Wendy: Every Witch Way
|a game by||TDK Mediactive|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 1 review|
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We all know of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Some of us may even remember some other HarveyToon characters such as Baby Huey, Little Dot, and who could forget Wendy the Witch? Well, apparently TDK Mediactive hasn't! They've made a great little side-scrolling platform adventure starring the little witch and you get to see her in all her red outfit glory on your Game Boy Color or Game Boy Advance.
In Wendy: Every Witch Way, Wendy finds a box in her grandmother's attic and with Pandora-like curiosity decides to open it. All of a sudden a bunch of glowing stones start flying up and out of the room to a magical castle floating in the sky. The stones completely mess up gravity and the castle falls to the ground. Now it's up to Wendy to take broom in hand and set things back to normal.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
At first glance you might think 'Oh great, another Game Boy platform game and who's this main character anyway?'? and continue looking for something more interesting, but if you want a decent side-scrolling platform game with a twist (literally), look no further.
The object of the game is really simple: run around the different levels and take out enemies with your magic wand and get the glowing stone at the end of the level. Repeat until the game is over either by getting all the stones and defeating the final boss or by losing all your lives. So, what's so special about it? Well, they threw in a great feature that really adds a nice challenge and makes you think before you leap: Wendy has the ability to reverse gravity. When she reverses gravity, she as well as some enemies and other otherwise stationary items fall up instead of down. This adds a very interesting effect to the gameplay and I found that I definitely needed to master it to get very far in the game.
There are four different areas, each with three levels and a bonus level, in the castle. If you're playing on a Game Boy Advance, you can also play three extra levels that are separate from the main game. Honestly, though, I'm not sure why they locked these levels out if you use a Game Boy Color since there's nothing exceedingly special about the extra levels as opposed to the regular levels. Still, if you have a GBA, you get a little something extra. Maybe it's an incentive for those of you who have been holding off or something. The levels range from easy to challenging and do so at a moderate pace. By the final three levels you'll definitely need to think before you move into certain parts and react quickly. I found the most challenging levels to be the GBA levels. Each regular level ends when you get the glowing rock sitting on the pedestal. After each level you are presented with a simple four-character graphical password (the symbols look similar to those used on a PlayStation controller's buttons) and if you beat the Game Boy Advance levels, you'll get a special code (and yes, this code does work on a Game Boy Color too). None of the levels take very long to complete and they are all timed -- the whole game can be completed in maybe an hour or so. There are some somewhat hidden areas that you can search through and hopefully find stars to pick up. After each third level is complete, you then get to play a bonus level where Wendy flies on her broomstick and you can blast baddies and collect stars for power and points.
Stars are the only items in the game that Wendy can pick up. The stars have two purposes: first, they act as sort of a life meter -- every time you get hit, you lose a star. If you run out of stars, you lose a life. Second, they increase the power of your wand. Interestingly enough, all the enemies in the game, except the final boss, take only one hit to destroy so aside from getting three-way fire when you collect a fourth or fifth star, the upgrade seems relatively useless. You can hold up to five stars at any one time and each additional one you collect will give you bonus points.
The control in the game is easy to handle and feels pretty tight. Wendy can jump, fire her wand (only one bolt at a time, though), and reverse gravity. Mastering reversing gravity is very important to finishing the game. Later in the game you will need to perform more challenging maneuvers such as jumping, then reversing gravity in mid-jump to land on something safe. The control in the bonus levels is slightly different in that you move Wendy around on her broomstick rather than running and jumping. You can still fire and reverse gravity too.
I really liked the graphics a lot in this game. They're crisp, clear, and fairly detailed for their size. The background graphics don't get in the way of the gameplay at all. Some levels even have backgrounds that appear to have more of a three-dimensional look to them. It's a nice effect and great eye candy, but again, doesn't detract or distract the gameplay. The animation is top-notch for a GBC game of this caliber.
Just another high point as far as this reviewer is concerned. The music is varied and has a nice sound to it. The music changes after each area is complete and there is also music between levels. I particularly like the music in the first area. The sound effects sound nice and they are appropriate for the actions in the game such as jumping, firing, and reversing gravity.
If you haven't played this game before, it might not be a bad idea to have a quick look at the manual. Sure it tells you the general mumbo jumbo about how to play, but it also tells you a little about your enemies and what to expect from them. This especially comes in handy later when gravity suddenly reverses on you and you otherwise wouldn't know why. Also, learning how to reverse gravity may take you a couple minutes to figure out if you don't read the manual.
Originality / Cool Features
I found this game to have a good sense of originality for a platform game. The ability to reverse gravity at any time makes what would otherwise be a very easy game reasonably challenging since you need to figure out when and where is a good place to do it. I also found the GBA extra levels to be an interesting feature, although I think they probably could've been added to the regular game.
I can honestly say that if I saw this game on the shelf at the store without knowing a thing about it, I'd probably take a quick look but only because there aren't many games about obscure HarveyToon characters out there and I happen to be familiar with Wendy. After that I'd likely move on. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of reviewing this little gem and I'm glad I got the opportunity. I love originality and I also like platform games and the two mix extremely well in this case. Even though the game took a relatively short time to complete, it's still a lot of fun and an interesting challenge. If you enjoy platform games or just want to play something a little different than your average side-scroller, get a copy of Wendy: Every Witch Way and have at it.