Design your own adventures
Hard on the heels of White Magic comes the sequel - on all BBC Micro formats at once. The new game hardly differs at all from the original apart from a slightly modified title screen and the addition of a screen designer. This review was done with the Archimedes version, but most general points cover the others, too.
You get 32 new levels to play and pretty tough they are too - after a full day's play I only got to the fourth one - but they're still reasonable and not so hard that they discourage you.
Sound and graphics are exactly the same as on the previous version, which means they're adequate for the BBC Micro but not very good on 32 bit machines. The sprites resemble and move like the ones in Ravenskull.
However, the screen designer is what White Magic 2 is really all about. On the Archimedes it's loaded with the main game, so pressing D at the menu takes you instantly into the designer. The majority of the screen is blank, a scrollable window contains available icons and two areas show the piece of scenery under the pointer and the currently selected one.
To create a level you paint over the blank area with the pointer - the manual I used was only the draft version, but I did take heed of the warning that the border must contain solid characters. You needn't worry over much here, as the editor has fairly extensive error checks which include examining the border and ensuring there's a trapdoor and master key.
Of course, what it can't do is check that the level can be completed - the design is up to you.
It's easy just to sit down and start creating, but the overall size of the screen is huge and designing puzzles requires forethought.
My first screen was a lovely symmetrical affair with the start in the bottom left and the end in the top right. However when I came to test play it - via a pop-up menu - I had my first introduction to the less friendly aspects of this software.
The start position must be within a small area located in the top left of the screen - so much for my clevel design - and no, there isn't a rotate option. Then there's a whole series of questions about what to call the level, the time limit and there the teleports transport to. Finally you're told what the edit code is - essential if you want to re-edit at a later date.
What is really annoying is that this happens every time you want to try out your creation. Why there couldn't have been another menu option to enter these details just once I really don't know, the rest of the editor is well designed.
Anyway, I went back to the drawing board and designed a whole new level which worked exceedingly well. There are a great number of factors which control how to design a screen but you learn these through experience. A devious mind also helps.