At first sight you might be tempted to write this off as just another game where you run round umpteen screens picking up some things and shooting monsters. However a closer look reveals more depth to the game (by Derek Brewster), with lots of different objects that can be examined and used in different ways.
The action takes place in a castle which has been occupied by the demon Grell and his monstrous minions. Your task as the cute character Oscar is to rid the castle of Grell, but you've got to do a lot of exploring and use many objects to achieve that.
The castle's rooms are shown in 3D from one side. Most of them have furniture, wall decorations and of course monsters. Most of it is well drawn, but suffers from an unimaginative use of colour: each character, object and furniture item is just a single colour. There's a maximum of three monsters to a room and they whizz about randomly, sapping your energy when they touch you.
You can combat the creatures with weapons that you find, including a boomeranging axe and a magic wand, but you'll need some knowledge as well before you can use the wand. Once you've picked up an object you can use three other options on an icon menu at the bottom of the screen: drop it again, examine or use it. Sometimes examining it will reveal some useful information; when trying to use it you may be told you don't yet know how to.
Usually you can carry up to five items and be able to examine and use any of them. There is a globe of invulnerability - you can store up to nine items in it and trundle it around the rooms, but you can't use objects from inside it, so you won't be able to kill off creatures on your way.
There are many of the standard arcade-adventure features to the game like keys that will unlock doors to reveal more of the playing area. There are also healing and poison potions, so be sure you know which is which.
There isn't much sound in the game but what effects there are are nicely done. Some of them appear to pop up during play for no apparent reason, but the random twiddles and bloops are quite pleasing. The graphics are the most disappointing thing about the game.
The gameplay, however, has a lot to offer in the way of exploring, shooting and the odd bit of puzzling. There's nothing very original here but this type of game hasn't appeared so much on the Amstrad as on other machines, so a lot of you should enjoy it.
This one's fairly good value and there s a lot to see. but it's all pretty dreary stuff. There is only so much you can do with this land of exploration/collection effort. Well enough presented, but nothing at all original or exciting.
Visible enough, though the odd bit of blue-on-black causes problems.
P. Quite a large playing area.
P. Good use of icons within the game.
P. Lots of objects to use.
P. Good combination of exploring, shooting and puzzling.
N. Unimpressive use of colour.
N. Not much variety in the gameplay.