Wow, this is my kind of game! Rumoured to be on its way for some time as the sequel to Citadel, this new arcade adventure by Martyn Howard is an excellent follow-up in the same style rather than a direct sequel.
Based in a 100-screen castle and surrounding countryside, the game consists of much the usual sort of activity - explore the many rooms, collect keys to open up new areas of the castle, collect and use objects found en route to solve puzzles whilst, all the time, watching the energy level drain as you move, touch some of the cute or vicious roaming creatures or run into energy-draining areas. Some can be replenished by finding scattered top hats.
The ultimate aim is to discover a transporter and teleport away from the magical castle. On your quest you may be able to call upon the help of some of the creatures you discover, although most of them are distinctly unpleasant.
I'm sure some people will complain that this is just too close to Citadel but I love it. Rather than a direct copy or sequel, it starts from the same game outline and then develops its own charm. The graphics are not as detailed as those in Citadel (they remind me of Magic Mushrooms for some reason) and on initial playing I suspect that there is not quite so much to explore or solve but, after all, the first game was so outstanding that it is a little unfair to compare them.
Treated on its own terms, Palace Of Magic works and that is the important thing. I expect a lot of mail about this game and some great maps - if any game calls for mapping skills then it is this sort. All rooms are coded from the original starting room and it will be interesting to compare the final layout with Citadel, especially as a number of the rooms have the same names!
But we're back to that comparison again, just when I'd talked myself into forgetting the earlier game! As is now usual with Superior there is a competition (find the congratulatory message on completion) but, again as usual, it doesn't need such a blatant inducement to buy it. This is excellent and I can't wait to finish this month's column so I can get back to playing it!