Wizard's Lair was originally released earlier
this year on the Spectrum and although it was, and indeed
is, a version of Atic Atac cum Sabre Wulf
(albeit an improved one), it proved as popular as its
game is essentially an arcade adventure with a bit of
shoot-anything-that-moves thrown in for good measure.
Pothole Pete, intrepid explorer extraordinaire, was
out on a subterranean stroll when he stumbled across
the legendary Wizard's Lair (hence the title). Pete
knew of the legend (probably read the instructions as
well) but was foolish enough not to take its warning
seriously. Which explains why he's in the predicament
he's in now.
Legend of the Cave (as relayed by the cassette inlay):
a legend told long ago,
About dark caves far down below,
Where deep within a Wizard dwells,
Bespaking doom and casting spells.
If this lair thou dost uncover,
Four pieces of lion thou must discover,
Only then may you escape.
Past the lion that guards the gate.
So heed this warning and beware,
Never venture into 'Wizard's Lair'.'
search for the four pieces of the amulet, sorry Golden
Lion, takes place deep inside a massive 256-screen network
of underground caves, rooms and passages, complete with
all the objects and nasty creatures one would expect
to find in such a dire and foreboding place. Most of
the objects can be taken to aid Pete in his quest, but
there are a couple of exceptions -- one or two things
have a rather terminal effect when picked up!
start the game with five lives and a limited amount
of weaponry. Each life has a continually depleting energy
supply, and should this run out then a life will be
lost. Both energy and lives can be replenished though
-- energy through picking up any food found around the
cavern, and lives from glowing chalices. Other useful
objects are wings that temporarily speed you up (winged
feet?), bits of armour for limited protection, crosses
to enable you to pass through certain barriers, and
weapons to increase your weaponry. Rings, diamond keys
and spells also lie about the place for the taking,
the last two being of considerable importance . . .
doors in the cave can only be passed through when in
possession of a key. Each time You go through a door
a key is used up, so you have to choose your exits carefully
-- it's very easy to get 'locked in' a few rooms when
your keys run out! Further keys, though, can be picked
up in the cave or obtained via magic in the form of
latter can only be used if you have some form of gold
(chests, crowns, coins and bars), since the spell draws
its power from the precious metal. The gold can be turned
into either keys, rings, diamonds, extra energy or weaponry,
the quantity of which depending upon how much gold you
have managed to amass.
locations are displayed in the same manner as Atic
Atac, ie a perspective plan view, and are all different,
being composed of rock, stone, flora, fauna and even
rivers and streams! Unlike the Ultimate game though,
the main character, Pete, is also viewed from 'above',
giving an effective overhead look. On moving from one
location to another the screens 'flick', as opposed
to scroll, and many nasties appear very quickly thereafter.
Most of the doors separating the locations open and
close frequently, which means you have to time your
exit well. There are even secret passages to be found!
256 rooms of the lair are spread over seven levels and
each can be accessed by elevator in one of two ways.
The first is the Wardrobe Lift, which simply takes you
up from one level to the next. The other is the Magic
Lift, whereby if you type in the name of the level you
wish to go to, you will be magically transported there.
Pete knew there were such a variety of monsters in the
lair, he took the initiative to bring some axes and
the like with him. Any creature that gets in the way
can be disposed of with a carefully, or even recklessly,
aimed shot. Bear in mind you have a limited quantity
of ammunition though! There are two particular nasties
(Knights and Executioners) that kill Pete on contact
(others merely drain him of energy) and therefore they
must be disposed of on sight.
losing all of your lives you are given a message and
a chance to 'etch your initials into the legend's cave'
(the high score table), previous scores permitting,
of course. You are also told what percentage of the
'adventure' you have completed and how many pieces of
the Golden Lion you managed to recover.