Tips of a Gamer - MAGAX Destroyer II
There’s a strange smell in the air tonight, as you walk through the mist covered town of the Haunted Woods. A smell you can’t quite place, like lightning when it strikes a tree, that kind of smoky smell that stings the back of your throat... and are those marshmallows cooking?
Just past another cemetery shrouded in thick fog to your left, a bright green light fills your vision – you guess that’s where the smell’s coming from then. As you get closer, a JubJub ghoul floats past you, cackling and bouncing through the mist. A flash of green light surrounds the ghoul, and it is sucked into a small void, which disappears in the blink of an eye.
“You okay there?” a voice asks, and you turn to see a Wocky floating in mid-air. You don’t have to look twice to recognise him – it’s MAGAX, hero of the Haunted Woods.
MAGAX: Destroyer II is often thought of as a difficult game – if you don’t know how to play. It is fairly simple in the controls and layout of the game, and doesn’t make you want to tear your hair out like Dar-Blat does. The aim of the game is to defeat all of the ‘bad guys’ of each level – mainly ghost pets – while playing as the hero of the Haunted Woods, MAGAX. The blurb on the game page says this:
“After years of effort, MAGAX has finally managed to thwart Hubrid Nox’s horrid plans. He arrived at their usual battleground one night, just as he had so many nights before. The area was quiet, however, and MAGAX feared that Hubrid was developing new plans... man, how he hates being right all the time. Your mission is to once again guide MAGAX against the evil forces of Hubrid Nox.”
The game consists of ten levels, which are basically the same as each other except on three main points - the number of ghouls on each level increases, as well as the speed of the level and the number of defeated ghouls needed to complete each level.
MAGAX will lose around one fifth of his HP when he runs directly into a ghost, and be flung away in the opposite direction you came from. Sometimes this is bad as it flings you into the next ghost and the chain carries on. Being careful to avoid the ghosts will get you through the levels.
The controls of the game are simple and there are not many of them. MAGAX is able to move up and down, as well as side from side. Holding down the left or right arrows will make him accelerate in the direction you choose. Spacebar is your laser, which after a few consecutive shots needs some time to recharge – as indicated by the power bar at the top of the screen next to the health bar. There is no timer, but you only have one life, so if you run into too many ghosts and your HP gets too low, it will be game over.
There are three types of ghost pets for you to defeat during the game. The most prominent, and annoying, are the fire breathing Scorchios. Although they only need one hit from MAGAX’s laser to be sent spiralling into a void, they can deflect your shots with their fire. As the levels progress, sometimes you need to hit them more than once to dispel them. They are also the key to passing levels. Each level you are given an increasing number of Scorchios to defeat, and the level is complete when you defeat all the Scorchios in that level. No other ghost pet counts towards passing the level – only to earning extra points. There is more about the Scorchios later in the guide.
The second type of ghost pet you will encounter on MAGAX’s journey is the ghost Cybunny. These guys take four hits from MAGAX’s laser to be defeated, and each time you hit them, they become less visible, so be careful. Also, if you get too close to a Cybunny, they will magically transform into Hubrid Nox, a villain who resides in the Haunted Woods. You cannot harm Nox with your laser, and so you’ll have to wait until he returns to Cybunny form. Nox will also try to hit you with magic fireballs – luckily these do not affect your health, only disable your laser until the magic wears off. If you get hit by a fireball, MAGAX will be surrounded by a giant flame, so you’ll know if Nox hit you or not. If you run into Nox, though, it will take away some of your health.
The last ghost pet in the game is also the less frequent, especially in the lower levels. The ghost JubJub is a much smaller and faster target than the Cybunnies or Scorchios but can still hurt you if it wants! You only need to hit these little guys with the laser once.
Along with the ghost pets, there is a floating skull with a green glow around it. Unlike the pets, however, this is actually a bonus which gives you more health and fully charges your laser. There is no point collecting these if your health meter is full, though, as they are worth no extra points; they only save you from dying and therefore from getting game over. The skulls are also useful at making Nox’s magic fire disappear, but from level eight onwards there are no more skulls to collect.
Gameplay is easy if you do not move about too much. When each level starts, MAGAX will drop from the top of the screen to stop somewhere in the middle of the screen, and be flying to the right. You decide which way you’d like him to fly – the level is one big circle anyway. Practice both ways, though, and that way you’ll be able to get any JubJubs that sneak up on you.
Try to keep to one altitude; usually staying just in the line running through the gnarled tree tops will keep you in a good position to hit all of the ghosts, though sometimes they fly lower. If that happens, just tap the down arrow until you’re at a level where you can hit them, and afterwards return to the tree line. Don’t accelerate unless you’re backtracking from a ghost or are nearing the end of the level (I will explain this point further on). When enemies are near, an arrow will point to the altitude the upcoming ghost is at. This will be moving up and down a fair bit for Scorchios as they change altitude a lot, but not so much for Cybunnies, which usually keep to the top half of the screen. JubJubs will be bouncing crazily up and down the whole screen when you reach them, and have no arrow to indicate their arrival.
To hit an enemy when the arrows begin indicating one is near, keep flying at the same speed and altitude as stated above. When you can see the ghost, and it lines up with you, hit the spacebar to shoot. It will take some practice to be able to hit ghosts all the time. If you miss, and get to close to the ghost (as you will still be flying), or if a Scorchio blocked you with fire, backtrack a little, and then try again. When shooting at Cybunnies, it is hard to get all four shots in before you reach the pet, so shooting a couple of times in a row, then backtracking a bit and shooting again may be necessary.
This backtracking is also necessary if a Cybunny transforms into Nox, as he will not transform back until you are out of his sight.
Like I mentioned earlier on, defeating the Scorchios ends the level. To obtain extra points, though, you will need to defeat all the pets in the level. To know how many Scorchios are on the level (this is the number you need to defeat), a small part in the top left of the screen will tell you the level you are on, your current score and the number of scorchios on the level. Say the level said 0/8 – there are a total of eight Scorchios on the level. The best way to make sure you don’t end the level and still defeat all the pets is to fly around the level, hitting all the pets that come into sight until you have one Scorchio left on the level (7/8 in this example). When you know you have one left, and have him in your sights, accelerate backwards to cover your tracks (as JubJubs often float behind you) and defeat any pets left on the level apart from that last Scorchio. When you reach him again, then you know you have defeated all the pets on that level and gained maximum points.
Points are scored for each ghost as the following;
- Scorchios – 10 points each
- Cybunnies – 20 points each
- JubJubs – 1 point each
The game ends when you finish all the levels, or if you die. Hopefully not the latter!
There’s not much else to this game, and it can get a little monotonous. Take a break between levels if you want. Practice hitting the ghosts and avoiding them, and soon enough you’ll be a master of this game.
I hope this guide helped you out with the finer points of the game. Now you can be sure to get that avatar or even a trophy. Next time you decide to take a stroll around the Haunted Woods, you’ll be much more prepared to deal with any ghosts surprising you.