Ah yes, the most re-released game in Spectrum history. When I used to do the occasional round-up of Speccy compilations (in the days before every game appeared on a compilation about ten minutes after its initial release). I'd usually give 100 to 30 that one of them would include Wizard's Lair, the only Bubble Bus game that ever made much of an impression. In fact it's a dead spit of Atic Atac, the olde worlde arcade adventure that Ultimate put out in about the Jurassic age. Great stuff in 1984, but dull beyond belief in these more demanding times. Essentially you just wander about collecting things, making maps, and wondering why you didn't buy a rip-off of Knight Lore instead. Snore city.
Roger: Having finally overcome Pothole Pete's frustrating reluctance to LOAD, let alone summon up the necessary bottle for tackling many rooms of the wicked Wiz's extensive and well-appointed Lair, I was somewhat less than enthralled by this Bubblebus offering. Apart from being as bored with a predictable ragbag of Sword'n'Sorcery imagery, I found the graphics rather lurid, the rooms unmemorable and the action mentally untaxing.
Pete's quest involves hunting pieces of the 'Golden Lion' - which I always thought was a public house but apparently in this game it ain't. Shame. Along the way he must collect the necessary mystic Weetabix to sustain his battle against nasties and keep the jolly old doors opening when required. Energy, ammunition and objects in stock are recorded on-screen, as are remaining lives. Probably the most entertaining facet of Wizard's Lair is guessing how many other mediocre games it reminds you of. Pass me the dungeon key, mum, cos I want to go home... 1/5 MISS
Dave: If this had come out at the same time as Atic Atac, Ultimate would've looked very silly. Now the idea's rather old hat and even the superior graphics don't make up for that 2.5/5 HIT
Ross: Take a dash of Atic Atac ideas, mix in more than a smattering of Sabre Wulf graphics and what've you got? - not a lot. 2/5 HIT
An Atic-Atac clone that drew parallel with its idol. Polished, fast and colourful - brilliant. First released: November '85.
Wizard's Lair by Stephen Crow is a turn-up for the books as far as Bubble Bus is concerned. It should appeal to fans of Atic Atac, which is a roundabout way of saying that what it lacks in originality or inspiration, it makes up for in excellence of implementation.
The situation is certainly pretty hopeless inside, beset as you are by the usual nauseating bunch of dragons and strange blobs and if you're really unlucky a huge purple or occasionally green cutout serpent.
Objects to be collected include treasure chests, but what you are really trying to accumulate is pieces of the golden lion. There are five of these just lion around all over the place. There are also keys, diamonds and rings.
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