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.