Your Sinclair1st July 1986
Published in Your Sinclair #7
With just a clove of garlic for company and a faded spellbook under his arms, Phill South trod the slime filled dungeon of Gargoyle Games' latest epic, Heavy on the Magick, and dragged himself back to quill this report.
Brrr. It's cold down there. Creepy. The very stones of the wall seem to radiate cold, and the constant dripping sound of fetid water leaking through the roof rings in your ears...
I wish I hadn't gone there. But as Axil's alter-ego I was forced to tread that fear-some way, fighting the terrible monsters and traps with the magick contained in my spellbook, The Grimoire of Gugamon. I really shouldn't have been telling off-colour stories about Master Therion, and then he wouldn't have sent me down there. But he did, and it was my quest to survive the trials of the catacombs and to escape.
The area of the dungeon is vast. There are about 255 rooms and 21 different creatures to do battle with, as well as 280 objects to collect and use to their best advantage. There are also demons to be invoked, but this is a hazardous business. They are all powerful and very impatient. No room for spelling mistakes here! You must speak clearly and quickly else they'll banish you to the furnace where you'll perish in mortal torment. (sob!)
Now if this sounds a bit ho-hum to you, as far as your experience of either Gargoyle or adventure games in general goes, then think again. The universe of Graumerphy is portrayed using real time animated graphics, so the game plays a bit like real life. Sometimes you have time to think, other time you have to act first and ask questions later.
The pictures are at first sight a bit on the chunky side. That's all down to the compression and expansion they have to go through to fit so many of them into the game. You soon get use to this effect, however, and it's then you begin to notice how mobile the characters are and how much personality the exhibit.
All in all, Heavy On The Magick is the best blend of arcade skill and adventure logic that I've ever seen, and it's a real showcase for the humble Spectrum's severely underrated (sez who?) abilities. A breakthrough, a hit, and a lot of fun besides.