Hocus Pocus is a side scrolling game developed by Moonlite Software and published by Apogee. The game was released for DOS on June 1, 1994. The story follows Hocus Pocus; a lazy student, as he wants to join the Council of Wizards, but Terexin doesn’t have faith in him, but is willing to give Hocus a chance to prove himself worthy of the Council.
Graphics-The graphics and level design are well done and the backgrounds for each level also look beautiful. The enemies are also well done and Hocus looks good. The animation is very smooth and fluid.
Sound-The soundtrack is also well done and doesn’t have a tendency to repeat itself all that often (you’ll be hearing the same soundtrack in later episodes). Each soundtrack complements their respected level and makes the level livelier. The only complaint is that Hocus’ voice sounds like Alvin of the Chipmunks.
Gameplay-There’s a bit of variety to the gameplay. You’ll be solving puzzles and deciding which path (they appear more frequently in later episodes) to take in order to collect all the treasure and racking up a high score. There are potions and power ups to help you out during the game, and each one isn’t over used. Along the way, you’ll collect crystals which are vital to completing each level. Speaking of the crystals and completing each level, there’s usually no right or wrong order of collecting the crystals. The difficulties also present a worthy challenge, as the harder the difficulty you select, the more difficult the enemies become and the more damage you take, but you get a bigger bonus at the end of each level (provided you beat the par time and collect all the treasures).
Replay Value-This is the game’s biggest weakness. Once you’ve beaten an episode and found everything, what’s the point of replaying? You can play on a harder difficulty to get a higher score, but that’s about it. Perhaps if the developers were to add a few more modes (a time trial like mode is a good example), then there would’ve been more replay value.
Overall-Hocus Pocus is another well-crafted game that hurts in the replay department. If you’re looking for a game that you can beat in an afternoon, Hocus Pocus is that game.
You can check out more of Ken’s work by visiting his website.