03
Jun
12

Wizard of Wor on the commodore 64

In recent years I got a commodore 64 micro computer in my efforts to begin collecting old computer hardware and software. I never had one of the machines when I was a kid, and thus did not know much about the software on the machines. I was a bit worried about getting software for it on tape or disk as both those mediums are decaying, and many disks and tapes no longer function. So I decided that I would concentrate on getting cartridge games, of which I have about 20 odd of them now. One of the games that has become one of my favourites is Wizard of Wor.

The game was made by midway in 1980 in the arcades, and shortly after for the commodore 64. You control a Worrior who travels around maze like dungeons trying to defeat creature summoned by the Wizard of Wor himself. There are three main types of creatures and two that may appear later. The creatures travel around the maze occasionally shooting some kind of lightning bolt. The Garwor and Thorwor can make themselves invisible when they are out of a direct line of sight from a player. As the game progresses the creatures speed up making it significantly harder to avoid them. If you manage to kill all the creatures the Worluk may appear and start travelling around the dungeon quickly. If you manage to kill it, you will get double the score rate for anything you kill in the next dungeon. You may also run into the Wizard himself after the Worluk is killed or escapes. The Wizard teleports around the level and also moves quite quickly, but if he catches you no lives are lost. The mazes also have the path leading off-screen like pacman does, where you can cross from one side to the other. The path is blocked for a short period after someone uses it however.

You can play with a second player as well, and you can choose to play cooperatively or against each other. It is much easier to survive longer with a second player helping, but you do need to be careful as your shots will kill your friend as well as the monsters.

The commodore version is very similar to the arcade original, in particular the sound is pretty much spot on. The gameplay is pretty good on both, with the arcade version understandably being slightly harder. The c64 version gets pretty hard quickly as well, it is just more forgiving, and does not put in an AI player as player two when playing on your own. Control via the joystick is very good and responsive. I have a couple of competition pro joysticks that I have found to be quite good.

I have found the game to be quite addictive, and it takes a good bit of practise to get high scores. I was recently able to get about 76000 on my c64 with a bit of practise. I enjoy the game enough that every time I play with my old commodore 64 I usually play some Wizard of Wor.

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