Long, long time ago the ultimate goal of gaming was a highscore record. The games has no achieavable end. Earning an awesome amount of points usually meant also draining the pockets. The machines were chewing every single penny without any hesitaion just to let the poor gamer get another chance to fight the overwhelming amount of enemies. The only advantage the player had, was the skill and the fact that the monters wasn’t too smart.
In the land of Wor every creature, the good ones and the evil, had a “wor” in their name. People from Midway must have had some fun with the creation of these names like Worluk, Burwor and Thorwor.
Chasing the Wizard
Actually, I cannot say what evil has the wizard done, but the hunt is on. According to the naming conwention Worrior is given to our control, and if we are good enough, after a few stages out hero is promoted to worlord. Brave awotars under our command walks into a multi-level dungeon to fight weird monsters, growing in numer with each descending step. Long range laser weapon can make us feel secure in the early stages, but the comfort zone is quite short. The futher we go, the monsters gets tougher and their quantity is rising. Some of these creatures can get invisible, but a skilled player knows how to use a radar, which reveals every single movement. Bosses could make some trouble, as they have power of teleportation, but a single well aimed shot can solve very problem.
If a bullet misses the monster it can cause some trouble. If there are two people hunting down the Wizard of Wor, both of them needs to be extra cautious. The game has been created in an era when freindly fire was a standard. I would call this feature as a multi-edged sword. One side is known as danger – when goal set by two players is getting as low as possible, a single mistake can take a precious life bringing the whole hunt for glory to ruin. The second edge is called competition. The best way to build some drama is to add some rivalry to the game. After some time it can get a little boring to fight the same monster roster over and over again. The game can get a second life when the players decide to fight each other. Without respect for any rules I’ll add a third edge to the friendly-fire-sword. Some of us needs to feed their ambition. In games the best way to do it is by getting the highest of the high scores. In this game killing a Worrior is worth more points than any of the basic creatures. Only the Wizard of Wor himself gives the player more points than a fellow companion. An experienced pair of players could make an agreement to raise their score to a new level with this knowledge.
In an arcade game it is a standard that there is an infinite number of levels. Developers of Wizard of Wor designed 25 different maps, divided into three tiers: easy, hard and special. Probably they did not assume that the playes could often ascend below sixteenth floor of the dungeon. First seven stages are drawn from a set of 15 easy pre-defined maps, but for all that is below there are only 8 more diffucult labitynths. It not that hard to count the number od special levels, which is as low as two. “The Arena” is a place where the Warrior can become a Worlord and earn an extra life. The second special map is called “The Pit” – if you would like to know more about it, you will have to get there.
It is not an easy task to describe technical aspect of a game created more han 30 yers ago, so I will keep it brief. How the graphics looks like, you can see on screens around this text. I would say it is simple, almost figurative, but very clear. Music and sound effect are worth checking out. Gloomy, doleful sounds creates a nice atmosphere. At the time of release the soundtrack could give a player goosebumps. Great addidtion to a nice gameplay.
Long story short – I like it
At first sight “Wizard of Wor” is a simple game from the beginning of 80. When we look into the gears that keeps the game going it shows that the simplicity can give a lot of fun. It is quite nice to play in the single player mode, but the game shines a lot more when there are two gamers in front of the monitor. Up to this day I like to go back to the dungeon to look for a Wizard called as Wor.