Arcana (New Generation) Review | Computer & Video Games - Everygamegoing


By New Generation
Commodore 64

Published in Computer & Video Games #60


Oboargh! The room is spinning, my mind is being squashed. Wait! I can remember. It's all flooding back. Peculiar 3D graphics, bizarre flying creatures and a word. Yes, the letters are forming... K.RNA.H... KARNATH! And there's more... ENT.MB.D. ENTOMBED!

There's no getting away from the fact that, however much Virgin's PR people tell us that "Arcana is a delightful arcade adventure with finely detailed graphics", this game is astoundingly similar to Staff Of Karnath and Entombed - the Ultimate "classics".

One loaded, a melodic tune strikes up and a fairly mediocre options screen appears. The idea of the game is to steal an evil book before the local bad-guy gets his clawed fingers upon it. Once discovered, you must smash the book (or dispose of it in another, suitably dramatic, way) and thus save the Land of the Bright Elves.

The screen is presented side-on in semi-3D. It's possible to move "into" the screen by pushing the stick forward. Although the nature of the isometric graphics makes everything look a tiny bit stupid, your character - Baladur - moves with pleasing speed and the scrolling is top-notch.

The game takes place in a large castle, comprising many different rooms and corridors. As you plod around, looking for interesting thingies which will, without doubt, be of earth-shattering importance, numerous beasties fall from above and sap your energy. Bats, demons and witches make up some of the opposing side.

Doors line the walls. They can be entered, if they're not locked, by simply walking at them. Sometimes, though, you can blast away at the lock with a magic spell.

Arcana is really a direct copy of the two games mentioned earlier. It's fun to play, but certainly to be avoided if you have either Karnath or Entombed. Therefore, the Value rating may suffer.