The Price Of Magik

Publisher: Level 9 Computing
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Computer & Video Games #57

The Price Of Magik

Myglar, once a noble magician, is maintaining his life by sucking magical power from the Crystal, of which he is the Guardian. Soon, there will be no magick left in the world. Your objective is to defeat Myglar and take his place before it is too late.

You'll start the game knowing nothing about Magick, not even how to cast a lowly spell. As you progress, you'll soon recognise a spell when you see one, and learn how to use it, so that by the time you've finished, you are an expert, and know everything.

Your journey through the adventure takes you into all the secret nooks and crannies of a very large house, and its surroundings. But first you'll probably get cold comfort from something nasty in the woodshed, which slithers about unseen, protected by a pile of rotting wood.

The Price Of Magik

If you have a sensitive nature, then be warned - magick can have quite a horrific side, and you will come across some very macabre objects, like a knuckle with a ring on it. Will you be too squeamish to remove the ring and wear if yourself? How will you feel about carrying a blood-sucking bat around?

Talking of carrying things around, I couldn't seem to hit an inventory limit, and the list of objects I was carrying was sometimes enormous.

Almost as enormous was the map I was drawing, which seemed to be forming in every decreasing circles until there was no room in the middle for any further exploration, without a complete re-draw!

The Price Of Magik

Soon I found I was able to recognise a spell when I saw one, but casting often revealed unforeseen snags! Never mind, taking a risky move and ending up in trouble, is a forgivable offence in Price Of Magick.

Programmed by Nick Austin, a new command, OOPS, has been built in. If OOPS is your natural reaction to a disastrous result of an action, simply type it, and you'll find yourself back in your previous location, intact!

In fact, you can perform an OOPS more than once on some machines, but the number of backwards moves depends on the machine's memory.

The Price Of Magik

Another new feature for Level 9 is RAMSAVE, also written by Nick. This increasingly popular feature is certainly very useful for those, like me, who cannot keep their blank cassettes well organised!

Price Of Magick uses a new adventure system, and is up to Infocom standard. Complex commands, including instructions to other characters, can be entered. Having said that, I did find one slight difficulty with words, when I had to use the exact expression in the reply to EXAMINE (object) to perform a particular action, despite my own words being very similar, and just as obvious.

Level 9 have been appalled at the extent of piracy of their games, and the rost offenders, John Austin told me, are BBC owners, juding by the fact that MSX sales are higher than BBC sales. Having many friends with Beebs, I tend to agree - most of them go around wearing an eye patch, and carrying a parrot.

So Beeb owners can, perhaps, be blamed for the debut of Lenslok protection into Level 9 adventures. But the Lenslok is used in an unusual way. It is called for at various stages during the game, rather than as a prerequisite for loading.

The Price Of Magik has the usual special Austin brand of humour, and the unique Austin association of ideas in the puzzles. It is big, full of atmosphere, and entertaining. I'll be surprised if it isn't soon following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Red Moon, up there among the front runners for this year's C&VG Golden Joystick.