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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Alkatraz Protection System

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Ben Stone, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

'A game that takes fantasy role playing one step further' claims the cover of Go!'s latest offering. What?! Neither of us claim to be role-playing nuts, but we've seen an awful lot better than this!

You start off a fresh-faced magician with only a few spells and not much power. Fret not though, spells and other interesting goodies can be picked up easily enough throughout the game. There are plenty of monsters on the first level, who again, don't appear to have done anything wrong but must be blasted if the magic man is to proceed to the next stage. The range in 'ardness from the awfully wimpy Giant Bat to the wickedly bad Vampire. And your object in the first level is to blast the six monsters who guard stolen treasures and then return the treasure to its rightful owner. As a reward the city gives you some food to restore your energy and stamina.

The second level is meant to be a test proving your ability to enter the third level. (Not very imaginative, I know, but I suspect that Go!'s writers were having a bad day!) Here you get to choose which monsters to battle with, and killing one gets you a reward. Rewards can be in the form of another spell or a familiar, (that's a cat or crow, you know the sort of thing), and these can be useful for giving you extra powers or making you invulnerable to certain spells. The major reward is a magical item - and you need three of these to go on to level three. Assuming you survive this arduous task (it isn't the game's difficulty that's the problem it's being able to breathe in the atmosphere of boredom it creates!) then we can stomp (and what a poorly animated stomp it is too), into level three , where you've got to destroy the seven Wizards and their guardian monsters in order of difficulty. If after tackling one of these truly 'ard guys you don't have enough energy to go on, you are awarded some more - what fun!

You may have gathered that we're not too keen on Wizard Warz. That's putting it mildly: it's rubbish!

Strategy games are fine when they do involve strategy, but this relies far too much on 'arcade type action' which simply isn't fast enough to handle enjoyably. The graphics are very poor indeed - the playing area involves character scrolling which shouldn't have emerged from the dark ages.

At full Go! price Wizard Warz is nothing short of a rip-off. It has to be one of the least fun pieces of programming we've had the misfortune to play in months.

Glad to see Go! are maintaining their standards... Bad news, don't buy it.