Hocus Pocus, our hero, is a young magician who aspires to earn a seat on the Council of Wizards, and marry young Popopa. The head of that august organization, Terexin, insists that before either event occurs, Hocus must first prove his worthiness by passing four arduous tests: Time Tripping, Warped and Weary, Shattered Worlds, and Destination Home. Each has three difficulty levels, determined by the number of monsters and their resistance to death.
A well-crafted, 2D side scroller, Hocus Pocus contains a wide variety of colorful and detailed environments. Also, a wide assortment of enemies pop out of nowhere and attack Hocus in unique and surprising ways, such as flowers that shoot flower heads across the room and hedgehogs that roll into him. The environments are large enough to get lost in regularly. Hocus navigates through mazes of passages and hallways in various castles, and often has to find a key to open a locked door by exploring underneath the castle.
To advance levels, Mr. Pocus must obtain a prescribed number of magical spheres, but, for the adventurous, there are plenty of hidden treasures in the castle worth different points. Magical potions and spells help Hocus along the way, including health (death is possible), extra firepower, warp capability (saves time), and the ability to jump higher when required to obtain treasures normally out of reach. Because spells can wear out, they should be used when possible -- one strategy is to remember where they are so they can be retrieved only when needed.
Unlike Prince of Persia, the graphics are detailed enough to see Hocus' facial features, although he always appears to be smiling even when he's attacked. Wizards lurk in certain areas of the castle labyrinths and offer helpful information, and the manual offers four cheats to keep Hocus in the game. For competitive gamers, the software includes best times to beat, and bonus points are awarded for finding all treasures and beating target times.
One aspect missing from the game is background on the fantasy world in which Hocus lives. No explanation is given about the monsters or wizards encountered, nor is there enough information provided on the world or Popopa -- all would add to the fun. As it is, though, Hocus Pocus is a decent 2D shooter, designed with notable creativity.
Graphics: Graphics are colorful and detailed; variety of environments reflects good design imagination. An added bonus is the visible features on Hocus' face.
Sound: Sounds are typical for this type of shooter.
Enjoyment: Fans of 2D side scrollers will like the action. The colorful and varied graphics, intricate mazes, and wizards giving advice combine to make a good gaming experience, though a more developed background story would have been a nice addition.
Replay Value: Enough detailed levels exist to support replay.
Hocus Pocus is a young magician apprentice who has two goals in life: to join the Council of Wizards in the land of Lattice, and to marry his sweetheart Popopa. Unfortunately, both objectives cannot be accomplished without embarking on a long and dangerous journey to gather magical crystals on behalf of the wizard chief Terexin. The quest for career and love begins!
Hocus Pocus is an action platform game. Controlling the young magician, players run, jump, and climb through levels populated by various types of monsters. Hocus will encounter many magic potions on his way; some will restore health, others will grant special powers; such as as a super-jump that will allow access new areas, or laser shot which offers a better attack.
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