Mystical (Infogrames) Review | ST Format - Everygamegoing

ST Format


Mystical
By Infogrames
Atari ST

 
Published in ST Format #19

Mystical

What a plonker! You've gone and lost all the Great Wizard's scrolls and phials. Needless to say, this doesn't do your career prospects as a novice magician much good.

Fortunately, the Great Wizard gives you the chance to redeem yourself by collecting all these objects again. Trouble is, they're strewn over some pretty hostile worlds, populated by equally hostile monsters.

Mystical is a vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-up. You watch your magician from above and behind as he ambles through the landscape. Here and there you come across the Wizard's phials and scrolls - pick these up by walking over them. You also encounter monks that lob Bibles at you, sweet little shepherds flinging sheep, walking trees and hairy neanderthals to name a few. It's just too horrible for words.

To help you survive these attacks you can quaff some of the Wizard's potions for weapons or spells, or stop to read one of his scrolls. You can shout "Boo!" to scare the monsters to death, lock them up in cages, turn them to stone and generally do horrible things to them, you beast you.

You have to traverse five worlds in all, each divided into three stages. There's a pentacle at the end of each stage and you have to hang around until your master's crystal ball appears and takes you off to the next section. And at the end of each World is a very nasty end-of-level guardian.

Between stages you can shuffle your remaining potions so that they can be used in the order that you choose, although it's not too difficult to cycle through them during play. It's the spells that lify Mystical above the ordinary shoot-'em-up enabling you to pick just the right potion.

There is one problem, though: you must use the keyboard at the same time as the joystick. It takes precious moments to quaff a potion or read a scroll - and meanwhile baddies are busily doing their worst!

Effects

The graphics are quite superb. All the characters are large and detailed, well animated and very funny. The graphics don't move particularly quickly, but the overall pace of the game is gentle, so it doesn't really matter.

Sound is great, with a terrific gothic-sounding title tune and some excellent sound effects - especially when you cast spells! "Very funny indeed. I chortled." - R. Lawton

Verdict

Mystical's gameplay isn't particularly deep. Although the ability to collect and select spells adds to the depth, using the keyboard takes away the arcade immediacy and leaves you annoyingly vulnerable when you drink or read.

However, it's the graphics and sound that make the game. They are both very polished and highly entertaining - enough to turn a rather average game into a very good release. But will it keep you going for months and months? Not really.

Rod Lawton