Gandalf Review | Personal Computer News - Everygamegoing

Personal Computer News

By Tymac
Commodore 64

Published in Personal Computer News #096


The plot in Gandalf is fairly simple: you play the Gandalf of the title, and your castle is under attack from lizard-men who will enter and steal your apprentice, your task is to get him back and amass points by killing the reptilians.

In the first screen Gandalf stands on battlements above the courtyard in the foreground. To the left is his apprentice, stirring a magic potion. A forest stretches away into the distance, and it's from here that the lizard men approach. The joystick controls Gandalf's spell, pressing fire blows up a lizard with a neat little nuclear mushroom.

Casting spells drains Gandalf's strength (his colour changes to indicate this), but energy can be gained by moving Gandalf up to one of the towers at left and right; there's a magic star in the sky which zaps Gandalf back to life in a jiffy, but only when it's free of clouds.

The lizard men move in from the wings and look like dinosaurs. Once they reach mid-screen they turn and march toward the portcullis. Each one you blast turns to a gold coin which shimmers on the forest floor. After a time the portcullis rises and you should let a lizard man in to take the apprentice. Then you can follow the beast out of the castle to screen two.

Things are pretty hairy outside. The reptiles have dragonlike tendencies and will give you a dose of flame if you let them get too close. The plan here is to avoid them, blasting as many as possible, collect the gold coins and rescue your apprentice. From time to time a gold ostrich flies past and nicks one of the coins. To rescue your apprentice you must set a trap in the path of the abductor, but you can't defend yourself once a trap has been set.

Once you've vanquished enough lizards the gold you've collected jingles into your coffers and the action speeds up, but lose your three apprentices and you're doomed.

Gandalf is a curious game, there's not an awful lot to it and it would be quite easy to master fairly quickly. It has a healthy proportion of that rare quality - playability, partly due to the neat graphics and partly the fairly original plot. It deserves a look, but what a pity there are only two screens - and where's the "realistic sound" advertised on the inlay? All in all, fair fun in a limited format.

Bryan Skinner

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