Review by THayes
Good second Hi-Res adventure from Sierra
Wizard and the Princess was the second Hi-Res adventure made by On-Line Systems (later known as Sierra Entertainment). A princess has been kidnapped from the land of Serenia by an evil wizard. The King has sent out a request to all people for help in rescuing his daughter and offers half his kingdom to the person that can bring her back to Serenia. You play an unnamed adventurer in the game who sets out to find the princess.
Despite being released a few months after Mystery House (Sierra's first Hi-Res adventure), Wizard and the Princess is a huge step up in terms of quality and overall design. Everything is bigger and better, and the graphics for the locations are now in full colour instead of the monochrome, basic drawings that were featured in Mystery House. The story also works very well as you know that in each location you are aiming for the castle where the princess is being held. Mystery House was good in many ways, but you often had the feeling of just wandering around a mansion with no clear goal being defined. There are also many more characters in Wizard and the Princess; certainly not up to the quantity of some of Sierra's later adventures, but the increase in the number of characters definitely does make the game world seem more alive and interesting.
There are six main sections of the game. These include the desert maze outside the town of Serenia, the woods, the ocean, a small island, the foothills and the castle. Some of the sections can feature quite a large number of areas, and some of them feature some quite complex mazes which have to be navigated. The desert for example has has a number of locations which look very alike, so be prepared to draw maps as you explore to prevent from getting lost. The castle also contains a difficult maze which becomes much easier if you map it. Whether you like the game really depends on whether you like exploration and mapping in your adventures, as this is something you will have to do a lot of in Wizard and the Princess.
The puzzles are usually easy to work out, as the two-word parser means that there is not much flexibility in what commands you can enter. There are about twenty-five inventory items in the game, though quite a few of them are red herrings and are not used anywhere. Having a list of unusable items can be annoying, though fortunately Wizard and the Princess doesn't make you drop items when your inventory becomes too full like in other adventures. Often it is very easy to miss an important object earlier in the game, meaning that you will have to either restart or restore a saved game if you get too far without it.
This game was one of the first pieces of interactive fiction to feature colour graphics, and I can only imagine the wonder which early players must have had as they explored a detailed, colourful world. These days the graphics look very basic in their design, but they do suit the style of the game very well.
Overall, though Mystery House was the first adventure to feature graphics, Wizard and the Princess improves on Mystery House in almost every way. There are colour graphics instead of monochrome, more locations, and everything about the game is bigger and better.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Wizard and the Princess (US, 12/31/82)
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