Easter bunnies vis-a-vis Wiz 'n' Liz
A feat of magic to match even the resurrection of Christ
I wanted to write about some sort of Easter-themed game, but the fact is that the vast majority of the games where you play as Jesus Christ aren't very interesting. My mind, then, immediately turned to eggs and - of course! Dizzy! Dizzy the egg! My favourite thing in the whole, wide world!
(Wibbly special effect as we flash back to mid-March)
(Further wibbling as we return to the present day)
Ah well, if I can't talk eggs, I can talk about the other thing everyone associates with Easter - bunnies! Unfortunately, the only Easter Bunny-specific game I could find was the Nintendo DS tie-in to the admittedly excellent movie Hop, and - to your no doubt great disappointment - that ain't retro. So I'm going to talk about Wiz 'n' Liz instead.
Originating on Amiga, Wiz 'n' Liz is much better on Mega Drive. Sorry, Commodore bores, but it just is! I kid, I love the Amiga, but come on. C'maaaahn. I feel like there really are very few Amiga games whose console ports weren't superior experiences. By all means fill the comments with examples. But I digress.
Wiz 'n' Liz are a wizard and a witch, respectively. A witch is a female version of a wizard, I guess? You pick one of them, but it doesn't affect the gameplay at all. Choose a skill level and have at it. It's an extremely fast-paced arcade game that's kind of a platformer but doesn't have bottomless pits or anything of the sort. Instead, you haul arse around small, multi-tier stages that loop around like an old episode of Yogi Bear where Yogi's running away from Ranger Smith with the same picnic bench going by over and over again. Populating these small areas are the "wabbits", your primary goal in Wiz 'n' Liz and the tenuous connection to Easter I'm employing here. First of all, you've got to collect these wabbits in order to make them drop letters (you know, like... from the alphabet) and spell out... erm... spells that have names which sound like British swearing but aren't quite, such as "Gawpus", "Springe" or "Bummehoal". Once you've done this, you then have round up the rest of the wabbits, who now drop items like stars (currency), time bonuses (the clock is your greatest enemy) and, most importantly, fruit and vegetables.
Yes, in Wiz 'n' Liz, unlike real life, fruit and veg are extremely good for you. Every type you manage to acquire in each stage is waiting for you in the hub, to be mixed into a large caudron. There are 196 possible combos and every single one has a different effect, from the basic (Extra time! Bonus points!) to the extremely unusual (A mini-game where you throw tomatos at the programmers! Change all the wabbits into Lemmings!). It's this system, built on top of frantic, compelling gameplay, that makes Wiz 'n' Liz a classic. Sure, memorising the most potent combinations is the smart play, but aren't you just dying to know what that pumpkin does when you mix it with a banana?
Frantic fun, with impressively speedy graphics and a superb Matt Furniss soundtrack, Wiz 'n Liz is another classic in the Mega Drive's library and should not be ignored. Happy Easter, Nauties! May Christ be with us all. Unless you're not religious, in which case bollocks to it, let's have some chocolate.