Title Wizkid Game Type Platform Players 1 Compatibility All Submission Joona Palaste (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review Wizkid is the sequel to the famous C64 game Wizball. And if you thought Wizball was weird, you haven't seen anything yet. Wizball had its fantasy story setting and little curiosities, but Wizkid abandons all pretense of seriousness and makes jokes every chance it gets. The story of the game takes place after the story of Wizball. After restoring colours to the world, the Wiz and his cat, Nifta, went home to enjoy a little rest. But then came the evil mouse wizard Zark and kidnapped Nifta and his (her?) eight kittens. The only one who can save them is Wizkid, son of the Wiz. You take the role of Wizkid. The game takes place on nine levels, all of which have pretty, colourful background graphics and exciting music, from sailor songs via Latin rhythms to Elvis Presley songs. Here's where Wizkid's first novel twist comes in. Normally, you would expect to proceed level by level, but if you were skilled, you would find "warps" on the levels which would allow you to skip levels. Wizkid works the opposite way. Played normally, the game only visits levels 1, 4, 7 and 9. You have to find "warps" on the screen to slow down the progress and get to levels 2, 3, 5, 6 and 8. This idea is so interesting, it's a pity other games haven't made use of it as well. Playing the game is done on two layers. On the surface, Wizkid is a simple arcade game, where you guide the disembodied head of Wizkid around the screen, trying to knock coloured blocks off from the screen so they hit the baddies, killing them. Killing all baddies completes the level. Doesn't sound all that special, but there's more. Collect a whole series of bonus notes, and they'll play a tune, allowing you to re-embody your head and access the layer underneath the arcade game, which is the adventuring bit. Here you can walk on the screen scenery, not above it like you did when you were just a head. This allows you to interact with on-screen objects. In the adventuring part of the game, you must find various objects (some examples include a can of Cola, a scarf, and a mouse), which you must then use in various places around the screen, to interact with the scenery and discover the warps to the other levels. This is a novel idea, with enormous potential. However, it hasn't been executed to its full extent. When you get to a place where you could use an object, you get an on-screen "Clue!" sign, whereupon pressing Fire automatically selects the right object and uses it. This, in my mind, makes the adventuring far too easy. Just collect everything you can and let the game do all the thinking for you. It would have been more of a challenge if the game had just displayed the "Clue!" sign and presented you with a menu of objects, where you could select the right one. The arcade game (where you knock blocks to hit baddies) still works well. And if you fail to kill all baddies when you run out of blocks, you get to try that level again. This makes sure younger, less patient players don't lose interest in the game. Also, there are many "secret" bits. The largest of these is found on the first level, through a series of restrooms. I won't spoil the "secret" part for you, but here's a hint: think of binary codes when you're trying to get to the right room number. At the end of each level, you get a kitten. Touching this kitten completes the level. Some kittens you can collect straight away, some you have to pass by, because collecting them would cause you to skip levels. When you have completed level 9, you get to Zark's castle, where you meet the evil mouse wizard Zark himself. It's hard to find any specific fault in Wizkid. The game has excellent graphics and sound, and its sense of humour is suitably wacky and wonderful. The only way I can see to improve it would be to make the adventuring part a little more difficult, and perhaps provide more variety in the arcade part. Also, even though the high score list is saved to disk, it's quite small. At least 20 places would have been expected, since some games have 100 places, or even more. In conclusion, Wizkid is a very good game. It's a classic arcade adventure game, but not a classic just by itself. If you like exciting arcade games with a wacky sense of humour, get Wizkid. You won't be disappointed. However, if you intend to just pick the best games of all time, you could pass Wizkid by, as it offers nothing unique out of its own category. I like Wizkid a lot, but some people might not.