|★ AMSTRAD CPC ★ GAMESLIST ★ SORCERY PLUS (c) AMSOFT/VIRGIN GAMES ★|
Sorcery was easily the best arcade game to ever appear for the Amstrad home computers. Brilliantly designed graphics coupled with an intelligently designed game resulted in an absolute classic. Now, the Virgin team have come out with Sorcery Plus. If you already have the original, don't make the mistake of thinking this is just a slightly modified version — there's far more to it than that. Not only have the 'gang of five' added new screens, but the game now has chapters one and two. Also, the method of rescuing some of your colleagues has been altered, sound effects have been changed and some very interesting new features have been added.
If there's one thing Amsoft need a lesson in, it's good packaging. The cover of Sorcery Plus is extremely dull and cheap looking. It shouldn't put you off, however because the game inside is definitely worth it. Being a disk version, it loads very quickly and the new title screen is quite attractive. All you need to know is there in the instruction leaflet. Just load it in and play...
And so to the plot. Eight of your fellow sorcerers have been imprisoned by an evil and powerful necromancer. Your task is to find and free them within the time allowed. Once you have done so, you join them in the sanctuary and the game ends. As you would expect, there are a number of baddies out to stop you, locked doors to slow you down and some of the geography doesn't help either.
To make life a little easier, a variety of useful objects are left scattered around the locations waiting for you to use. These may be keys, weapons or miscellaneous items required to free the sorcerers. You may only carry one item at a time and the little window at the bottom of the screen tells you exactly what that is. However, it will not tell you what it does, after all, that would be too easy! Weapons may be used by pressing the fire button. Other items are used automatically when you need them. You always have the option of dropping or swapping an item by a press of the fire button. Certain weapons will only kill particular creatures and although keys open some doors.
sometimes another object may be necessary. When this is the case there are often visual clues as to which object is needed. There are also some cauldrons which can replenish your energy — unfortunately some identical cauldrons deplete it rapidly, so be careful I
Other information supplied in the window includes a clock which appears in the form of a slowly vanishing spell book, a location description, an energy percentage and a score total (missing from the original).
In Sorcery, there were forty screens but in the new 'chapter one' there are forty-seven for you to explore.
Chapter one ends as the original game did, after you have rescued all eight of the trapped sorcerers. However, instead of relaxing in the sanctuary for the rest of your days, you gain access to a new door which leads you into the second part of the cjame. This section makes an interesting sequel. There are new objects and creatures and the graphics, are more impressive than in the first part.
This is where you actually do battle with the evil necromancer who caused all the hassle in the first place. He's so evil that love is a totally alien concept to him. So what you have to do is wander around, trying to find hearts, which you must collect and place all around him (a computer's idea of being smothered with love).
There are an extra twenty-eight screens in chapter two. Once you have reached the second section, you may continually restart your game from there. Unfortunately, to win, you do need to play right from the beginning (otherwise some areas will remain inaccessible), but you can use that facility as a kind of practice mode.
1. Sorcery's sound track is above average for an Amstrad game (especially if you have a stereo adaptor). The soundtrack has now been altered and when your character gets killed, the effect is quite amusing. The only other sound effect which has noticably changed is the opening of doors. The previous version had a quite authentic creaking effect. This new one sounds like too much like a . . . well, computer game! Anyway, these are only minor gripes and are nothing to get worried about. It's a great game regardless and probably the best reason for owning an Amstrad disk drive.
2. Every single screen is accessed from the drive. The reasons for this are not clear as it was certainly not necessary (except perhaps as a protection device), but the disadvantage is that the game is slowed down somewhat. It is by no means as bad as if it had been on a Commodore, in fact it is a credit to Amstrad drives that they are so fast, but the result is slightly detrimental to the game's atmosphere. For all this, Sorcery Plus is a great game, full of intriguing puzzles and fast scraps. Also there is an all time high score table on the disk, as well as the normal one. It's a game full of imagination and excellent execution.
3. Sorcery Plus's speed restrictions due to disk access, spoil the game a little but there is no doubt that this is still one of the best araphic adventures out for the Amstrad. The graphics are the best ever seen on an Amstrad game and really do justice to the machine's advanced graphics capabilities. This makes a wonderful change from seeing straight Spectrum conversions with their limited two colour character blocks. The shading and colour mix result in an almost cartoon-like effect that really is state of the art. The sprites are smoothly animated and again, the choice of colours is striking without being silly or over the top. When you use something like a 'shooting star' lone of the more do werful weap ons), red bolts shoot out from your character and, if they hit their intended target, the explosions are fast and dramatic. One added detail in the new game, which some may not like, is that on destruction of a creature, a scroll containing the points value for killing it appears briefly in its place. There are so many improvements over the original that I'm sure the vast majority of Sorcery fans will put up with the game's few bad points.
Presentation 85% : There are no options but they aren't needed. The title screen, scrolling messages and appearance are excellent. Would have been higher yet, had there been a better slip cover front Amsoft
Graphics 91% : No sense of perspective but thai cannot detract from the beautiful colouring and animation.
Sound 82% : Not quite as good as it could have been but makes good use of the stereo effects nonetheless.
Payability 89% : With simple joystick control and pause option, there can be no complaints in this respect.
Addictive qualities 85% : It is highly addictive if only from the point of view of getting to see all those marvellous screens.
Value for money 85% : Considering what disk games can cost, fourteen pounds is hardly prohibitive.
Overall 90% : To date, graphically the best arcade adventure yet for the Amstrad.
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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.