White Magic (The 4th Dimension) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

White Magic
By The 4th Dimension

Published in A&B Computing 6.09

White Magic

After admiring the artwork on the cover of the packaging I loaded the White Magic disc and browsed through the instructions. The game has you controlling a team of four adventurers who simply have to try and survive. 32 levels full of deadly dangers have to be endured before victory is possible. The four characters are Kaldor the Leprechaun, Moriana the Warrior, Cheysul the Titan and Mandrake the Enchanter. As their names suggest they all have differing abilities. A press of a button and a magical transformation will turn the present character into another one.

The solution to most puzzles in the game is to discover which character to be when doing something. For example, when dealing with magical skeletons, the Enchanter is most able to destroy them. Knowing which adventurer to be involves common sense and some experimentation. This is quite a complex game. At first I thought it would be a Gauntlet clone but the accent is on strategy rather than action although there is a lot of the latter. The instructions show you all the objects in the game and explains what they are. Take careful note of these details as they are invaluable.

The screen displays the vital statistics of all the adventurers. In the middle of the screen is a rather small window which shows what is happening to the currently selected character. The screen does not scroll to show other parts of the play area; instead, it flicks. This is sometimes very annoying as there is no way of knowing what lies beyond the edges of the window. The graphics are well defined and they work well. The controls are a bit unresponsive when it comes to shooting at things and caution is required to avoid getting killed. A time limit on each level doesn't help either. This combination produces a difficult game to get into at first but, once you have explored a bit, it becomes very interesting to play.

White Magic

The depth of play will keep you engrossed for quite some time and I'll wager that it will take many hours of play to complete. It took me a couple of hours to complete the first level. Talking of levels, tape users will have to load in every new level they play. If you want to play the same level again you must load it in again! This is very dumb. The Electron version plays just as well as it does on BBC. Sound is a bit naff but then Electron owners are used to that anyway.

After a bit of frustration I got into the game and found it to be very playable and excellent fun. I recommend this game to fans of the arcade adventure genre. White Magic is an arcade adventure game with a blend of Superior's Ravenskull and Mandarin's Icarus.

The object of the game is to survive all 32 levels of play, beginning at level one, without using the level jump facility. Levels are completed by collecting all the treasure, finding the Master Key and escaping through the trap door before the enemy guards and ghosts zap your energy.

Play begins on level one (or any other level if preferred) with your character placed amidst a strange maze-like surrounding. One of the special features of White Magic is the facility to move around levels changing your character between four people. These are a Leprechaun, a Titan, an Enchanter and a Warrior each having different abilities. For example, the Leprechaun is quicker than the other characters but not as strong as the Titan. The Warrior has a sword which can slice down the vines found on each level and the Enchanter can throw fireballs at enemies killing them with ease. Each character has other abilities necessary to compelte the game.

The screen is composed of four boxes set around the border of the screen which contain each character's attributes for the duration of the game. The game itself is played in the centre of the screen.

I found this game highly addictive apart from some minor niggles. The written instructions given with the game do not provide all the information necessary to play the game successfully. This is provided on a file just before the main game which means that once you have read the (very long and comprehensive) instructions and begin to play the game you cannot remember the guidelines and so have to play with the information that you can remember.

More problems, I'm afraid. I would have liked to have seen a map viewing facility included as you can become confused as to the whereabouts of remaining treasure. Also, when you are surrounded by guards and ghosts and attempt to move off the current screen, it is very difficult to actually distinguish your character from the enemy. This is a fault which I believe should have been ironed out perhaps by making your character stand out more.

One final problem is that there is no indication which character you have changed to. When you have been using one for quite a while it can be difficult to remember who you are!

Apart from the lengthy list of problems, this game (believe it or not) is very enjoyable. The programmer has made the game addictive by including a large enemy.

Brett Colley

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