GEORDI: I'd say it was some sort of wormhole, sir. Either that or the exit.

Woody's World
WORF: My guess is that inside these boats are some levels that look like the Ghost Houses in Super Mario World, sir.
PICARD: Number One, assemble an away team.

Woody's World
TROI: It's... an underground cave level with... a boat with cannons on it and... nngh... an interesting wibbly effect on the water.
PICARD: Picard to Engineering. I need warp engines immediately.

Woody's World
PICARD: Ensign, Warp 9, Engage!
RIKER: But don't you want to investigate this outdoor level that's got platform with spiky things that pop up out of them?
PICARD: No, not really.



Woody's World logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Their Public Domain games are some of the best around, but are Vision Software capable of producing the same standard on commercial software? Tony Dillon investigates.

A couple of months ago CU AMIGA proved that shareware doesn't have to be poorware when we included a rather smashing little shoot 'em up on our coverdisk by the name of Cybernetix. Designed and coded by New Zealand-based team Vision Software, it served to show just how good they really were. Woody's World is their first full-price release, and I'm happy to say that it maintains the same levels of playability and professionalism. Could we have another contender for the Team 17-PD-Team-Turned-Professional crown?

Woody is an elf, and a worried one at that. The King has summoned him to give him the bad news of the day. The world is about to end. The magic crystal that holds time and space together has been stolen. Glancing over a map of the world, the King informs Woody that although only six castles were marked on the map, there were actually seven, the location of the last being a secret. Woody, convinced that he would find the crystal there, decides to do the decent thing and head off in search of the crystal. And that is the basis for a fairly excellent platform romp.

STEAMING AHEAD
You begin the game in the King's Steam Castle - three easy-ish levels that let you learn the way the game works. Doffed around each level are any number of chests, and you have to collect at least half of them (more on later levels) before the exit will open and let you out.

To begin with, these chests are all in highly conspicuous locations, such as on the ground one screen from where you start, but as you move through the game, you'll need to explore the levels more and more.

The levels are generally made of mazes spread in all directions, with dozens of hidden bonuses placed in the unlikeliest of locations.

As the action takes place against the clock, just getting through the level collecting bare minimum can be a challenge, let alone seeking things like extra lives and Woody power-ups. But it's all part the fun.

EVEN ODDS
A platform game wouldn't be a platform game if there weren't millions of traps and other nasties waiting to wipe you out and Woody's World is a platform game in every sense. Of course there are lots of things that walk, run, and fall all over the place - my particular hate is the small mushroom legs on the stepping stones levels that can tell when you're trying to jump on it, and runs out of the way before can squash it. 0n top of that, you've got location-specific hazards.

In the Steam Castle, great jets skin-blistering steam at regular intervals which boil you to death. In the Lava Castle, gargoyles dribble fire. Islands are connected by stepping stone areas, which are wet and also slippery to walk on. For every three steps you take, you'll slide another one - many a life has been lost by slipping over the edge of a short platform!

That's the opposition. Thankfully the home team are rooting for you, and have left all manner of goodies around The most basic, and the most useful is the magic star. When found, this gives you the ability to lob throwing stars at the enemy - a lot easier sometimes than trying to jump on them. Sadly this ability only lasts for the current life - lose it and you lose the star. The other real helping hand is the large amount of extra lives hidden in blocks all over each level. At first glance, they might look a little generous, but believe me when I say you'll need every one!

CAN YOU KEEP IT?
Bonus points are awarded for the number of coins collected in the level, and the bulk of these are to be found the many secret rooms. Well, I call them secret rooms, but they aren't all secret. A large door with a question mark on it isn't the easiest thing to hide! In these rooms are tons of coins and a special bonus, such as extra life or a power up, even one of the chests you're searching for!

If you've seen either of Vision's big PD games, you'll know how much attention goes towards the presentation. Woody's World is one of the most original looking platform games seen for a while simply because it doesn't try to look like a console game and doesn't try to look cute. The sprites and backdrops have a certain cartoon feel, but that's as cute as they get.

Playing Woody's World isn't like playing most platform games around at the moment. For a start, it isn't as fast as Zool or Superfrog, nor is it as complex as Flashback. This game doesn't aim to astound you, nor push back the barriers of Amiga games. All it does is promise to give you enough challenge to keep you playing, and enough fun to give you a good time while you are playing. Both of these promises it fulfils admirably.


MAPPING IT OUT

This is the map of the game world. The question marks show the locations open to you but yet to be completed, the stars show the ones you have done. Every time you complete a level, the levels immediately surrounding it are displayed. This way, there are dozens of paths to follow, and the game needn't be played in any particular order. All you need to do is get to all the castles and find that gem!

Woody's World
THE THREE WOODYS

Woody is actually three elves in one - the other sides of his schizophrenic self released when he knocks the appropriate goodies from the blocks they're hidden in. The three Woodys and their respective abilities are as follows:

Woody's World
WOODY
This is your basic, run of the mill elf. He can run quite fast, has a sturdy pair of boots and can throw stars a short distance - further if he's moving when throwing. Bog standard really.

Woody's World
PRINCE WOODY
His first step up the ladder to success. Prince Woody is invoked when a Sceptre is collected and not only can he run faster and throw stars further than the factory model, he's also a master of self defence, able to pull off a lethal sliding kick when necessary.

Woody's World
KING WOODY
The true King Of The Castle. Picking up a crown gives Woody the fastest feet of all, as well as giving him super-human strength when it comes to throwing starts. Best of all, though, King Woody can enter Throne rooms - sort of royal secret rooms, only with more coins and even bigger surprises!