Personal Computer News

Witch's Cauldron

Author: Mike Gerrard
Publisher: Mikro-Gen
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Personal Computer News #097


Mikro-Gen's The Witch's Cauldron is a graphics adventure in which you begin life as a "plucky toad", and must restore yourself to human form. The reason for your reptilian resemblance is that you've upset the wicked witch Hazel, who has imprisoned you in her lair. She doesn't seem to be around in the early stages of the game, though her mad assistant Moctuper keeps interfering in your attempts to de-toad yourself.

Naturally you're on the lookout for spells, and the instructions tell you that there are strange ingredients scattered about the 100 or so locations, some of which must be put into Hazel's cauldron... if you can find it.

You begin in a different location each time, but always in and around the witch's parlour: under the armchair, in the fireplace, under the couch, and suchlike. Each location has its accompanying picture, and very good they are too, including you yourself "doing the toad", so to croak. So good is this impression that you merely have to type the word UP, and there you are, perched on top of the armchair or half-way up the chimney. As you hop about you must LOOK and EXAMINE everything, including those objects that are depicted in the picture but not necessarily in the text, which occupies a dozen or so lines beneath it.

The Witch's Cauldron

There are some objects that you're unable to get in your initial form - such as a bottle of whisky - but there are clues written in various places to try to help you metamorphose. So far I've managed it several times, turning into a bat or a cat, but each time my efforts were thwarted: Moctuper seems to find batburgers particularly tasty, and it doesn't do to change into a cat if you're in a location you'll then be too big to get out of again. I've also been caught in a mousetrap, where typing HELP produced a mouse who asks you a riddle. One of these I could answer, another I couldn't, and I was dead again, having scored a feeble 200 out of a possible 10,000.

Despite the deaths, and only having uncovered eleven locations so far, the game is proving to be great fun, with a little more uncovered each time. You can save the game, as you'll need to, and full sentences can be entered as well as abbreviated commands. Keyboard response is brisk, and adventurers should well enjoy being under this particular witch's spell.

The standard of Mikro-Gen's software has certainly rocketed over the past six months.

Mike Gerrard

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