exploring underground caverns, you chance upon a deep
black pool. A ripple in the mirror smooth surface draws
you closer to the edge. A powerful hand slides out and
quickly grabs you under! It is the hand of Thelric,
Master of Magic, plunging you into his strange mythical
world of Magic and Mystery.
is written in the Book of Magic that only Thelric has
the knowledge which blends time and space into a powerful
spell. He will not cast this spell to return you to
your own world until you have retrieved for him the
lost Amulet of Immortality. Without it he will age and
reads the intro to Mastertronics latest game. It's actually
rather difficult to categorise. The whole thing is normally
controlled via the joystick, with the need for rapid
player response like an arcade game. The actual plot
is typical adventure material, but the way in which
the character must act in order to survive and be successful
has overriding elements of strategy. In other words,
everybody in the office said, 'You do it!' Who am I
fact, this is the most remarkable game I've ever seen
for the price. Those who have heard about PSS's MIDAS
system will be familiar with the way the game works.
In the top left corner of the screen is a constantly
changing plan of the player's current location, showing
other creatures present as well as a small blob revealing
your exact position. The player is only shown what his
or her character is able to see. On the right hand side
of the screen is the information window, which basically
contains a text version of what is going on. In the
middle part of the screen is a kind of 'action window.'
On pressing the joystick button, a series of commands
appear in this window. Toggling the joystick allows
a particular word to be highlighted, and a further button
press accepts that command.
an example, a small bat might appear in the room. In
the information window, this information will also be
displayed. Pressing the button the command list appears,
and I toggle the joystick until CAST is highlighted
and press again. The command window updates showing
all the spells I could possibly cast. Selecting MAGIC
MISSILE, I press the button again and the text display
might answer, 'The bat is dead.'
interesting feature I haven't mentioned so far is that
when certain phenomena appear (I say phenomena because
they can be anything from stairs to orcs), a picture
appears in the window at the base of the screen. These
are colourful and well drawn. If one of them is a creature
killed by you, the word DEAD written in blood curdling
red is 'stamped' on it. A very nice touch.
using this method of interaction, the player is free
to roam a large (and necessarily mappable) dungeon,
inhabited with various forms of undead and other nasty
creatures in the quest. The only quibble I have about
the way this system works is that responsiveness of
the character is sometimes too fiddly for my liking.
It's possible to get most inconveniently stuck in a
doorway when trying to run away because you have to
be exactly in line with the outgoing passage. This proved
fatal more than once.
game is full of features you would not find in many
games twice the price. After killing a monster it is
possible to use any possessions it carried. Fighting
depends on what weapon the