The maddening puzzles of Wizard's Doom could drive an average person to insanity. After the first few levels, you may think, "This is going to be easy," but just as soon as that simple thought crosses your mind, you're dead.
Consider the game an experiment where the controlled variables are time and the number of keys you must collect. You're the mouse running through a maze where each new level you achieve increases in difficulty with the evil Chang Li Xung working against you.
The key to a little game like this is its simple yet complex puzzles. The graphics are obviously nothing special (your character is a head with arms on a 2D, blue-colored screen). The sound is also anemic with nothing more than various bleeps and tones. So, what makes the game so addictive and fun? The answer is the entirely cerebral effort required in solving the puzzles.
Another simple aspect that will attract PC gamers is the installation. Absolutely nothing is installed on your computer and all you have to do to run Wizard's Doom is pop in the floppy disk, go to the MS-DOS prompt and type A:\START. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Wizard's Doom contains nothing flashy. You won't find anything impressive about the visual and audible functions and it is reminiscent of earlier Arcade games like Pac-Man (but less high tech). This is, however, an incredibly challenging game.
You only have 99 seconds to complete each maze and on more than one occasion you'll have to play the same level repeatedly. It's important that you are given the option to save your progress regularly. If not, it would be fairly difficult to surpass the 50 levels in one sitting.
Chang Li Xung, the evil wizard who tries to foil your escape from his dungeon, makes some of the walls impenetrable in the later levels. This begins at level eight, so rather early on you're forced to discover other ways to solve the puzzles. Your score is also calculated by how many blocks and/or walls you destroy, although the primary goal is to escape.
Wizard's Doom is simplistic in a complicated way. It's deceiving in appearance and you find out very quickly that it's no walk in the park. Play at your own risk -- if you buy the game intending to beat it in a day, think again.
Graphics: There is nothing special in this category. While the graphics are reminiscent of the era in which the game is released, they do serve the purpose of the game adequately.
Sound: Bleeps, beeps and high-pitched squealing are the only notable sounds of any kind.
Enjoyment: Once you start, Wizard's Doom has an instant fascination that lasts initially at least ten minutes. Maybe you'll move on to other things at that point but the game has an addictive quality that will eventually make you want to return to it. The game is simple to operate but difficult to master.
Replay Value: It is unlikely that anyone can get through the 50 levels in under a week. Also, after you defeat the game, you can always try and beat your best previous point score.
Wizard's Doom is a decent third-person puzzle game in the same vein as Soko-Ban, except not as devious or fun. The plot is that you have been captured inside some evil wizard's castle, and your goal is to collect 5 keys on each level to open up the exit. In your way are arrow blocks and other obstacles you have to push in the right order. You have only 99 seconds to solve each level, and this time limit makes the game very hard at higher levels - not because the puzzle is tough, but because you barely have time to move all the boxes into place and make your way out. If you like Soko-Ban, there is little reason to play this inferior puzzler.
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