41. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz (1993, SNES) by SETA

Current Any% Leaderboard (speedrun.com)

Somewhere over the rainbow… there’s a really good Wizard of Oz video game out there.  Unfortunately, SETA was showing they had no brain here… although if you ask me, they sure did have some courage and heart!  This game takes the source material (which, if I’m being honest, doesn’t exactly scream “top tier video game material” to me) and runs with it, adding a creative flair to each and every turn.  Some stuff from the books mixes with some material from the movie, and then SETA adds in a whole laundry list of random stuff, from cactus cats to literal lemondrop enemies.  Yeah, it’s a little cheesy, but it’s Oz, so I guess I can give it a pass.  The music kicks butt, but oh dear, there’s a huge elephant in the room; let’s talk gameplay.

This game plays like an out-of-control buffalo on a moped.  It’s awful.  The most fatal of sins is that the programmers misaligned the detection of the player’s sprite when they land on platforms; the actual focal point you should aim is behind the character’s feet, making a visual cue to land a guessing game.  Combine that with platforms that have no collision from the sides, and you can fall right through what should be a solid surface.  Perspective means nothing here; an enemy that is in the foreground or background can still hit you!

Now, all this being said, the controls themselves are responsive enough that a skilled player can get used to these “quirks” and actually tame this wild lion.  And once this happens, this is actually quite a pleasant speedrun.  Now, it’s no Mario game, but it’s not that bad.  There’s plenty of safeties, and the ending is comparatively free to some of the midgame, making the end more of a victory lap than a finale.  Still, this is no speedrun for the faint of heart, and you’ll be putting the work in.  I wish you luck…


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