Title Monsters of Terror Game Type Shoot-em-up Publisher None (available on Aminet and the authors homepage) Players 1 to 4 (simultaneous) Copatibility AGA only. HD Installable Yes Submission Nathan Wain Profiled Reviewer Review BRIEF DESCRIPTION Monsters of Terror is a faithful conversion of the C64 game Wizard of Wor, which is itself a coin-op conversion. It has 100% accurate sound effects sampled from the C64 game, and the gameplay is near identical. What makes this game worthwhile on the Amiga though is the completely enhanced graphics, and optional enhanced gameplay, combined with options for up to four simultaneous players (the original only had two), human or computer. If you have never seen Wizard of Wor, well, it's a shoot-em-up. Players enter an maze-like arena infested with monsters, their aim is to destroy the monsters, while trying to avoid being shot by the monsters or the other player (who is supposed to be on your side.) More difficult monsters may appear in the arena as their bretheren are killed off, and the round ends when the arena is emptied. SPECIAL HARDWARE/SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS One to four joysticks, an AGA-chipset Amiga (ie: A1200 or A4000), and probably a monitor if you don't want to be playing by ear. COPY PROTECTION None. The game is shareware - the freely distributable version is limited in the number of levels you can play. The paid version (I paid) is branded with your name, in the hope that you won't distribute it. Which is kind of a moot point now, as the author has since made the game free to all anyway. The full version can now be downloaded from his website: http://home.mayn.de/cow/ (not sure if its the full version on Aminet) MACHINES USED FOR TESTING A4000, 2Meg Chip, 112Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.1, 1.2 Gig Quantum HDD, Apollo 4040 daughter board (68040 at 40MHz, with SCSI and 96Meg of local RAM), PicassoIV Graphics Card, VLab video-digitiser, Toshiba 16x CD-Rom, 2 internal floppy-drives, Supra 14.4k Modem, Viewsonic E70 17" SVGA monitor. A4000, 2Meg Chip, 16Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.1, 1.2 Gig Quantum HDD, Toshiba 16x CD-Rom, additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, 1942 Multisync monitor. (Standard 25MHz 68030 CPU without FPU) A1200, 2Meg Chip, 32Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.0, 340 Meg Seagate 2.5" HDD, GVP Cobra accellerator-board (68030 and 68882 at 50MHz, without SCSI), additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, 1942 MultiSync monitor. A1200, 2Meg Chip, 4Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.0, 120 Meg Quantum 2.5" HDD, GVP Ram expansion board (2 SIMM slots and 68882 FPU slot only), additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, Thompson PAL monitor. The game performs identically on all the above setups. Though slowdown due to stuff you have running in the background will, of course, be lessened on the faster Amigas. Oh, and it looked better on a big screen. FIRST IMPRESSIONS Wow. It multitasks! (Actually, this wasn't so much of a suprise, as all the authors previous Aminet releases multitask too. But it's worth making a fuss over as so few other games do it.) Wow. It's gorgeous! Gorgeous, while being a valid statement on its own, is also important relative to the game it copies. The original ones were notably un-gorgeous: Four or maybe six colours on screen, with quite monochromatic sprites. They have now been re-envisioned in rich AGA colours, and they positively pop out of the screen now. Which does kinda beg the question as to why the author left the sound effects 100% original C64 SID-chip sound. Myself I feel this is cool in a neat retro way, but I expect there will be those put off by the unsophisticated, slightly piercing SID tones. There is the notable addition of speech for the main characters now though, and I get the feeling they had quite a bit of fun making them. I think they're great, and they really bring the guys and gals to life. "Monsters I hate them" and the cute screams and stuff. The original, slightly suspenseful, nature of the game has been thankfully preserved, the heartbeat-like background noise being one of the factors that contribute wonderfully to this. And then, in the closing moments of the levels, many of the last monsters to enter are completely invisible for a time, adding just that bit more to the tension. And ultimately there are the two final creatures, the Warlock, who moves at great speed, and the Wizard of Wor, who teleports and shoots with abandon. The level does really build up to a climax, and just leaves you wanting to experience it all over again. GENERAL OPINION The gameplay is just as great as it ever was on the C64. And I get the impression from seeing it emulated, that it is a pretty good replica of what the coin-op game had to offer too. Apart, of course, from the slightly odd joysticks it contained: They would allow a 'half-move' in any given direction, causing the player to face that way, but not move. A tap in the the required direction on your standard Amiga joystick achieves much the same effect IMHO, so I don't consider this a game breaking difference. The new graphics only add to what was honestly a rather drab looking original, and the speech compliments the graphics nicely. An option for some enhanced sound effects would have been nice as the current set, while authentic, seem a touch out of place in comparison to the polish of everything else. The gameplay is significantly enhanced with the possibility of a third and fourth player, and should it be difficult to round up the desired number of pink fleshy people-things to play alongside, the game can provide for Artificial Intelligence counterparts to play in their place. (Which is possibly a good thing, as the AI ones don't every try to shoot you.) One annoying thing about the AI ones is they often go entirely stupid at the beginning of a new round. (Seems to happen only if the Warlock is shot.) They basically start wandering left and right, and completely forget there's an up and down direction they can go in. A shame really, as they make good players in all other respects. Another cool thing is the enhanced gameplay mode: In the original, the players entered the arena, and they shot stuff. End of story. And the original gameplay mode mirrors that. In the enhanced mode, the players can also pick up icons left behind by some of the vanquished monsters. Some give an extra life, enhanced speed, invisibility, shot speed, more shots, etc. The overall effect is you are better able to deal with the monsters and the entire gameplay escalates to higher and more frenetic levels. A couple of bonus stages have been added to spice the level progress too. One is a monster-free "collect the bonus fruit before your team-mates do, or the time runs out" kinda thing, very gauntlet-esque, but with a lot less time to do it. And another has a super-sized monster, which can be kinda tricky to despatch at times. A great high-adrenaline moment though. And then there are a couple of cute cut-scenes, or intermissions, a bit like in the pac-man games. Cute and provide a nice break in the gameplay. CONCLUSIONS If you like Wizard of Wor, I'm willing to bet hard cash you will like this game too. More probably, you will absolutely love it. Otherwise, if running around mazes splatting monsters sounds like your cup of tea, do yourself a favour and check it out. If you happen to have one of those four-player joystick adapters, and were wondering what to play on it apart from Masterblaster (or Gauntlet or Hired Guns), then this is certainly the next one you should try it on. Not to mention the other multiplayer games on the authors website. Monsters is easy for folks to pick up, and a whole lotta fun.