Hocus Pocus (video game)
Episode 1 gameplay
|Genre(s)||Side-scrolling platform game|
Hocus Pocus is a 1994 side-scrolling platform video game developed by Moonlite Software and published by Apogee Software for MS-DOS. It is a 256 color VGA game featuring 360 degree scrolling and parallaxing backgrounds. A part of this title is distributed under the shareware license. In the game, the player controls Hocus, a young wizard apprentice, sent on a quest by Terexin, leader of the Council of Wizards to prove his worthiness to join this council. To do this, Hocus has to beat 36 levels spread over four episodes (nine levels per episode), filled with over 30 different kinds of monsters, including imps, ghosts, and dragons, and a boss at the end of each episode.
The object of the game is to collect all the crystal balls within a level to proceed to the next. Hocus will encounter monsters which he may avoid or kill with his magic lightning bolt spell. Within the levels there are also various items and treasure that Hocus can pick up for points or special abilities. Some levels have silver and gold doors, which can be opened after Hocus pick up the corresponding keys.
Treasure items include rubies, diamonds, goblets and crowns. While Hocus does not have to pick up treasure, the player is awarded bonus points if all treasure is collected. The player also receives bonus points if they complete the level within a set time limit.
Hocus starts with 100% health and this percentage decreases as Hocus takes damage from spikes, lava, monsters or their missiles (4% on "easy" mode, 12% on "moderate" mode, 16% on "hard" mode). If this percentage reaches zero, Hocus dies and restarts the level. If Hocus is damaged he can collect healing potions that restore 10% health. There are fight-enhancing potions that enable rapid fire and powerful laser shots. Other potions allow Hocus to jump higher, and teleport to a set location in the level. Most levels have a secret room that may either be behind a hidden wall, or require a hidden teleport potion to get there. One or more holograms of Terexin can be found in most levels. This hologram sometimes gives Hocus a hint to where the secret room may be found, but at other times it will taunt him instead. When Hocus finds a secret room, he will often be rewarded with large amounts of treasure and items.
The final level of each episode contains a boss. There are a total of four bosses in the game. If the Hocus touches one of the bosses, he is immediately killed.
- Boss 1. Mad Monks of MellenWah. These seven monks are guarding the castle walls of the ninth level in episode 1.
- Boss 2. Tree Demons. Those ten bosses take a lot of damage.
- Boss 3. Gray Dragons of Higgendom. There are ten of them and their fireballs are deadly.
- Boss 4. Trolodon. He is the evil wizard and retreats each time a quarter of his vitality is depleted.
The game begins with most of the story of Hocus Pocus being told to the player.
Terexin, a powerful mage, explains that all magic power of the Land of Lattice is entrenched into powerful crystals that resonate if brought together in sets. As leader of the Council of Wizards, Terexin tells Hocus Pocus, the young wizard the player controls, has the quest to obtain such crystals in order to attain more magic powers to become a worthy member of the Council. He promises Hocus that if he manages to become a member, he gets to marry his sweetheart Popopa, who is also Terexin's daughter. Throughout his journey, Hocus encounters strange and sometimes dangerous creatures, like mummies, bats and Eskimos. Terexin, in the form of a hologram, gives the player advice through the game, although the conversations vary from solving a switch puzzle to how long it took him to grow his beard. After defeating Trolodon, the magic areas were now mostly cleared, so they became fairly safe for travel. As for completing his apprenticeship, Hocus Pocus becomes part of the Council of Wizards. At the end of the game, he marries his beloved Popopa, making them Mr. and Mrs. Pocus.
Speculation on the game has arisen that Trolodon was Terexin himself, as the player never gets to see the mage beyond the hologram, and both mages bore the same robes and beard. After Trolodon's defeat, Terexin was spiteful rather than grateful towards Hocus, as he couldn't believe that such a great mage like Trolodon could be defeated by a puny wizard like him who was also a dropout.