Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Game of the Day - Wacko

I'm a sucker for gameplay like Robotron 2084.

I'm a sucker for games that use a trackball.

Therefore, I'm a sucker for Wacko.

(By the way Wacko is the parent/spirit brother of the game Kozmik Krooz'r which was just featured here in a Strategy Guide by Dave V.)

Wacko is a shooter in the Robotron style, but instead of using one of the joysticks to control your movement, you use the trackball.  So, you move all over using the trackball and shoot the direction you want by using the joystick.  There are no buttons used to control the gameplay.  The js fires only four ways (up, down, left, right), so you don't get the benefit of firing at your enemies on the diagonals.  Using the trackball to quickly zoom all over the screen and the js to fire the direction you want is a great control combo that needed to be used more in the years that came after this game.

You are a little alien dude in a flying saucer shooting monsters as they attack.  The graphics are simple and cartoonish and they work well for the game but won't be winning any awards (even back in their time).

Wacko adds a little brain action to the trigger action.  You can't just shoot any monsters, you have to shoot them in pairs.  Once you shoot a certain type of monster he freezes/shakes for a few seconds - then you have to shoot the matching monster to make them both disappear.  If you don't shoot anything within a certain time, the monster starts moving again.  If you shoot a different type of monster, it freezes, but the first one is released and takes off again.  So, you can't just shoot everything you see, you have to choose very specifically what to blast.

In subsequent levels it gets more complicated.  When you shoot the pairs of monsters, they don't disappear - they just shrink.  Then, you CAN'T kill them until you've shrunk all the pairs!  Once all the monsters are shrunk - then you can pick any of them off - it doesn't have to be pairs when they are shrunken.  Also, on subsequent levels, if you hit monsters consecutively that aren't pairs, they mutate, creating combo monsters.  Then it gets really hard to shoot pairs - you either have to mutate another pair to match, or de-mutate the original pair.  As you can imagine, it gets crazy, because while you are figuring out what to shoot - the bastards are chasing you all over the screen.  Nicely done all around.

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