Wizard Of Wor
The Game: This should sound pretty famililar to anyone who’s ever played Doom. You (and, if you can find a trigger-happy friend, one other player) suit up as “Worriors” and wander around a twisty maze inhabited by nasty creatures (which can turn invisible and sneak up on you).
You must kill them all.
Glad we got these complicated instructions taken care of. (Midway, 1980)
Memories: This maze game, which hit arcades in 1980, was a true milestone. For one thing, it kept Midway on the map as an arcade game manufacturer (its only previous major successes having been Space Invaders, licensed from Taito, and Galaxian, licensed from Namco) with something other than imported Japanese titles in its repertoire.
Wizard Of Wor also introduced a two-player cooperative mode in something other than a sports game, and let me be the first to tell you, Wor is best waged with that other player. It’s a blast!
If you really wanted to stretch it, then this game and Berzerk are the great-grandfathers of Doom, Duke Nukem, and every other wander-and-shoot game on the market today.
Wizard Of Wor was ported to the Atari 2600 as part of CBS Electronics’ overall licensing deal with Bally/Midway (which included other games such as Blueprint, Gorf and Omega Race). The Atari version was an above-average game, but really, if you think about it, it’s not as if the graphics in the coin-op were all that elaborate; the biggest drawback to the Atari edition was the 2600’s trademark flicker. Though it wasn’t technically licensed, Midway parent company Bally brought Wor to the homefront on the Bally Professional Arcade console as The Incredible Wizard, a game which looked and sounded nearly identical to the coin-op except for the voice synthesizer.
More recently, Wizard Of Wor was one of several games, including the aforementioned Gorf, slated for Arcade’s Greatest Hits: The Midway Collection, Volume 3 for the Playstation, but Midway canned plans for this compilation shortly before spring 2000, without stating a reason. Wor wasn’t declared again on a home console until Midway Arcade Treasures 2 on the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube.