Sunday 13 March 2016

Wild Woody (Mega CD / Sega CD review)

Developer: Sega of America
Publisher: Sega of America
Released: 1995

Wild Woody is a platform game that was released exclusively in North America.

You play as a pencil and the objective is to collect six totem poles to restore the world. Your main attack is jumping on enemies but Sketch Pads can be collected to draw objects such as a Kite to reach higher platforms and a Kangaroo that punches! Immediately, problems crop up with the controls; for example, when you jump and try to adjust in mid-air the screen jerks which affects precision. Woody also pauses for a split second after a jump and this lack of momentum is off-putting and leads to a few mistimed jumps between platforms. The collision detection is awful so cheap hits are plentiful as you seemingly jump through enemies instead of hitting them. Weirdly, it's difficult to grab onto ropes which causes no end of frustration, especially when you're trying to avoid an enemy. The level design is illogical with confusing layouts and acts that last far too long. The power-up mechanic is poorly thought-out as neither the manual or the game tell you what each Sketch Pad actually does! The bosses offer little variety and involve repeatedly climbing a structure and jumping on an object to weaken them. The rock soundtrack doesn't really fit with the wacky, cartoon theme and apart from a few FMV cut-scenes there's nothing that takes advantage of the Sega CD's power. By collecting eight puzzle pieces in each act you can reach Bonus Levels; these take place in a 3D, third-person perspective and the objective is to grab items and reach the exit within a time limit. The controls are sensitive but it's a relatively fun diversion and reminiscent of Snail Maze (1986, Master System).
Wild Woody is one of the worst platform games I've ever played as the level design, gameplay and controls are all absolutely atrocious. It's a total chore to play through and unless you're a glutton for punishment don't bother picking this one up as it will frustrate you no end with its poorly developed ideas.
Random trivia: The ending hints at a possible sequel but it never materialised, likely due to poor sales of this game.

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