Monsters of Terror

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

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.

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

(not sure if its the full version on Aminet)

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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