Hewlett is a hazard! The hapless sorcerer's apprentice of Magic Boy accidentally turned the Wizard into a blue elephant, and the animals in the kingdom into monsters. In JVC's fun action/adventure game, Hewlett must capture all the animals, rescue the sorcerer, and return the kingdom to normal.
Hewlett Packs 'Em In
You play Hewlett, the apprentice trying to recapture all the animals and free the Wizard from his pachyderm prison. Along the way, you tackle 64 levels of monster-tracking in eight worlds, with 32 bonus screens.
- In Sand Land, Room 4, find the Spell Book by shooting up at the block between the first double set of water pools.
- In Plastic Place, Round 2, Room 3, the Spell Book is in the wall to the right of the blue elephant in the lower right corner.
Hewlett uses his magic wand to stun each beast, stuff it in a sack, and then drop it into one of the jail cells on the bottom of the screen. When all of the creatures have been captured and imprisoned, you can pick a new level. If you take too much time to finish a level, the prisoners will figure out a way to bust out of their cells, and they'll reappear to threaten you again.
- Some blocks have a diagonal blue strip that turns alternately red and blue when you step on them. If all of the blocks are red when the round is completed, you receive a 1000-point bonus.
- A later enemy sometimes yields an item to capture an earlier enemy.
You'd better make sure your technique is in tiptop form. Some of the hazards, especially the Springs, will require split-second timing and dead-on control to successfully negotiate. Luckily, the controls respond well, but you'll still need all the concentration you can muster to get out of some of these levels.
The game is chock-full of bonus points, 1-ups, and extra lives. Each of the captured enemies gives up some kind of reward, but there are also bonuses hidden in stones and in the many Exclamation Mark blocks.
The graphics and sounds are solid. Graphics are crisp and cartoony, with smooth animation and interesting backgrounds. Dazzling colors fill each shot. Unfortunately, the type used in the displays is very difficult to read, making it a chore to put in passwords. Sound is good overall, and the sound effects of the creatures being dropped into cells are hilarious.
- Shoot blocks in the walls. Some break away to reveal a power-up.
- In some levels you'll find what looks like a large bowling ball. Shoot the ball once to get a bomb. Shoot it again, and the bomb stuns all on-screen enemies.
Don't let the cartoon graphics and cute music lull you into false confidence -- this game is hard! Fortunately, the game is worth the effort. Hewlett may have messed up the magic potion, but JVC got the mixture just right.
Download Magic Boy
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed
Ever since a rather unfortunate attempt to practise my cutting a woman in half routine using a potato peeler, a cardboard box and my sister, magic has had rather painful memories for me, though not as painful as for my sister.
However, the world of magic in Magic Boy owes more to The Sorcerer's Apprentice than to the latest Paul Daniels tv extravaganza. The hero, a lovable, cuddly little cutesy consoletype chappie by the name of Little Hewlett (or 'Hewy' to his friends), is an apprentice wizard. He's also a bit of swot, so he often stays behind at his special 'Magic School' after all his chums have gone home to do more work and brown-nose his way to a top grade.
One evening, while still at school, Hewlett decided to have a rummage through the Grand Wizard's spell cupboard. Upon his rummaging, all the magical creatures in the cupboard decide to leg it. It doesn't take a degree in advanced alchemy for Hewlett to realise that he's up the spout without a cauldron. So he has to collect all the escaped creatures before the Grand Wizard returns in the morning. Scenarios eh?
So, you, as Hewlett, have to manoeuvre your way through four different horizontallyscrolling eight-level worlds (Sand Land, Wet World, Plastic Place and Future Zone) and locate all the escaped creatures.
Once you've found them, a couple of blasts on the fire button will release a magic spell from your wand, which stuns them. You then pick them up (by walking into them) and send them down to the basement (by pushing Down). Having cleared all the creatures from one level, you move, in a frighteningly logical manner, onto the next. There are power-ups to aid you and traps and such-like to hinder you. If you walk into an unstunned creature or fall onto something you shouldn't have touched, like water and spikes, you lose one 'attempt' which is a goody two-shoes way of saying 'life'. Lose all your attempts and, surprise, surprise, it's game over time, unless you decide to use one of the many continues on offer.
You're probably saying to yourself, 'This sounds remarkably similar to that top game of many moons ago, Bubble Bobble,' and you'd be right. Although, cosmetically, the game looks and feels quite different, the basic principle is the same. Unfortunately, though, it's not nearly as good as Bubble Bobble.
The reasons why
Although instantly playable and initially quite appealing, the game soon palls thanks to its lack of variety. Each new level is virtually the same as the last, simply with a different layout and more monsters to capture. There are also some 'puzzles' on certain levels, but when trying to describe them, words like 'fiendish' and 'complex' don't exactly force their way to the front of your mind. Add this to the fact that the basic task of capturing the baddies isn't much fun in the first place and win city it ain't.
Gripe number two: once you've done a level, it's more than likely that you can do it every time, but once you've used up all your continues, you have to go back all the way to the start of the game, which means sitting through those super-boring earlier levels again. After about the 30th time, this gets more than a little tedious. The gap in your mind where the words 'fiendish' and 'complex' failed to appear is now filled by the phrase 'password system'. Unfortunately this phrase doesn't make it into the game. Shame really.
Moving swiftly along we get to the so-called 'level select' feature. At the start of each world you can choose to begin on any of the first four levels. If you've already completed this world before, you're going to choose level four, since you can't be bothered to sit through the other three again. But oh no, you still have to do the other levels, since you can't progress until all four are done. So all you're getting is the ability to play the levels in the order you choose. This is unbelievably frustrating.
Power to all my friends
Even the power-ups in the game are dodgy. For instance, you can pick up certain icons which enable you to shoot, say, downwards. (You normally shoot straight ahead.) These are fine for a couple of pico-seconds, especially if there's an enemy below you, but after this it's more of a hindrance than a help, as you can't shoot anything directly in front of you without performing the sort of complex moves that the Russian gymnastic squad would be proud of. Therefore, the only way to get rid of the weapon is to keep firing inanely, anywhere, until it runs out. It's the phrase 'weapon toggle' which is now vying with 'password system' for that space in your mind.
As you'd expect with a game whose heart lies in the world of the console, the graphics are attractive, lively and colourful. However, as so often in pc platform games the scrolling is, at times, distinctly dodgy. The sound isn't too great either. Although by definition it's almost impossible to write a pleasant, non-irritating tune for a cutesy game, you'll soon have your volume control turned right down -the main music sounds like a cross between something you'd hear on Melody Radio and the theme to Blue Peter played on a really cacky keyboard. The sound effects consist of an assortment of'comedy' sounds and your average whizzes and bangs.
Having said all this, Magic Boy is actually good fun to play for a while - it just doesn't keep you gasping for more. It also comes bundled (or rather squeezed onto a disk) with Cool Crocs - an older game which is also, rather embarrassingly, considerably better. It's obviously aimed at a younger gamesplayer, but they're already served by a whole host of much better console games. On the pc even though there is less competition, there still aren't that many outstanding games. Platform games can work on the pc and there's no reason why Magic Boy shouldn't - its weaknesses are more to do with game design than programming. However, in the end, it's more irritating than addictive. There are 60 levels so there's no lack of durability, but if you can stand to do the same levels over and over again you've either got great willpower or a very small games selection. Zool it is not.
- Manufacturer: JVC
- # of players: 1
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Available: November 1993
- Number of Levels: 64+
- Theme: Puzzle
While practicing a spell, young Hewlett, a wizard's apprentice, makes a mistake. Not only does he turn his master into a blue elephant, but he also transforms all of the animals into monsters! You must capture all of the roaming monsters and get to the pachyderm that used to be your Boss, so everything can go back to normal again. Throughout the game there are eight worlds to travel to, each having eight levels to conquer. This makes your quest a difficult one to surpass, especially when monsters are out to get you. Grab your trusty magic wand and get to work!
Here is another game that has great ideas (like being able to grab stunned enemies and carry them around with you), but they get almost completely lost in the poor control. The colors are beautiful and very well done.