Alphabest: Mega Drive – W

Alphabest: Mega Drive – W

Where in the World is the Fun In Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Oh that’s right, there is none. Because it’s “edutainment”, only without the “tainment”.


That’s right folks, both Carmen Sandiego games (Where in the World and Where in Time) are crap. Pretty much all “games” in the “edutainment” category, at least back in the 90s, were crap too, because they never added the fun bit to make you want to play. Probably why the CDTV died a quick death.

Joining that pair in the pile are Wacky Worlds Creativity Studio (because it isn’t a game), Wayne’s World (crap film tie-in), and a number of sports titles (because sports): World Cup Italia ’90, World Cup USA ’94, World Championship Soccer 2, Winter Olympics, Winter Challenge, Wimbledon and Wayne Gretzky and the NHLPA All-Stars. And several World Series Baseball titles. There’s a number of WWF (as in, pre-WWE wrestling, rather than panda-fronted wildlife charity) games too, and a non-WWF/E game Wrestle War, none of which are particularly spectacular, although WWF Wrestlemania is quite a laugh.

World Heroes, a port from the Neo Geo – and like many Neo Geo ports suffers from jerky animation – is a Street Fighter II clone. It’s not a patch on other games like Fatal Fury or Art of Fighting, and upsets me greatly because the two player energy bars both deplete to the right, rather than in opposite directions on each side of the screen. Horrific.

Worms isn’t a great version of the game, Wolfchild is a competent but unexciting platformer, and Wardner is a clunky arcade port. Whac-a-Critter, which I actually own, is a pretty rare US-only unofficial cartridge and a terrible “whack a mole” game.

There’s not much left after that cull of Ws, but there’s a few more that can go: WarpSpeed is an impressive, for the time, 3D space simulation with echoes of Elite but fails to be half as good. Warrior of Rome and its sequel are decent strategy games, although the first is fiddly and looks atrocious and the sequel improves with an isometric rather than overhead view, although still feels like it really needs a mouse.

Speaking of mice, World of Illusion is a game I have written about many times. It’s in the bin already, but you can find out why here.

Which leaves us with this pair of beauties:

Wonder Boy in Monster WorldWonder Boy in Monster World continues Westone’s excellence from the Master System games Wonder Boy in Monster Land and The Dragon’s Trap, with gorgeous looking sprites and backdrops and more of the same fantastic almost RPG platforming gameplay. Wonder Boy III, is also a decent game but is really a scrolling shoot ’em up and really isn’t comparable.

Wiz 'n' LizWiz ‘n’ Liz, sometimes subtitled “The Frantic Wabbit Wescue” is at first play a simplistic two-player arcade game where you collect rabbits. Sorry, wabbits. However, the eponymous wizards also collect ingredients for spells which can be combined between levels for loads of great effects, like warps, invisibility, extra time, and even bonus games. And it’s all so much fun, and impossible to play without a massive grin on your face.

And the Alphabest?

You’d think it would be Wonder Boy in Monster World, right? Such a fantastic looking game with depth and gameplay to match. If you think that, then you’re wrong.

The winner can only be Wiz ‘n’ Liz, because fun. So much fun. Fast running around collecting stuff and jumping in the exit just in the nick of time, then concocting spells to do funny and/or bizarre things. The very definition of fun, and Wiz ‘n’ Liz isn’t just the best W, but one of the best Mega Drive games of any letter.

Next time: X Gon’ Give it to Ya.

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