Cauldron (Palace) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Cauldron
By Palace
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #3

Cauldron

A combination of a shoot-'em-up and a platform game is a very attractive proposition - this is just such an effort, combining Defender-style surface action with underground cavern platform screens. The 'star' is a broomstick-toting hag who goes off in search of six ingredients for her cauldron to enable her to get the golden broomstick from the Pumpkin.

The game is composed of 62 screens on the surface of a planet which wrap around to form a circle, and 64 underground rooms where the six ingredients are found. On the surface the hag can fly her broomstick or walk on the ground, both having their advantages and disadvantages. She is powered by magic and has ten lives to complete the quest.

You begin at her cottage, where the ingredients must be returned, and emerge into a woodland scene where bats are flying around. If she walks along to a clearing she can take off and fly her broomstick, which is faster and ess dangerous than walking. The scenery charges on some screens, as do the dangers that try to hit her and sap the magic. Bats in woodland, ghosts in the graveyard, gulls over sea, lava balls over volcanoes and killer plants over hills all home in on her.

These can be shot with magic if you are flying but running out of magic, crashing into the ground or trying to take off when not in a clearing will lose a life. Magic can be replenished at many points where there is a sparkling area of dust. There are also keys found on the ground and these unlock the five surface doors to the caverns. The hag has to have a key and land before walking into one of the doorways.

Control changes to good ol' left, right and jump in some very testing platform screens. There are lots of rocky platforms about and, depending on the area, floors, tables, walls, deadly lava floots and of course hordes of nasties. These sap magic as before and are a lot tougher to avoid on your route although they do follow regular movement patterns.

Magic refuelling points appear again but the greatest danger is from falling too far or jumping onto a lava floor which immediately loses a life. This is made harder by the flick screens which often have you jumping into the unknown so that until mapped you have to guess where a platform will be. After a few games that shouldn't be too annoying though.

The deadly objects take the form of bats, lava balls, snapping plants, skulls, bones and your arch-enemy the pumpkin. The six objets you need are all flashing and sometimes seem so close but you have to go round half a dozen screens to get to them. Once you've picked them up it's back to the cottage to put them in the cauldron. If you get all six you can go to the pumpkin's lair and get the golden broomstick.

The graphics, both above and below ground are excellent with a great little hag and scenery. The title screen has a very atmospheric piece of music and even the instructions are done in style - they rhyme!

The Cauldron Rhyme

The instructions to the game are in verse. We thought you might like to hear it.

Harken witches everywhere, Take the challenge if you dare.

Tomorrow night 'tis halloween when only one shall be Witch Queen.

Six ingredients thou must take and in the cauldron boil and bake

Juice of toad, eye of newt, wing of bat, hemlock root.

Mouldy piece of splintered bone found from deep in musty tomb

Molten lava, cooled awhile, taken from the smoking isle.

Then the spell shall be at hand to rid the pumpkin from the land.

So play a game of high adventure, hold control and then press enter.

Good News

P. Two types of game in one. P. Marvellous graphics both above and below ground. P. Both sections are extremely playable and easy to control. P. Tough task requiring lots of skill. P. Atmospheric music and instructions.

Bad News

N. Finding route on platform sections is mostly trial and error.

Second Opinion

A Hansel and Gretel-ish world of strange and sinister goings on is created by the uses of some exceptionally pretty graphics. The hag herself is really very ugly. The magic of the game lies in its combination of upstairs and downstairs - a broomstick game and a platform game. It's all very smoothly done, with great graphics and spellbinding gameplay.

Bob Wade