Wizard of Wor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wizard of Wor
Wizard of wor gameplay.png
Gameplay screenshot from the Commodore 64. The player's Worrior is on the right (yellow) and the maze contains several Burwors (blue).
Designer(s) Tom McHugh and Dave Nutting[1]
Platform(s) Arcade, ported to Atari 800, Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Bally Astrocade
Release date(s) 1981
Genre(s) Action/maze
Mode(s) Single player, 2 player simultaneous
Cabinet Standard upright, Mini upright, Cocktail[2]
Display Raster

Wizard of Wor is an arcade game from 1981,[2] developed by Midway. It was ported to the Atari 8-bit family, Commodore 64, Atari 2600, Atari 5200 and renamed to The Incredible Wizard for the Bally Astrocade. The game was released as part of the compilations Midway Arcade Treasures 2 (2004) and Midway Arcade Origins (2012).[3]


Wizard of Wor is an action game for one or two players. The game takes the form of several maze-like dungeons infested with monsters. The players' characters, called Worriors, have to kill all the monsters. Player one has yellow Worriors, on the right, and player two has blue Worriors, on the left. In a two-player game, the players are also able to shoot each other's Worriors, earning bonus points and causing the other player to lose a life. Team-oriented players can successfully advance through the game by standing back-to-back (such as in a corner) and firing at anything that comes at them.

Each dungeon consists of a single-screen rectangular grid with walls and corridors in various formations. The Worriors and the monsters can travel freely through the corridors. Each dungeon has doors at the left and right edges, which connect with each other, making the dungeon wrap around. Whenever a door is traversed by a player or monster, they deactivate for a short period, making them impassable. A player who exits the door can pop back through the door immediately when the Worluk or Wizard is in the dungeon.

The enemy roster. All point values are doubled in a Double Score Dungeon.

The various monsters include the following:

  • Burwor: A blue wolf-type creature.
  • Garwor: A yellow Tyrannosaurus rex-type creature. Has the ability to turn invisible, thus it can only be seen with the radar.
  • Thorwor: A red scorpion-like creature. Also has the ability to turn invisible, thus it can only been seen with the radar.
  • Worluk: An Insectoid-type creature.
  • Wizard of Wor: A blue wizard.

Normally, each dungeon starts filled with six Burwors. In the first dungeon, killing the last Burwor will make a Garwor appear; in the second, the last two Burwors are replaced by Garwors when killed; and so on. From the sixth dungeon on, a Garwor will replace every Burwor when killed. On every screen, killing a Garwor causes a Thorwor to appear. There will never be more than six enemies on the screen at once. From the second dungeon on, after the last Thorwor is killed, a Worluk will appear and try to escape through one of the side doors, ending the level. Killing the Worluk turns the next level into a "Double Score Dungeon".

The Wizard of Wor will appear in or after the 2nd dungeon once the Worluk has been killed or has escaped (depending on how many men you have lost). After a few seconds the Wizard will disappear and teleport across the dungeon, gradually approaching a Worrior. The Wizard remains in the dungeon until he shoots a Worrior or is killed. Killing the Wizard of Wor will also create a double score dungeon for the next dungeon. He uses a speech synthesizer to taunt the player.

Through levels 1-7, the player is referred to as a "Worrior". After dungeon 7 the Player is referred to as a "Worlord". The "Worlord Dungeons" are more difficult because they have fewer walls. Eventually, with Dungeon 13, there are no walls.

There are two special dungeons with increased difficulty. The 4th dungeon is called "THE ARENA" and the 13th dungeon is called "THE PIT". The Arena has a large open area in its center, while the Pit has no interior walls at all. A bonus Worrior is awarded before each of these levels.

Each dungeon begins with a dramatic rendition of the five-note opening from "Danger Ahead"—the theme to the radio and television series Dragnet—with the fifth note only playing on the "double score dungeon" screen.


The arcade version of Wizard of Wor was moderately successful.[4] Video Games called the Atari 2600 version of Wizard of Wor "not very good", with good sound but "uninspired visuals" compared to the Bally Astrocade version. The magazine compared the flickering graphics to the Atari version of Pac-Man ("Flickerman").[5] Electronic Games called the Atari 8-bit version "outstanding". It similarly praised the arcade version, stating that while one-person and competitive two-person play was excellent, two people cooperating was "a unique playing experience".[6]


  1. ^ Hague, James, The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers 
  2. ^ a b Wizard of Wor Parts and Operating Manual, Article retrieved 2011-10-19.
  3. ^ http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/11/14/midway-arcade-origins-review
  4. ^ Pearl, Rick (June 1983). "Closet Classics". Electronic Games. p. 82. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Wiswell, Phil (March 1983). "New Games From Well-Known Names". Video Games. p. 69. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "The Players Guide to Fantasy Games". Electronic Games. June 1983. p. 47. Retrieved 6 January 2015. 

External links[edit]