By Infocom
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #12


It's not often that we Wizards have the pleasure of reviewing a new Infocom game, but the Gods are obviously smiling on us this month, because a copy of Spellbreaker has just arrived in the post.

Spellbreaker is the third game in the Enchanter series - the previous two releases were Enchanter and Sorcerer. Ol' Whitey has never actually played Enchanter, but Sorcerer (written by Steve Meretsky) is an old favourite of mine. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it's my all-time favourite game of the 'magic-and-mystery' variety.

Spellbreaker, however, is not written by Meretsky, but on first acquaintance it appears to be equally as mesmerising. The descriptions are long and excellently written, and in the very first few seconds of the game at least four characters deliver speeches of almost a screen-full in length! They then get turned into newts, but that's another story.


The basic idea behind Spellbreaker is thematically similar to the first two games. Somewhere in the background lurks a hideously powerful Evil Power, who in this case is very bad news for the Frobozz Corporation. Frobozzco are purveyors of magical equipment, but the Enchanters (who are their biggest customers) are having a spot of bother with their spells. In fact, the whole spell-structure of modern society appears to be collapsing, as the power of the Enchanters' magic steadily weakens. Can you stop the rot? Of course you can...

Well I certainly couldn't - at least not at my first sitting, anyway. Spellbreaker is labelled 'Expert' level by Infocom, which means that they consider it particularly difficult to crack. It's certainly in a different league to Wishbringer (Introductory level) and quite a bit trickier than Sorcerer. You find yourself having to cast spells left, right and centre, right at the beginning of the game in order to make any progress at all - and the going doesn't get any easier, believe me!

Nevertheless, Dave Lebling (co-author of Zork and Enchanter) has done an excellent job. Dave was responsible for Suspect, a real tour de force of character interaction, and the influence of this game can be seen at times in Spellbreaker, where the characters play a rather more significant role than in Sorcerer, for example.

Yet another Infocom masterpiece - need I say more?