Risky Woods

Title           Risky Woods
Game Type       Platform
Publisher       Electronic Arts
Players         1
Compatibility   OCS/AGA
HD Installable  No
Submission      Eric Haines (ehaines@mint.net)

    The 1987 Taito arcade game Rastan is one of my all-time favorites. You
controlled a barbarian warrior-type who hacked and slashed his way through
six side-scrolling levels. The gameplay was about perfect; I kept playing
until I managed to win first on one quarter, then on one life. Naturally I
wanted an Amiga version, but if there ever was one (Taito did advertise
one as "forthcoming" at one point), I missed it. So, I kept buying
Rastan-esque games in hopes of the next-best-thing. Three of them come to
mind: Torvak the Warrior, Risky Woods, and Leander.

    While Torvak the Warrior was a disappointment, Risky Woods is more
like it. It's less like Rastan, but it's got gameplay and style.

    The graphics are quite lovely. They fit the title nicely, being
somewhat dark, and what with effects like smooth sky gradients, the whole
thing has a rather "arcadey" feel. The scrolling is good, and the
animation is fine. All the sprites are done on a bit larger scale than
normal, which makes for more detail, although this isn't entirely a good
thing as it gives you less room and less time to react to enemies.

    Sound-wise, it's all very slick. Good sound effects and catchy music
also contribute to the arcade feel. No choosing one or the other here,

    While being a side-scrolling, jumping, monster-bashing,
pick-up-the-bonuses type of game, Risky Woods differs from typical Rastan
gameplay in several ways. First, you throw daggers rather than fighting
with a sword, so it's really more of a shooting game than a hack-n-slash
game. The biggest difference is that when you kill monsters, they leave
behind coins, which you can pick up and buy better weapons with. If you
get killed, though, you lose most of your loot, so be careful (at least
you can get some of it back if you're quick and your coins haven't fallen
off the bottom of the screen).

    On your journey, you come across guardians who've been turned to
stone, and freeing them is the key to advancing to the next level,
stopping off at the shop first of course. There's a little strategy
involved here: do you replenish your energy, or do you keep saving in
hopes of buying bigger badder weapons?

    The drawbacks are few. Most annoying is the copy protection, which
requires you to look up symbols in the manual. As mentioned above, the
somewhat larger scale of the graphics can create problems, but that's
minor. There are four worlds, with a couple of levels each, and if you're
any good at this sort of game, you'll complete it too soon. It's all quite
good fun, and well-polished, so it's a shame it couldn't have been a bit

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