Let's do the time warp...

Curse of Enchantia logo Amiga Computing Gamer Gold

CORE DESIGN * £34.99 * 1 meg * Mouse * Out now

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but have you ever been quietly walking along, you know just simply minding your own business and then BLAMMO!, you are suddenly zapped into another dimension? I mean it doesn't happen very often does it? I'll probably get loads of letters now from loads of people who have had loads of inter-dimensional experiences.

"Yes, there I was Mr Gamer writer, I'd just watched Bullseye with that fantastic Mr Bowen and I fancied a walk before my tea and as soon as I'd put one foot outside my door, ZAPPO!"
"I found myself whizzing through another dimension, millions of colours and strange sights flashed before my eyes."
"A weird bass sound was buzzing through my head and before you could say "smashing" I was back in my house. Surprised? I certainly was!"

You're probably wondering why I'm going on about other dimensions. Well the hero of Curse of Enchantia, a delightful little chap called Brad, has a very bizarre inter-dimensional problem.
There he was, playing baseball with his sister in a field, not realising that the field was possessed. And how did this field become possessed? Well, it's a long story, but I'll tell it anyway - you never know, your lives might be enlightened by it.

In a land far, far away in another space, time and dimension, there lived a whole load of wicked witches. Not just any witches, but the baddest, meanest, dirtiest, evil witches the world or indeed the universe has ever known.

They ruled the land of Zeloria and went around committing terrible deeds without any reason whatsoever. They would walk around forcing people watch Eldorado, and make the citizens of Zeloria laugh at unfunny comedians turned gameshow hosts like Les Dennis.

Now there was one particular evil witch who was that little bit meaner and more wicked than the others. This witch shall remain nameless, simply because she hasn't got a name (makes sense - Ed), but hey, let's call her Mabel just for the hell of it.

Mable had just one wish in the whole wide world and that was to keep young and beautiful for all of eternity. Seeing as though see has got a face like bulldog chewing a wasp, this could be a bit of a problem. Now Mabel, just by chance, found a spell to make her young and beautiful for all of eternity, but she was having major problems in trying to find all the ingredients that she needed to complete the spell.

The main ingredient was a live male child. She knew where to get one from, but didn't know how because male children lived in another time and dimension, plus she wasn't that well catered for in the power department.

Mabel set about tricking some more witches into lending her their power in return for making them young again. So, packed to the nines with evil power, she sent two witches through a portal to Earth. What they didn't know was that they had enough power to get there, but not back. Mabel unleashed a wicked spell on them which consumed them and dispersed their essence and souls over the field in which they were standing.

From all the way back in Zeloria the evil witch was heard to say "From this day on there will forever be communication between this field and Zeloria." In the few years that passed in Zeloria many hundred passed in our world. A great city had been built around the possessed field in this time. The field had never been built upon due to the strange happenings and odd experiences that had happened there. However the local children often played baseball in the field.

Aha, I've got to the point at last, because along came poor helpless Brad and it just so happens that Mabel, our infamous witch, was looking into the field through the portal. Excitedly she cast a summoning spell and before you could say "Debbie McGee", Brad was magically wisked away to the world of Zeloria. With a gasp, a gosh and a gusp, Brad's adventure had begun.

Right as you may or may not know, Curse of Enchantia is an interactive adventure very much in the vein of the Monkey Island series, but missus it's not Monkey Island, oh no no.

You control Brad, who's got brown hair with a rather splendid quiff at the front of it. Now Brad is only a small kid, not some big muscle-bound superhero, so in Curse of Enchantia he has to use his brain more than his brawn.

The control method is simple, in fact so simple even I could quite happily whizz along the controls without any bother at all. The whole game is controlled via the mouse and involves a small bar of icons which appear whenever the right mouse button is pressed. Via the icons you can make Brad pick up objects, jump, fight, throw objects and loads of other things which are too numerous to mention.

If there is an object nearby which you can utilise, clicking on the "eye" will make it/them appear on the icon bar. There isn't really much more I can tell you about the game because I'll spoil it for you, but it does involve Brad going around the world of Zeloria trying to complete certain tasks.

For instance, when the game starts you find Brad upside down and chained to the wall and obviously you've somehow got to escape, but how do you do it? Well that would be telling, but I can say that some of the puzzles aren't exactly logical.

I suppose all you grumpy readers are grumbling about how I haven't mentioned how good or bad the game is. Well fear ye not, ye varlets, the bard of the games world is here, hurrah!

Curese of Enchantia is absolutely brilliant! If I could give more than one Gamer Gold to a game then I'd give at least six to Curse of Enchantia. If you're a Monkey Island fan then you are going to bust your britches for this. The graphics, as you can see from the screenshots, are amazing to say the least. They are, in fact, real works of art and could probably worry a few of PC owners out there - that's saying something.

I can't really say that it's better than Monkey Island 2 because they are both brilliant in their own right. Ha, talk about sitting on the fence, there could have been a war if I'd said that one was better than the other.

Curse of Enchantia has excellent playability, graphics, sound and is addictive as something that's quite addictive indeedy. In fact, Curse of Enchantia is downright bloody enchanting. Buy it today because if you don't you will more than likely commit suicide, it's that good.

One thing is for sure - I wouldn't like to pick the adventure game of the year. Core Design have come up with easily their greatest and most impressive game yet.

Curse of Enchantia logo

Lucasfilm have dominated the graphic adventure genre with their Monkey Islands. Now Core Design have a stab, but the question is, will it leave you quite as enchanted?

Baseball, see - that's the cause of all the trouble in Curse of Enchantia. Now, if Brad had been playing a good solid English game like cricket or.. um... another English game, the witch wouldn't have dared interrupt in the first place and everything would be hunky dory.

We'll quickly skip through the plot: this place called Zeloria is ruled by an evil witch who wants eternal youth. She can only have that by getting a human child from somewhere, so she makes up a quick spell and nabs Brad from the baseball field just before he's about to make a triple play or whatever it is baseball players do. Thus Brad (Brad? I ask you) finds himself chained up in a dungeon at the beginning of the game. Not much to make your jaw drop there.

Curse of the icons
Curse of Enchantia is a graphic adventure, and no, Monkey Island 2 isn't getting a mention yet, that's for later on. It's so graphic you don't get any text whatsoever. Brad is controlled entirely by a set of icons that cover common stuff like taking, speaking, jumping, fighting and looking, but unless you study the manual first you'll have some trouble figuring out what they are.

What's the difference, for instance, between an icon of a key going into a lock and an icon of a security card going into a slot? Everything you can manipulate is represented as an icon too, which can lead to some confusion. That great grey blob that you first thought was supposed to be a chewed-up bit of gum turns out to be a rock. It would have been useful to have text confirmation of the objects for the more stupid among us.

C of E is a good example of how impressions are notoriously unreliable. There you are, chained up in the dungeon, with nothing at all to use. Naturally you shout 'Help!' using the speech icon (which only gives you 'Hi' and 'Help' to say anyway). A sampled 'Help!' wafts from the monitor. In comes the guard, shouts 'Shut up!' at you (again with a sample), trips up on the step on the way out and drops his key right next to your hand.

Now, you could easily be forgiven at this point for thinking that Enchantia is a logically flowing, high quality adventure full of sampled sound and great animation. After all, that's what the evidence has been until now. Oh dear.

Whinge moan complain
Problems. One: the sound that appears in the first frame is, you discover, very uncommon. There are a few samples of dripping water and suchlike, but mostly the game's quiet.

Two: most of the puzzles aren't at all logical. Here's a long, but pertinent, example: later on, you need to make a mask, though you only discover that once you get all the bits that make up the mask. For part of it, you need some wire. The wire, you find, is in a hole in a cave (except you're more likely to think it's a roll of cotton from the icon). To get the wire out of the hole, you need to pick up a computer from one of the caves (does the word incongruous spring to mind?), open it up, take out a magnet which it contains for some reason, and tie the magnet to a piece of string.

How to get the string? Oh, obvious, really: you go about collecting lots of rocks, give them to bloke you meet in another cave and he gives you string. You can then sling the magnet into the hole and pull out the wire. But if you can feel the wire in the hole in the first place, wy can't you just pull it out with your hand? And how would you know that the PC had a magnet and the bloke had some string?

It's the sort of contrived puzzles - a matter of trying every object you find with every action you've got - that ensure the game never gets any better than being annoying.

Another inconsistency occurs with the most basic of actions. Sometimes, to carry out an action, you must push something - a button, say - but at other times simply looking at it is enough. To dig in the mud under the sea, you just look at it, but to escape the cave, you have to push the button. If you do something that can't be carried out, all that happens is the cursor turns into a thumbs down sign - there's no explanation of why it can't be done. As if all that weren't enough there's a lot of tedious trudging about to do as well.

So here's where Monkey Island 2 gets a mention. Like most graphic adventures released these days. Enchantia at first to be a Monkey Island clone. The way the character is controlled, the textless interface and the look of the screens all bring Guybrush to mind instantly. You need only play for two or three minutes to discover that there's just no comparison. The control method is very different; after all, in the Lucasfilm game you could see what you were doing and what you were doing it to.

Enchantia's textless interface just doesn't work - despite the designers' belief, you do need words. The graphics aren't nearly as well drawn, though there's some decent animation scattered very thinly around the place. There's no humour to speak of, no genuinely amusing humour, anyway. The only thing Enchantia has in its favour is its size: 205 screens in all, a potentially enormous playing time.

It would be great to see a British Lucasfilm beater. Lure of the Temptress came close, but Enchantia is light years behind. And as for calling the kid Brad, well...

The game gets going when you escape from the prison and end up under the sea with nothing but a convenient fishbowl to wear.
Curse of Enchantia
Put the fishbowl on, quick. First thing you notice is this fish which is stuck in the railings. You can either eat it, except that doesn't work, or free it like the hero you are. Not that it does anything useful - yet.
Curse of Enchantia
Onwards to Mr Fish's Shop (there's a devastating imagination behind that title). Dig in the mud patch at the front, get the worm, give the worm to Mr Fish and you can fill up with oxygen.
Curse of Enchantia
Next your way is barred by these electric eels. Luckily the fish you freed earlier reappears and gives you some plankton in a fit of gratitude. Give the plankton to the handy turtle and he takes you across the eels.
Curse of Enchantia
Yet another obstacle - the shark. Look around behind the weeds and find the electric prod thingy. Use that to zap the shark and move left slowly.
Curse of Enchantia
There's not much to do with the clam except jump over it. Or you could pop it into a spaghetti vongole.
Curse of Enchantia
Finally you reach the plug hole. Use the prodder again to lever it up. You're sucked down the hole and into a cave. Only another 190-odd screens to go.

Bunter Hexenkessel

Curse of Enchantia logo

Core Designs Versuch, mit "Heimdall" ins Rollenspiel-Genre vorzudringen, war ja nicht gerade der Bombenerfolg - doch in der Welt des Abenteuers scheinen sich die Engländer wesentlich wohler zu fühlen!

Nichtsahnend spielt der kleine Bradley auf einem Baseball-Feld, als ihn eine böse Hexe durch ein Dimensions-Tor zu sich ins Fantasy-Land Enchantia zaubert. Verständlich, benötigt sie für ihren Verjüngungstrank doch unbedingt zartes Knabenfleisch...

Die Flucht vor dem Kochtopf wird über eine Iconleiste à la Sierra und am besten per Maus oder Tastatur gesteuert, der Stick ist weniger zu empfehlen.

Besagte Leiste erscheint wahlweise am oberen oder unteren Screenrand und ist aufgeteilt in normale Aktionen wie nehmen, reden oder kämpfen und in etwas speziellere (Tür aufsperren, Helm anziehen, essen...), zu denen man sich erst durchklicken muß.

Weniger wäre hier jedoch mehr gewesen, denn oft ist die Suche nach dem passenden Icon schwieriger als die Lösung des eigentlichen Rätsels.

Das liegt allerdings auch daran, daß viele Puzzles in diesem "märchenhaften" Adventure eher lustig als wirklich verzwickt sind. Andererseits ist der Humor der Geschichte manchmal so skurril, daß logisch denkende Jungabenteuer daran recht lange knabbern dürften.

Wirklich Schlimmes kann Bradly trotzdem kaum passieren, weil er in der geradlinigen Story erst weiterkommt, sobald alles Wichtige erledigt ist.

Die nette Gebrüder Grimm-Grafik, in der sich der Nachwuchs-Held frei bewegen kann, begeistert vor allem durch die urkomischen Animationen, dazu gibt's recht atmosphärischen Sound.

Tja, ein etwas höherer Schierigkeitsgrad und eine etwas weniger umständliche Steuerung, und aus Klein-Bradley wäre ein richtig großer Held geworden! (ms)

Curse of Enchantia logo

In continuing attempt to try every genre, Core go for the humorous adventure.

I 've read some ridiculous storylines in my time but nothing has ever come quite close to this. Are you ready? A boy is playing baseball with his sister. He winds up to smash a pitch into the stands when he's suddenly zapped into another dimension by an evil witch who just happens to be watching through a crystal ball. When Brad wakes up he has to return to his own dimension, presumably in time for the ninth inning. With such a corny story behind it it's probably just as well that Curse of Enchantia has turned out to be a cracker of a game.

It seems to be the fashion over the last few months to make RPGs less boring, some have even attempted to inject humour into a traditionally humourless genre. The French were having it almost all their own way with the likes of Silmarils and Coktel, and only Monkey Island 1 and 2 stood in their way, but now they face new opposition.

In Curse of Enchantia, Core Design have come up with one of the funniest games I have ever played. It makes a very refreshing change to be able to say to someone that you really enjoyed playing a game and it kept a smile on your face throughout with its wacky humour and hilarious on-screen antics. Well, that's what Core have managed here. Well done lads.

Looking at these screenshots, you can probably see that the graphics in Curse are very similar to those in the Monkey Island games. The dark and shadowy effects create a hell of an atmosphere, especially when you are trekking around the underground caves trying to find your way out. Even Brad, who is your character, looks and moves like Guybrush Threepwood, but before anyone starts shouting 'rip off', though, don't bother.

This style is just about the only thing that will make this kind of RPG playable, and it works, so why change it? Although good graphics help a game like this along (and this one does have good graphics), let's face it - in an RPG it's the game that catches you, and while Curse is a cracking game it won't quite match up to the Monkey Islands of this world.

The main reason for this is simple - some of the puzzles are just too obscure. I like games to make me think as much as anyone but there are some cases in Curse where you can't actually see items that you need to solve a problem, two examples being the seaweed that you need to fool the monster and the gold coin (look, just trust me, okay). Some of the other solutions would take you a lifetime to think up because some of them just aren't logical. Funny yes, but logical, no.

As I mentioned, humour plays a big part in this game and it's this humour which makes up for the strange way some of the puzzles are laid out. Call me easy to please (You're - oh, forget it... - Ed), but for some reason I found the ugly monster throwing himself down the well when he saw Brad take off his disguise (oops, almost gave you a clue there) and saw that he was pink and dry quite funny. If that doesn't tickle your fancy then the underwater antics of the shocking shark might... Whatever you normally find funny you'll definitely get a few chuckles form this game.

Enchantia has turned out to be a cracker of a game

Size isn't always a guarantee of quality (or so I've heard anyway), but in Curse of Enchantia you get both. There are over 200 different locations to visit and most of them contain puzzles or items that will need picking up and manipulating. The control system that you'll be doing it with is different from most other games of this genre as well - none of this 'point at an object and choose a word to see what it'll do' stuff.

The French RPGs like Fascination suffer really badly when you're stuck because all you have to do is move the mosue over the screen to see what objects become highlighted.

This always strikes me as pointless because it makes it possible finish the game more by trial and error than actually thinking about it. In Curse of Enchantia you don't get this so you have to really apply your mind to using the objects. This makes it harder but a damn sight more satisfying to play.

Just a quick mention of the sound effects now. You can choose which sound option you prefer at any time which is a nice user-friendly touch. Keep an ear out for some of the samples though. As you would expect they're pretty funny. My own personal favourite is in the dungeon right at the start when you call out for help and the ogre comes in and fells you to keep quiet in no uncertain terms.

So what have we got? Curse of Enchantia is a definite winner as far as I'm concerned. The difficulty curve is set just right, although some of the puzzles are so obscure you start to wonder whether you'll ever solve them. Getting stuck is easy but getting out of trouble just requires a little straight thinking and exploration. As with most adventures examining objects normally reveals clues. Accomplishing even one of the easy tasks gives you a great sense of achievement which makes you feel maybe the whole thing is worth persisting with. And when you suss out one of the tougher problems, well you feel like telling the world.

Curse of Enchantia may not be the biggest RPG ever but it's certainly not small, and with the amount of wandering around you have to do it seems a lot bigger than it is. With the ultra-laftastic approach that Core have taken with it, it can hardly fail to be a hit - most of the time it's even funnier than Monkey Island (1 and 2), and from someone who's as big a fan of those as I am, that's really saying something. (Bop bop shoobie doo waa. - Ed)

Rarely has a game made m want to spend hours and hours trying to solve puzzles - most of the time I'd have been reaching for a solution, but not here. Core Design have come up with a classic adventure game that just deserves to be a huge hit. Just watch this one crash into the charts.

Curse of Enchantia
  1. This wall looks false.
  2. Here stands Brad, super hero extraordinaire, namely you!
  3. What is this strange protruding rock here?
  4. Is that something weedy hidden there?
  5. Inventory, or what you've got.
  6. Pick up, bit obviousy really.
  7. Manipulate, oo-er.
  8. Look, eye something or someone up.
  9. Say, well it's worth a try.
  10. Fight, you'll have to do it sometime.
  11. Jump, handy for those clammy moments (hint).
  12. Clever disk stuff.
  13. Sound options.
  14. Boring programmer info that no one ever takes any notice of except us.

Curse of Enchantia logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Braving wicked witches and shark infested waters - Tony Gill plunges into a new graphic adventure.

In the now forgotten land of Enchantia, evil deeds are committed without cause. For years a coven of evil witches ruled the land, and the people prayed for the day when they could live in peace. After what seemed like forever, things finally changed - they got worse! One witch who was more evil than the rest (and believe me that took some doing), found a spell which could give her instant youth. The main ingredient was a live, male child. Are you getting the picture?

The evil witch persuaded two of her less intelligent friends to visit medieval earth, on the promise that they would have great fun creating destruction and mayhem there, but in fact she intended to use her power to open a portal through which she could catch a boy. When the two fools arrived in the world of men, the evil witch sent a 'Disperse and Claim' spell through the portal which hit her exhausted dupes, consuming their souls and dispersing their essence over the fields in which they stood. A little bit like a muck-spreader I suppose.

In the few years that passed in Enchantia, many hundreds passed in the world of men. Around the enchanted field villages sprung up, to be replaced in their turns by small towns. Finally a great city was built and its streets and houses spread into the countryside. But nothing was ever built on that mysterious field, for down the years strange tales were told of the odd happenings which had taken place there. Instead a wall was thrown around the green mantle and only the children who were too young or too stupid went to play games and fight mock battles in its cool bosom.

It was a warm day, with a bright, blue sky. The kind of day that makes fathers decide to wash the car. The kind of weather that makes mothers drag their sons out of the comfort and safety of their bedrooms saying silly things like, 'Stop wasting your time playing with computers, and go out into the fresh air and get some exercise'.

And so, instead of spending his day playing mind-improving games with his Amiga, Brad found himself heading for the nearby field to play baseball. If only he knew that across the void of time and space, other eyes were watching the park. Cold, heartless eyes that were waiting for the moment to strike. The ball left the pitcher's hand. Brad raised the bat, then in the twinkling of an eye he was gone! Once the smoke and sparkling fairy dust had left his eyes, the boy found himself hanging by his ankles in a dank dungeon cell.

The land of Enchantia is full of talking animals, magic and monsters - and all of this is ruled by the evil witch (it's just not Brads day is it!). Heaven only knows how he is going to get home, but unless he wants to become the major ingredient in the witch's next spell, you had better help him find a way out of the dungeon fast. Once you have escaped the castle (which is easier said than done), you'll find that your long road to freedom resembles an episode of Dorothy's adventures in the Land of Oz. This is a world of magic and mystery, where animals dress in human clothes, and you can walk along the sea-bed with a goldfish bowl on your head.

If you successfully cross the ocean, find your way through a subterranean maze and eventually stumble on the nearby 'Munchkin-like' town, you can be sure that your troubles are just about to begin. A visit to the local fortune teller, who just happens to be a seal called Sally the 'See-All', will give you the notion that you really should look up the local magician. (I mean visit him of course).

Here you'll be offered two quests, which, if completed successfully, will get you a first class ticket home. Having no other option but to agree you'll be transported to the edge of the world and left to fend for yourself on the crumbling ledge of an impossibly high cliff-top. Your further adventures will take you on a whirlwind tour of a volcanic island, the Marie Celeste, an Ice Palace, a graveyard filled with zombies and vampires, and finally to the awful confrontation with the witch of Enchantia in her castle.

This game resembles the Kings Quest adventures from Sierra On-Line, with its magical storyline and easy 'point-and-click' option. Mercifully it does not resemble its Sierra counterpart when it comes to speed, for it is much faster and does not have a five minute intermission each time you move to the next screen. It is fashionable nowadays to include small arcade sequences in adventures, and in this Enchantia is no exception.

Controlling your alter-ego with the mouse is a bit clumsy, however these sequences are fairly easy to complete and whatever happens you won't be killed and forced to reload. Instead the game simply delays you for a short while until you find a way to overcome the problem or you accept the loss of a few points.

A special mention should be made of the game's artwork as it is superb, compares favorably with the best in the business. The animation sequences are well done and would do justice to a movie cartoon. The sound also needs a special mention as a great number of digitized effects have been included, which brings lots of fun and atmosphere to the story.

Setting the difficulty level of the puzzles in any adventure is an awkward problem, and when the game involves a magical element things are even harder, as the problems can have a solution which defies logic. In Enchantia the majority of the puzzles are fairly easy and even a newcomer to the genre will eventually be successful, but there are a number of areas where logic appears to have thrown out of the window. At times like these you simply have to work through all the actions which are possible from the menu and trust to luck.

At least there is an on-screen icon which gives a 'thumbs up' symbol when you do something which is on the right track and a 'thumbs down' when you are wasting your time.

There is a save game facility, but in the version supplied there was no hard disk installation option. Hard disk installation is a facility which all new games should now consider as standard.

This is a classy game which is much better than Lure of the Temptress, which it could be compared with. For a start it is much bigger and contains dozens of different locations. The quest will also take a good deal longer to complete, which makes it an even better buy. I think some of the puzzles are a bit illogical, but computer gamers are ingenious folk, so I'll defer judgement on that point.

The further into the game you get the more luxurious it becomes. Around each bend the graphics get better and better. You may get frustrated, but you'll also get your money's worth if you persevere.


The land of Enchantia seems to have a fair sprinkling ideas from many tales, and going to see the wizard who can get you home is the least of them. There is also the cross-roads where the lost hero takes advice from talking signposts which brings the scarecrow to mind.
Take a look in the fancy dress shop called 'Ben's Tailors' where the magical proprietor will sell you a costume which will take you off on another quest. Did you watch Mr. Ben the children's TV series? Going through the door in the back of the changing room to a land of snow and ice, complete with an ice palace, brings back memories of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, with just a spoonful of the Snow Queen from Hand Christian Anderson. Seems like all your yesterdays are buried here in the Land of Enchantia. Take a peak and see if you can spot some buried inspiration for yourself.