The Colour Of Magic (Piranha) Review | Amstrad Computer User - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Computer User

The Colour Of Magic
By Piranha
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #29

The Colour Of Magic

Delta 4's latest to hit the streets is distributed by Piranha and follows - very loosely - Terry Pratchett's novel, The Colour Of Magic. Throughout the adventure you direct and control a somewhat inexperienced young wizard, Rincewind by name and unpredictable by nature.

This poor chap had an unfortunate experience during his sorcerous training. He so thoroughly learnt one of the wizard's eight vital spells that it lodged permanently in his brain.

This so completely fouled up his learning processes that he was unable to complete his matriculation in wizardry. Fortunately his natural talents as a translator are unimpaired and he seems to be able to earn a meagre living.

Having been accepted for training as a wizard, he cannot die unless Death himself is present at the occasion. This gives him a slight edge over any mere mortal around and his life seems at times just a little charmed. After all, even Death cannot be everywhere at once.

Rincewind lives in a city called Ankh Morpork, on Discworld. This is a strange world: Not only is it flat and disc shaped but travels through space on the back of a giant tortoise, which in turn is supported by four enormous elephants.

For more information on the amazing theories surrounding Discworld, you will either have to buy the book by Terry Pratchett or read the instructions with the game. If you have the slightest leanings towards fantasy I would thoroughly recommend you do both.

The adventure starts with the impoverished Rincewind sitting in front of a small beer in the one and only public room of that well know hostelry, The Broken Drum (you can't beat it!). Who should be escorted in by Blind Hugh but Discworld's first tourist - Twoflower.

Four-eyes Twoflower appears to be as rich as they come but is having problems making himself understood on this strange world. Neither is Hugh Blind exactly the best guide for a man wanting to see everything Rincewind smartly offers his services and is promptly given the post of translator and guide to the aforementioned Twollower. Having organised a good nights rest for his benefactor Rincewind is all set for a tour of the local high-spots.

Unfortunately, on this side of the river Ankh Morpork is not quite as civilised and law-abiding as the local tourist board might wish.

Rincewind and Twoflower have quite an exciting time, ending up with Twollower being abducted. Following Rincewind's heroic attempt at a rescue, the town on this side of the river gets burnt to the ground.

Escaping on horseback, the two gallop into a further series of adventures, with the grim reaper just itching to cash in Rincewind's chips at the slightest opportunity. Adventures now follow in rapid succession with attacks from such as trolls, wild bears, wolves, demonic entities, dragons and pirates.

Discworld's own pantheon of Gods seems to take a keen sporting interest in the pair's progress and Death himself is never far away.

In fact Death would now appear to be quite desperate to correct the situation of having special living conditions granted to one so unimportant as Rincewind.

Throughout all this, Twoflower takes everything in his stride, showing the naïve "everything will be alright in the end" attitude that is the hallmark of a dedicated tourist.

The Colour Of Magic comes on cassette for the CPC machines and is a large program, to be played in four consecutive parts. At the conclusion of each part the game must be saved (to disc or tape) and then loaded at the beginning of the next episode.

A number of key locations are graphically illustrated but the game's main aim is to give plenty of good readable text. A minor action will often produce volumes of amusing and relevant information to keep up the flow of the main storyline.

Commands may be given in short sentences but are analysed as simple verb/noun inputs, so EXAMINE THE ROCK FRAGMENTS may be more quickly and easily typed in as EXAMINE FRAGMENTS or even EXAMINE FRAG.

You may - indeed you must - interact with the main characters of the story by talking to them. This s achieved by TALK TO XXXX, followed by SAY XXXX XX XXXX.

The most notable exception to this comes very near the beginning where Rincewind first becomes aware of Twoflower.

Trying to TALK to anyone to offer your services as a translator does not have any effect - the direct input LET ME TRANSLATE or TRANSLATE does the trick and you are on your way.

The first part takes place in the town of Ankh Morpork and you will need to plot this carefully. There are less than 40 locations but due to the twisty nature of the streets in the old town, care is needed to get an accurate map.

As all the action takes place on Discworld, the normal directions of North, South, East and West are not applicable. In their place you must use Hubward. Rimward, Turwise and Widdershines (or H, R. T and W).

I have assumed Hubward to be equivalent to our more common use of' North and as Widdershines is an archaic term for anti-clockwise, I have used this as west.

It really does not matter which you choose. Locations on your maps will still be in the same relation to one another, though they may just be mirror images of other peoples' maps.

Once you set out with Twoflower events will happen at breakneck speed. So it may be wise to become familiar with your city either before you offer to assist him or before the first day's excursions.

When things start to hot up you have a useful ally in his alien luggage, This is a many footed sentient, box, very loyal to its master and, if at all possible it will follow him wherever he goes.

Having explored the town and recorded some of its more colourful features on Twoflower's rather special camera, you will eventually find that safety demands you leave in a hurry.

The second and later parts take you outside the town. Although you still have freedom of movement, this is very limited and you must solve a series of puzzles to proceed to further locations.

The Colour Of Magic has a RAM SAVE/LOAD facility - use this and the regular save option often. Death is waiting for your slightest error.

At some point you will probably interact with a creature called KlSDRA: The program will not permit the use of the exclamation mark, so ignore it and use the form KSDRA.

Altogether a fascinating adventure, well written and full of excitement and humour. The format of sharply defined problems to solve makes it a good challenge for any adventurers, novice or expert.

The puzzles may sometimes seem insoluble but don't give up - there is an answer there for you to find.

Bill Brock

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