Sunday, 16 December 2012

Specvent Calendat Day 15 - Wizard's Lair

Wizard's Lair (Bubble Bus, 1985)

Hang on, didn't we already cover Atic Atac a few days ago? There's no getting away from it, Wizard's Lair wears its influences pretty openly, but then again, so did Spectipede. It takes the AA formula and adds resource management, in the form of depletable stocks of weaponry and keys - run out of one and you're defenceless, the other and you're stuck on getting through half the doors in the game (the ones that open and close randomly are still there, but as I discovered on my second play tonight you can easily get stuck in a room with no self-opening doors carrying no keys, at which point you may as well sing of gold... luckily, as well as picking up health bonuses and occasionally extra lives, you can also pick up extra weapons and keys, and also gold, which can be exchanged for keys, diamonds, weapons or health on finding a scroll, as above. I should also know what the diamonds were for...

Most enemies drain health, but the knights and executioners are instakills - unless you've recently picked up a helmet. With skulls to kills you, Lion pieces to help you escape, secret passages, lifts, trapdoors and even a magic lift (again, above) to take you to any of the seven levels (as long as you know their names) there was a lot going on here. Indeed, memory use was squeezed so much that some of the rooms had to do without borders and draw in blank walls each time you enter them.

Wizard's Lair got positive reviews almost everywhere, including a Crash Smash, through Your Spectrum contrived to find three reviewers who all agreed it was "mediocre... old hat" - maybe they couldn't use the diamonds either...

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