Wizball

Reviewer: Rachael
Publisher: Ocean
Price: 7.95

We've had games about wizards and we've had games about balls before so now let's have a game about a wizard with only one ball. The other was in the Albert Hall.

Sorry, old habits die hard. It reminds me of scrubbing up with the rugby team (well, where else do you think I met Gwyn?). Anyhow, this is a hybrid of genius bouncerius and genius shoot 'em upius, sub-species additional weaponius. Which means lots to kill and bonuses to be gained but nasty controls to master.

It seems that the wizard Wiz, is trying to save his home planet, Wizworld (obviously he loves its novel name). The menace is Zark who is robbing the world of it's colours... which sounds the best excuse for the Spectrum's dodgy atributes I've heard in a long while.

According to the inlay, Zark has an army of horrible sprites, though they looked pretty good to me as I blasted away. Far better than the Wizard's Wizball, in fact, which resembles nothing more than a nauseous smiley badge.

The only way to save the planet is to shoot red, green and blue colour bubbles and release droplets of pigment, which you can catch with your pussy (you knew wizards had cats, didn't you). Wiz's is a catelite, a sort of feline satellite which resembles a junior wizball rather than the furry little thing you'd all love to stroke.

You collect colours from three levels at a time, moving between them by a series of tunnels. The drops top up your paint pots until you've collected enough to redecorate the landscape, after which everything reverts to its technicoloured hues and you can proceed to a bonus screenwhere Wiz can earn a Wiz-perk in the Wiz-lab (such staggering imagination!).

The problem is that you don't start off with a catelite. In fact you don't start off with anything more than a weapon and an irritating habit of bouncing whichever way you're spinning. Somehow you have to shoot a alien or two to produce a green pearl to collect it.

You've heard of pearls of wisdom, right? Well, these are pearls of purchase and they let you stock up on useful attributes such as steering power, extra shooting power, smart bombs, and yes, of course, your catelite. Once you start to get equipped the game becomes much easier.

My major complaint is that at the start it's infernally difficult. Quite often you don't stand a chance and lose a life almost immediately as you're unable to negotiate a floating alien. You could also drop down a tunnel, which results in a hostile reception requiring all your manoeuvring skills.

Wizball's an odd game, which can be extremely addictive if you're willing to carry on regardless of all the unfair early deaths. But if you're not quite so obsessive, you may just whizz off for something else!

YS CLAPOMETER
A novel game with cheerful graphics and clever gameplay but hard to get into
GRAPHICS:9/10
PLAYABILITY:9/10
VALUE FOR MONEY:7/10
ADDICTIVENESS:7/10
TOTAL:8/10

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