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Stephen J. Crow
Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Phil King
Chris Bourne

Written by Steve Crow of Starquake fame, this was one of his earliest efforts and came in for quite a bit of stick from some quarters due to its resemblance to the classic Atic Atac. Undoubtedly, its appearance is uncannily similar to Ultimate's arcade adventure as Pothole Pete scurries around rooms and caverns, searching for the four pieces of The Golden Lion.

Initially striking is the amount of colour used - it's absolutely psychedelic (wow, man!). Within this attractive environment, the rather mis-shapen, Morph-like hero attracts the distinctly hostile attention of a number of different nasties aiming to sap his energy. Axe-wielding executioners and sword-swinging knights are especially dangerous, contact with them means the instantaneous loss of a life. To despatch these terrible demons back to their graves, Pete is equipped with a limited number of axes which, when thrown, bounce around the room killing off enemies Atic Atac-style.

However Wizard's Lair does contain quite a few extra features, such as the spell scrolls which can be bought with collected gold. These allow the player to choose between a number of various items, including gems, gold, weapons and extra energy.

Although the action is very fast, and the playability good (partly due to its similarity to Atic Atac), Wizard's Lair is beginning to show its age. After over three years of arcade adventures such an old game doesn't hold the attention as well as it did originally. But it's still playable enough in the short term.