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ELECTRONIC ARTS £24.99 * Joystick

Why can't things stau happy and peaceful? It hardly seems any time at all since you were a young wizard's apprentice, learning all the spells and incantations from the great wizard Mordamir. Now things have become all dark and fearful. Mordamir has been kidnapped and is now held captive in the evil dungeons of Erinoch.

The master called to you recently in a dream - a dream filled with oppression and dread. It's up to you to find your way through the labyrinths of Erinoch to rescue your mentor. The path is fraught with danger. Goblins and trolls guard the labyrinth, but they are only the tip of the iceberg (adopts Orson Welles growl...) 'Beware the Slime!'

You must venture into the labyrinth and take on the dangers to save your master. Throughout the dungeons you will find many enemies, some of which can be fought in a straight sword battle, but there are also many other characters and objects which serve a specific purpose on each level.

All interactions which involve either speech or objects (such as searching, questioning and trading) take place via a series of text screens, which give you a yes/no option at the end. This way you can pick up, buy or be given objects to use later on - not all of which are useful. In fact, some are downright dangerous!

If you complete a level, you are given a 'certificate' number, which allows you to access the last level you reached without playing through the earlier sections of the game, but you do retain the necessary objects from the upper levels needed for your quest into the depths of the labyrinth.


A lot of the scenery is similar, but this is made up for by the superbly animated sprites. The death scenes are so good it's almost worth dying on purpose! The sound, on the other hand, is a different matter. The spot effects are very few and far between, and the pseudo-Medieval soundtrack is grating. This is a pity, since a decent, dark, atmospheric theme would have suited the graphics and produced a superbly eerie feel.


At first, it's great fun working out the puzzles and battling with the goblins, but the appeal wears off after a while when you have to do exactly the same thing time after time. The adventure will take some time to work out, but once you have completed the quest it's doubtful whether you'll feel the need to return for another bash.


The appearance of The Immortal is most definitely its strong point, though to begin with the puzzles are absorbing. However, the only people who will stick at the game long enough to reach the end time after time are the die-hard adventure-freaks. These are a select breed and rather scarce these days. Couple this with the fact that the game will only run on machines fitted with a memory expansion and the appeal is restricted even further. But if you adore graphic adventures and have one meg of memory then you may find a spark in the game that makes it worth playing. Casual adventure gamers, on the other hand, could quickly become bored.

The Immortal logo

Will Harvey scheint ein sehr vielseitiger Mensch zu sein: Nach dem "Music Construction Set" und "Zany Golf" beglückt er die Welt nun mit einem wunderbar schaurigen Action-Adventure.

Stell Dir vor, Dein alter Zauberlehrer (den Du schon längst tot wähntest) erscheint Dir eines Nachts hilfeflehend im Traum. Du sollst ihn aus dem labyrinthischen Höhlensystem befreien, das sich unter der längst verlassenen Stadt Erinoch befindet. Treu wie Du nunmal bist, machst Du Dich auf die Socken und sucht nach dem alten Rumtreiber. Der sitzt natürlich zwischen tausenderlei Rätseln, Wächtern, Monstern und sonstigen Unannehmlichkeiten fest...

Die Höhlen von Erinoch bestehen aus acht Ebenen mit über 50 Räumen voller Fallen und Gegner, sowie jeder Menge Zeugs zum Aufsammeln und Weiterverwenden. Zu sehen ist das Ganze leicht schräg von oben, gesteuert wird mit dem Joystick, über die Leertaste kann das Inventory aufgerufen werden.

Die jeweils möglichen Handlungen werden über einen Requester eingeblendet, die Joysticksteuerung schaltet im Falle eines Falless automatisch von Bewegung auf Kampf um. Zwar bereitet der Umgang mit dem Schwert anfangs gewisse Mühen, aber das legt sich mit der Zeit. Die reich animierte Grafik und die Soundeffekte sind stimmungsvoll und gut, bloß das Scrolling ruckelt gar schauderhaft. Eine Save-Option gibt es nicht, dafür erhält man nach jedem erfolgreich absolvierten Level den Zugangscode ür den nächsten.

Die Atmosphäre und die vielfältigen Aktionsmöglichkeiten von The Immortal sind schon faszinierend - warum programmiert nicht endlich mal jemand ein richtiges Rollenspiel in dieser Art? (wh)

The Immortal logo CU Screenstar

RPGs haven't changed much over the years. But The Immortal seems set to shake up the genre.
There's the tried and trusted plot-line - your mentor has been thrown into a multi-level dungeon, and it's down to you to get him out.

The first departure from the norm is that you no longer control a group. This has been abandoned in favour of a single character, proficient in both combat and magic. Status windows and text panels are displayed intermittently, instead of full time using up scarce graphics locations. The story is now played out on a full screen, using extremely detailed 3D graphics.

Rooms come in two forms, static or scrolling, depending on their size. Rather than have the screen scroll round your character, you can go anywhere in a room and explore while keeping an eye on any bad guys in the room.

There's a lot of scope for doing your own thing. You don't have to solve the puzzles concurrently, though to advance to the next level everything has to be completed. The problems themselves are straightforward without being too easy. The toughest part is combat. Your wizard can only jab, slash and dodge so you need to be careful as other dungeon dwellers can use the same moves to better effect.

When a creature does come to a sticky end he collapses to the ground with blood spilling from a rather nasty wound. Another nice touch is the way in which corpses linger rather than disappear - a few troll cadavers brighten up the dreariest room.

My only criticism of The Immortal is its save game system. When you complete a level, the computer gives you a thirteen digit code which you're supposed to type in to continue from that position. And because staying alive for more than two minutes is a challenge on a new level you end up having to type the code in repeatedly, which slows things down a bit. I would have preferred a system whereby you can enter the game at the level you died on, so you only need the code when you've switched off and reloaded.

Although at first glance The Immortal appears to be a standard arcade adventure, it feels more like a traditional RPG. Personally I would like to see something more in the lines of a single player Bard's Tale. However this is something which shouldn't be overlooked by any RPG fan with a thirst for progress.

GENERAL HINTS Keep your eyes open, it's easy to miss small objects. And in the room with no lights use a fireball on the torches, otherwise the shadows wil get you.
Remember. No doubt you'll get to pick up a lot of objects en route. Don't be fooled into believing that each and every one of them is useful - far from it, some can be positively dangerous...

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Electronic Arts, Amiga (1 Meg only) £24.99

Taking an isometric viewpoint, Electronic Arts' The Immortal is a tale of swords and sorcery, of intrigue and joystick waggling. But most of all, it's about having 1 MEG of RAM. Either you have it - or you skip to the next review.

Basically, you play a wizard out to save your old master. He's trapped at the bottom of the multi-floored labyrinth. To get there you'll need to battle monsters, solve puzzles, sort out your friends from your enemies, juggle your inventory, dance around traps and catch a few zees inbetween.

You control your wizard character with a joystick, moving all eight directions of the compass. Fighting recalls those sordid beat 'em-ups cerebral types spit on (ain't that right kids?). Thus push the stick forward to jab, to the side to parry and so on.

Pressing the space bar brings up your inventory. You'll find lots of items during your travels, spells, gold, etc. It is here that spells are initiated. Move the cursor onto a spell scroll, press fire and you'll hurl a fireball (that can bounce off the walls for deflection shots, incidentally). Completing a similar action on any other object either prepares, uses or drops it. The design of the inventory is neat, efficient and speedy.

Sound effects are good, although I did get bored with the background song pretty quickly (there is an option to turn this off, though). The graphics are detailed and the animation is delightful. The designers have really taken heed of human motion.

Puzzles are varied, non-linear and, on occasion, real-time with a time-limit. Thankfully the manual is very helpful, giving hints and tips to get you into the atmosphere of the game. The plot is also intriguing. It twists and turns, as all good plots do, so you think you've got the game sussed only to find it'll spring a surprise upon you. For this reason, in addition to the puzzles, I'd recommend The Immortal to adventurers.

The only problem I encountered was with the combat section. When the wizard character changed his orientation/direction the action commands tended to change orientation with him. Of course, with practice you should come to grips with this but I felt the confusion unnecessary.

Gripe apart, I wholeheartedly recommend The Immortal. It's a classy product, breaching many gaming categories. Both adventurers and arcade fanatics will enjoy this one.