There is a killer on the road

Stormlord logo Amiga Computing Excellence Award

SOMETHING terrible has happened in Fairyland. I mean to say, evil queens, incessant thunderstorms and various species of itinerant thugs and no-goods is one thing - a man can learn to live with that - but locking up all the cute nymph-like fairies in outsize bubbles is another bowl of washing up completely.

Your mission, and Mr Stormlord's, is to rescue said nymphettes and ultimately engage the wicked queen in battle for the party leadership.

You get a seemingly generous nine attempt at regeneration should you fall foul of the local flora and fauna, but you must also take into account the fact that Stormlord is a bit of a fairy himself - he is easily driven down the dusty way to death when confronted by anything more dangerous than a blade of grass. I do not know, in the old days a hero would be knee-deep in gore with savage steel whipping the gullet out of everything that drew breath, and here we are with a bearded old pansy flicking little bits of pixie dust around the place, without much effect I might add. Caution is definitely recommended. Rather than wait for a break in the weather you would better get going, because you only have a day to save the universe. By way of public transport, the fairy folk have enlisted a giant eagle which can be picked up at any convenient terminus. It may be a bit rough and ready, but it is damn sigh more reliable than BR.

I must say, Fairyland is not exactly what I expected. It seems to be exclusively populated by irate dragons, poisonous caterpillars, silly old men with wands, murderous goblins, carnivorous plants and some strange life form that baffles any effort at biological definition. Sounds a bit like Format's office. All of them are, of course, deadly and only some can be despatched with liberal sprinklings of pixie power.

Gameplay will test you to superhuman levels of cunningness and dexterity as you balance on a daisy petal preparing to leap over a sticky, tricky venus plant or run the gauntlet of the dragon woods in the height of the egg-laying season.

There is an overwhelmingly puzzly rather than gamesy feel to Stormlord - time limits are tight and many routes lead to inescapable and infuriating dead ends - those pixel-precision jumping skills you have nurtured over the years will come in very handy. The most brain-pummelling amazing, brilliant and wonderful thing about this game is the sound. Not only the terrific music, but also the awesomely staggering sound effects, which are so crisp and precise you will believe someone has sneaked a CD in the back of your monitor. All this is not at the expense of the graphics, which could also be described with a long list of superlatives. Good use of colour breathes life into Fairyland, especially some of the statues, which you may feel compelled to go past as often as possible, nudge-nudge, wink-wink, know what I mean.

Stunning background animation combined with sound effects build up a very palpable atmosphere which is hard not to respond to.

Hewson and Raffaelle Cecco are once again showing the form that won them the adoration of millions on the C64. Fairies really do give you better value for money.


Stormlord logo

HEWSON £24.99 * Joystick

Trouble is in the land of the faeries: they have all been captured and imprisoned. To save everyone from terrible fate you have to release them all.

Each level of the game has five faeries to be rescued, merely by touching them. To get to them you have to solve many problems in a plain, old-fashioned arcade adventure style.

There are keys to unlock doors, jars of honey to draw away deadly swarms of bees, umbrellas to protect against killer rain and so on. There is also a neat teleport system where you are carried around by an eagle.

You can jump and shoot, which are very necessary for dealing with flying dragons, walking skeletons and demons that hatch from eggs. There are timing problems too, just to complete the arcade-adventure feel.

The gameplay betrays the game's 8-bit origins but the graphics have been considerably improved. The combination of exploration, puzzle solving and some shooting works well, and there are enough levels to make it a challenge.


Stormlord logo

Schon wieder ein Action-Adventure - aber was für eines! Farbenprächtige Screens voll zauberhafter Elfen und heimtückischer Trolle machen Hewsons Märchenwelt zum Erlebnis. Kein Wunder, hat doch kein Geringerer das Game Ausgeheckt als Raffaelle Cocco, der schon mit "Cybernoid" für einiges Aufsehen sorgte.

Schon das feine Titelbild lässt erahnen, was da auf den Spieler zukommt: Blitze zucken vom Himmel, und ein nacktes Elfchen klammert sich schutzsuchend an den Herrn der Stürme. Recht hat die Kleine, denn wer außer unserem wackeren Helden würde es wagen, sämtliche gefangenen Feen aus dem Zauberwald zu befreien? Besonders da dort böse Zauberer, messerschwingende Gnome und angriffslustige Drachen in rauhen Mengen ihr Unwesen treiben!

Es gilt, eine bestimmte Anzahl in Zauberblasen gefangenen Nackedein zu befreien, ehe man in die Gefahren des nächsten Levels entlassen wird. Zu diesem Zweck läuft oder hüpft das zwergenhafte Heldensprite (der Kerl ist so winzig, das selbst Gänseblümchen und Fliegenpilze zum Problem werden) durch eine Landschaft, die in Sachen phantasievoller Gestaltung kaum Wünsche offen lässt. Verschwindende Ebenen, fleischfressende Pflanzen und sehr lebhafte Vulkane sind ebenso vorhanden wie eine reiche Auswahl von grafisch hochklassigen Gegnern. An einigen Stellen ist man auf die Hilfe eines Adlers angewiesen, der unseren Stormlord mittels "Schnabbel-Express" von einem Spielabscnitt zum anderen transportiert. Gekämpft wird mit dem Schwert oder durch das Werfen von magischen Sternchen, wobei oft blitzartige Reaktionen gefragt sind, soll den die neun Leben nicht schon bald beim Teufel sein.

Zwischendurch müssen verschiedene Gegenstände aufgenommen und richtig eingesetzt werden (Honigtöpfe für Killerbienen, Schlüssel für versperrte Türen, Schirme etc.). Da so manches Problem in der richtigen Reihenfolge gelöst sein will, und nie mehr als ein Gegenstand zur gleichen Zeit transportiert werden kann, kommt neben der Geschicklichkeit auch das Köpfchen nicht zu kurz. Aber jedem Puzzle ist mit Logik beizukommen, und die pixelgenaue Steuerung sorgt dafür, dass auch Einsteiger nicht an dem Computer-Märchen verzweifeln müssen.

Schade nur, dass bei all der tollen Grafik die Ohren etwas benachteiligt werden: Die Titelmusik ist zwar gelungen, aber während des Spiels muss man sich mit bloßen Sound-FX zufriedengeben - die sind allerdings durchaus hörenswert! Trotzdem in einem Punkt haben die Programmierer geschludert: Manchmal kann es passieren, dass da eigene Sprite zwischen zwei Ebenen hilflos in der Luft hängen bleibt. Nicht weiter schlimm, aber unnötig!

Stormlord ist ein Muss für Freunde einfallsreicher Action-Knobeleien - wer "Black Lamp" oder "Beyond the Ice Palace" mochte, wird sich in dieses Spiel auf Anhieb verlieben! (ml)


Stormlord logo

Hewson/ST & Amiga /£19.99

Amiga reviewSean: Badh the Crone has imprisoned all the fairies in Fairyland and is draining all their life energy in order to prolonging his (her? Its?) own life. You, Stormlord, being a good chum of Rose the Fairy and a founder member of the F.F.F. (Free Fairies Forever) peace movement intend to release the said fairies and so destroy Badh.

The fairies have been imprisoned in different areas of Fairlyland, and not surprisingly, many varied obstacles and puzzles stand between you and the ultimate aim of the F.F.F. For example you're going to come across giant bees, vicious goblins armed with daggers, skeletons with bouncing heads and horrible creepy crawlings.

Getting past some of these is often simply a matter of chucking an energy bolt or dagger at them, whilst others need more thought. Take the bees on level one, for instance, which stand between you and a fairy. The pot of honey about 300 screens along will probably be of some use, but how to get it close enough to the bees to distract them is the problem. You also have an eagle to call up for assistance, which will carry you to places which would otherwise be inaccessible.

As usual there is a sub game - this time it involves throwing hearts at fairies to make them fall in love with you and then catching the tears that fall, like dew, from their sad eyes. Yeuch! I feel sick.

Stormlord is actually a conversion of a Hewson eight-bit smash from earlier this year, and is typical of Hewson's slick arcade adventure style games. One problem games like this face, I suspect, is that the 'left, right, pick up, drop' whilst perfectly suitable for the 8-bits, seems a little old and staid on 16-bit computers. In addition, Stormlord has the added disadvantage of seemingly dodgy collision detection at points. These facts meant that in the short term I found the game fairly boring and frustrating. But, being a persevering type, however, I... er... persevered, and after a while I must admit that I was rather getting into Stormlord

The most attractive aspect of the game is the atmospheric background graphics, which look exactly like the most stonking set you could imagine for A Midsummer Night's Dream, or Spencer's The Faerie Queen. Tons of strange flowers, warped, gnarled trees, and striking thunder and lightning abound. The main sprite however, lets the game down a little. Although it is suitably coloured and complements the atmosphere well, the animation is a little stilted and rigid at points, like when Stormlord jumps or is carried by the eagle.

The sound consists of an averagely attractive ditty and wind howling through the trees. It's in the gameplay league where Stormlord scores the points - after initial unfriendliness, it develops into an addictive arcade adventure. The problems are well thought out, and give the game an element of challenge which will keep you coming back to it as you suss each problem.

All in all (he said, introducing the final paragraph with a typical summary statement) Stormlord is a flawed but addictive game and to my surprise, I found myself returning to it again and again. Definitely the type of game which will bring back many a happy memory for anyone who, like me, has moved up to a 16-bit computer from an 8-bitter.


Stormlord logo

Hewson, £24.99

When the damsels in distress are as buxom and undressed as those in Stormlord risking life and limb for their rescue requires little explanation. Suffice to say around five fairie maidens have been imprisoned on each of the game's six levels (two more than 8-bit versions). They are freed from the crystal prisons by Stormlord simply by jumping on them. But of course, there's lots of baddies to prevent that, from beautifully detailed flocks (?) of dragons to skeletons to caterpillars. In addition, there's keys to find, bees to distract, flames to quench and umbrellas to utilise.

Finding the correct order to do things is as important as learning enemy attack patterns. If you complete a level, there's a sub-game where Stormlord blows a limited number of kisses at faeries flying overhead. When a kiss touches a faerie she cries, and her tear can be collected for extra lives.


Robin Hogg I'm honestly surprised how well Stormlord has come across in the process of conversion. The gameplay is still inherently 8-bit, but 16-bit graphics come into their own with wonderful sound effects to match (the crackling of the fire is so atmospheric and the Maniacs music is superb). Dig deep into the game and there may not be great depth to it, but presentation is wonderful and playability extremely high.
Stuart Wynne After playing this so much on both Speccy and C64, I didn't expect to be too surprised by the Amiga one, but I was! The graphics are wonderful, the flickering of shadow around fire lamps on the castle, the way the faeries' hair moves when their crystal prisons bounce, the detail is great. Sonix are no less impressive, the buzzing bees and wolf whistle in FX mode, or the Maniacs of Noise soundtrack, are hard to choose between. Playability has been tweaked too, making it easier to get into than the superb C64 one. Highly recommended.