Despite being released around the same time as the film of the same name, the game is not related to it in any way.
The game begins with most of the story of Hocus Pocus being told to the player.
Terexin, a powerful mage, explains that all magic power of the Land of Lattice is entrenched into powerful crystals that resonate if brought together in sets. As leader of the Council of Wizards, Terexin tells Hocus Pocus, the young wizard the player controls, has the quest to obtain such crystals in order to attain more magic powers to become a worthy member of the Council. He promises Hocus that if he manages to become a member, he gets to marry his sweetheart Popopa, who is also Terexin's daughter. Throughout his journey, Hocus encounters strange and sometimes dangerous creatures, like mummies, bats and Eskimos. Terexin, in the form of a hologram, gives the player advice through the game, although the conversations vary from solving a switch puzzle to how long it took him to grow his beard. After defeating Trolodon, the magic areas were now mostly cleared, so they became fairly safe for travel. As for completing his apprenticeship, Hocus Pocus becomes part of the Council of Wizards. At the end of the game, he marries his beloved Popopa, making them Mr. and Mrs. Pocus.
Speculation on the game has arisen that Trolodon was Terexin himself, as the player never gets to see the mage beyond the hologram, and both mages bore the same robes and beard. After Trolodon's defeat, Terexin was spiteful rather than grateful towards Hocus, as he couldn't believe that such a great mage like Trolodon could be defeated by a puny wizard like him who was also a dropout.
This Video Game contains examples of:
- Arc Villain: The Mad Monks in Episode 1, the trees in Episode 2, the dragons in Episode 3.
- Big Bad: Trolodon.
- Boss-Only Level: The final levels of episodes 2 and 4 have no regular enemies in them, just the respective bosses.
- Bottomless Magazines: Fortunately, Hocus' basic damaging magic has infinite ammunition.
- Control Room Puzzle: Many doors are stopped by a myriad of switches which have to be turned on / off in the exact right combination.
- Fungus Humongous: The very first two levels have giant mushrooms in the background. They also feature walking mushrooms as one of the resident enemy types.
- More Dakka: Rapid Fire potions are all about this.
- Numerical Hard: Just about the only difference between difficulties is that getting damaged takes away more health on harder difficulties, and the end-of-level point bonuses for 100% Completion and beating the time limit are bigger. Oh, and some levels have more "extra firepower" items on Medium or Hard.
- 100% Completion: Getting all the treasures on a particular level earns you a point bonus.
- One-Hit Kill:
- The "laser shot" powerup, which gives you three shots that instantly kill any enemy they hit and keep going, including bosses. Obviously the game doesn't give these to you on boss levels, but occasionally get a random powerup out of nowhere; if your timing is sufficiently lucky you could take out the final boss in one shot- unlike the normal way of killing him, you won't have to face him on subsequent floors of the final level.
- The "Smart Bomb" enemy, which only appears a few times in the game, but when it does, shooting it kills all enemies onscreen.
- Touching the bosses will do this to you.
- Sealed with a Kiss: Hocus and his love kiss in a scene after the fourth episode's ending text.
- Silly Reason for War: The entire reason Trolodon became an enemy of the Wizard's Council was a disagreement over what china to use at dinner.
- Smart Bomb: Enemies which kill all enemies on screen if you shoot them.
- Suspicious Video Game Generosity: It's funny how often Rapid Fire potions seem to show up right before a large quantity of mooks or a boss.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Unusually for a game of this time, Terexin actually undergoes a bit of Character Development in the course of the first episode. He starts out quite dismissive of Hocus, and is convinced that he's doomed to fail, but by the time you reach the end of the first episode, he hands you a Rapid Fire potion and encourages you to finish off the last few Mad Monks. Apart from briefly remarking that he never thought Hocus would succeed at the end of the game, he's significantly more respectful of Hocus from this point on.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: In some levels it's possible to leave an elevator you need out of jumping range, or to fall down an elevator shaft when there isn't an elevator at the bottom. Other levels have a warp potion required to advance in the level, and you can either "waste" it by going back, or get stuck by using it too early. There's also an area in the second level of Episode 3 where, if you park an elevator to a treasure area in a certain position, you can walk up into the chamber but not be able to walk out of it. In all cases, you have to use the "restart level" option from the menu.
- Video Game Settings:
- Big Boo's Haunt: Episode 3 levels 3-4, which has ghosts and other spooky things.
- Build Like an Egyptian: Episode 2 levels 5-6, with hieroglyphic tiles, mummies and fire-breathing crocodiles as enemies, and pyramids in the background. Episode 4 levels 3-4 uses the same tileset and enemies, but replaces the background with more of an ancient middle-east thing.
- Drought Level of Doom: Episode 4 level 1 has no healing potions. More broadly, most of Episode 4 is much stingier with healing potions compared to the rest of the game.
- Ice Palace: Episode 1 levels 5-6, complete with ice spikes, penguins, and Inuit-looking enemies hurling spears at you (a fanmade 3D remake gives them the names Frigid Fields and Palace of Ice).
- Prehistoria: Episode 3 levels 7-9, where the enemies are dinosaurs, and the bosses are dragons.
- The Lost Woods: Episode 2 levels 7-9. Wood- and plant-based architecture, and plant-based enemies including the the Tree Demon bosses.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Episode 4 levels 7-9, where the architecture and enemies becomes much more foreboding.
- When Trees Attack: The bosses at the end of Episode 2. They are mobile and you can easily get cornered if you're not careful. And touching them means instant death.