Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back (Palace) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

Computer Gamer

Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back
By Palace
Spectrum 48K

Published in Computer Gamer #18

Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back

What's soft and squishy and bounces round a castle? Sounds like one of those dreadful jokes that gets passed round the playground, doesn't it? But Palace Software are deadly serious about this one. The answer to the riddle is a pumpkin or, to be more precise, a brave pumpkin warrior. The tables have turned. Whereas in the original Cauldron it was the pumpkin that was the baddy, now it is the turn of the witch to try her hand at being evil and you are the pumpkin that can save the world!

Set in a huge, multi-roomed castle, you must collect several objects beore depositing everything in the huge cauldron, deep in the cellars. The game looks like a vast platform game but, instead of leaping all over the place, you must bounce... and, believe me, it doesn't half take some getting used to.

Bouncing itself is no problem. You simply press the fire button when the pumpkin is on the ground, and you go higher, then it is simply a case of moving left and right. The problem comes when you try to control where you are going to. Before long you are rebounding in all the wrong directions like a ball bearing bouncing off the bumpers of a pinball machine.

As if that wasn't enough, there are various nasties that materialise from nowhere and do their utmost to sap your very juices. Some are even worse and kill you on contact. These cannot even be shot when you pick up the glowing spheres that allow you to fire magical bolts. Anything that can cause you harm does so, from the smallest flame of a candle to the tilting platforms of a gargoyle that deposits you at the very bottom of the castle. Lose a life and you are reminded about it in no uncertain terms by the cackling of the witch.

The game looks very attractive and is definitely a 'just one more go' game. The only major problem with it is the lack of scrolling between screens which can be most frustrating if you are bouncing out of control on the edge of two or three screens. Despite that, Cauldron II is certainly a contender for ghoul of the month.