Wizkid (video game)
|Wizkid: The Story of Wizball II|
Wizkid: The Story of Wizball II is a computer game for the Amiga, Atari ST and IBM PC computers, developed by Sensible Software and released by Ocean Software in 1992. Wizkid is officially the sequel to the earlier game Wizball, developed and released by the same companies.
The story starts after the Wiz and his cat Nifta had restored colours to their world. They were both married (to different spouses, apparently) and had children: the Wiz had a son, Wizkid, and Nifta had eight kittens. All was peaceful and happy until the evil mouse wizard Zark came and kidnapped the Wiz, Nifta, and all the kittens, imprisoning them in different parts of the world. It is Wizkid's job to save them.
- Sunset Wizoward, a normal rural landscape.
- Ahoy Wiz Maties, a sunken sailing ship under water.
- Mount Wizimanjaro, a volcano.
- Elementree my dear Wizkid, a giant tree.
- The Ghost of Wizkid Past, a graveyard.
- Wizkid and the Wizball Mystery, a shoot 'em up game similar to the bonus sequence in Wizball.
- Wizkid goes to the Circus, a circus.
- Wizkid meets Dog Girl, a woman who barks like a dog.
- Jailhouse Wiz, a giant turtle with a jail on its back.
In each level, the player plays the disembodied head of Wizkid, which can fly around the screen in all four directions. The object is to knock various objects on top of enemies, killing them. When all enemies are killed, play proceeds to the next screen, and after all screens have been completed, proceeds to the next level.
In the action parts of the game, two bonus objects are on offer - a nose which allows Wizkid to juggle blocks, and teeth allowing him to grip them (they can even be taken to different screens - taking a large block onto a screen with only small blocks can be advantageous). The teeth are temporary, but failing to complete a level sees you lose either item. A bonus "Crossword 2091" screen is sometimes activated by failing to complete a level, in which the player is presented with a grid and a sequence of words, which must be arranged so as to interlock into a crossword-style arrangement. Completion of this, which involves a fair amount of trial and error, adds $500 to the bank balance.
The adventure aspect of the game comes into play when Wizkid manages to collect a whole sequence of bonus musical notes. This allows him to re-embody his head and interact with the background landscape. Items can be bought with money, and must be used throughout the game to collect enough kittens to reach Zark's Castle before Zark can get back. These puzzles often include humorous interludes - for example, on the first level you must distract a vicious-looking dog by giving him a newspaper; moments later he can be seen reading it whilst sitting in an out-house toilet. There is one more mystery task to be completed in order to win the game.
Wizkid uses the famous "level warping" system originally introduced in Super Mario Bros. in reverse. Playing only the arcade part only takes the player to levels 1, 4, 7 and 9. Hidden routes in the adventure part are required to access the other levels, and thus obtain enough kittens to complete the game. Level 3 must be completed in "head mode", and it features some of the harder screens.
Wizkid continued a thread common in Sensible Software games of introducing hidden obscenity in apparently justified gaming terms. In Wizkid, when the player completes the sequence of musical notes, all of them drop from the status display at the top of the screen into the play area, exploding into a number of gold coins which the player can collect for extra points. This sequence was referred to in the manual as the "golden shower".
MikroBitti magazine (issue 6 of 1992) gave the game 91% rating. Reviewers wrote that the game is highly original and fun but lamented that it is probably excessively strange to become appreciated by wider audiences.
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