Ein Azubi im Reich des Bösen

Apprentice logo

Wer sich damals schon an den "Great Giana Sisters" die Finger wundgespielt hat, darf sich über Nachschub freuen: Das neue Werk von Rainbow Arts ist ein actionreiches Hüpf- und Sammelspiel ganz ähnlicher Art.

Der kleine Apprentice ist mit seinen 400 Jahren noch ein junger Spund in den Augen der ehrwürdigen Magiergilde. Um endlich selbst als Zaubermeister aufgenommen zu werden, hat er beschlossen, den Drachen Fumo zum Kampf herauszufordern.

Der Weg zu Fumo ist, wie nicht anders zu erwarten, mit Gegnern, Extras, gefährlichen Flüssen und tückischen Plattformen gepflastert. Zum Vorwärtskommen, unentbehrlich sind die allgegenwärtigen Kisten: Mit ihnen kann man zu Hole Hindernisse überwinden, Brücken bauen und nach Gegnern werfen.

Sollte es trotzdem mal nicht weitergehen , kann per Space-Taste ein zweiter Apprentice im Miniaturformat aktiviert werden, der auch dort noch durchkommt, wo sein (zu) großer Bruder paßen muß.

Bis zum Showdown mit dem Lindwurm wollen 16 "offizielle" Level erfolgreich absolviert sein; daneben warten aber noch 18 "geheime" (und zugleich schwierigere), die man durch Zufall, Ausprobieren oder vielleicht auch einen Besuch beim Orakel findet.

Die hübschen Grafiken sind in einem märchenhaften Stil gehalten, unser Zauberlehrling bewegt sich darin praktisch ruckfrei vorwärts. Der Sound ist von Chris Hülsbeck, aber allzuviel Mühe hat sich der große Meister diesmal leider nicht gegeben.

Dafür erwarten den Spieler viele originell Features (z.B. Extras, die die Level verändern!) und eine geradezu vorbildliche Joystick-Steuerung. (od)

Apprentice logo

Rainbow Arts, Amiga £19.99

Amere four hundred years old? You're obviously far too young to be accepted into the Magician's Guild. I mean you've still got hair on your head - where would the Paul Daniels rug and magician's hat go? Pah! If you really want to be accepted, go and defeat Fumo the dragon. Since the beginning of time he's been killing magicians, stealing their spells to increase his own fiendish power. He rules a poisoned realm where not even the wisest and most powerful of the Guild's members have dared enter.

You dare? Well, such foolishness, but we will help you. The Guildmasters will use their magic to hide special objects in the landscape. Boxes and money have been scattered around, the boxes you can push, carry and even throw to kill the numerous monsters. You can also use them to build steps, while fruit has been hidden which will show you the correct path to follow.

The realm does have some good people though: behind doors you will find Oracles which may offer hints, merchants to barter with and buy things from - you may even meet a princess! Some objects are contained in tunnels too small for you to fit in, so if you've got the correct spell you can activate a miniature magician to use. A candle shows how much time he has to run around, throw switches, cross platforms which would collapse under your weight and so on. Switches can explode obstacles for you. Other magic objects include balloons (to ride up on), fruit (points), coins, keys, blue containers (protect you from fire), leaves (fall slower and jump further), bombs, hearts (extra life), freeze icons and many more.

Wise use of these objects is vital if you are to progress through the seven worlds contained within the Dragon's Realm. The worlds include heaven and hell, and make up 17 levels leading the player directly to the end, with a further 17 hidden levels.

Stuart Wynne To be honest, these cutesy Japanese-style games rarely get me hooked: they're nice enough to play but this Mario Bros-format has been done to death. Rainbow Arts previously did such a good job imitating the Nintendo stars they were sued (over The Great Giana Sisters). But Apprentice is jam-packed with extra stuff such as miniature magicians, explosives, springy boots and lethal crates to make some case for originality, without looking or playing dramatically different.
For Mario fans this is good news, and Rainbow Arts' predictably high production standards mean it all works very well indeed. The soundtrack is delightful, beautifully clear and superbly embellishing a simple tune. The graphics are neatly detailed albeit a touch dull - the mushrooms appear in every Mario clone it seems - but heaven is nice with clouds on rails. The familiar running about and leaping gameplay is nice as well, with all the extra features combining well with some good puzzles. I particularly liked the sweeping broom which throws crates back at you. At £20 there's little to complain about apart from the absence of new ideas. Worth a look as probably the best of recent Mario clones.
Warren Lapworth Rainbow Arts! Turrican, woo! Apprentice... er... ah... After their highly innovative, top-notch blaster I expected something more than a middle-of-the-road cute platform game. Leap over sweet little animals and from ledge to ledge, collect fruit and tokens... yawn. Kicking crates around to destroy the said creatures is the most satisfying part of the game but soon begins to pall. Graphics are pleasant but uninteresting, music is well composed with some nice sounds. There are simply too many games of this type for Apprentice to stand out from the crowd.