Sunday, July 24, 2016

Enchanted Land

Playing the part of Kurgan, a magician who appears like an odd-looking Santa, you must retrieve the lost magic from the lands of Damiran. Of course, you will be battling all kinds of cutesy creatures through five lovely levels in order to restore things back to how they was.

I've always considered Enchanted Lands a showcase title for the Atari ST. If ever there was a software house willing (and able) to push beyond the boundaries set by poor programmers, it was Thalion. Developed in 1990 by the legendary Carebears, Enchanted Land certainly shown the world just what our favourite retro computer is capable of. Visually, this game is a cracker. Hundreds of beautiful colours, gorgeous sprites and sync scrolling at an eye-popping 50fps is such a joy to experience. Musically, breathtaking is the word and with all in-game sound effects also doing their job perfectly well. Beautiful is certainly the only worthy word and both my ears and eyes find no faults!

However, this is one of the hardest platformers I have ever played and, for many, is where it ultimately fails. We all love a challenge, no game would be worth playing without one, but this is ridiculous! Level design can often feel very unforgiving especially when I came upon groups of the jumping critters, which get me every time and bring me one step close to breaking my joystick in anger! The spiders are sometimes stupidly placed so will suddenly appear when you get close, thus unfairly zapping away more precious energy.  Level one is hard and perfectly introduces you to the game’s wicked ways and I struggled to complete it before seeing the technical delights of the second stage, which are tremendous. Sadly, this is also hampered by unfair mechanics and therefore needs to be learned... If only I had enough lives to do so! Still, running out of lives does produce an outstanding game over screen!

Enchanted Land needs to be played for eons to master every aspect and learn its cunning tricks. If you have the patience, then hours of enjoyment are ahead of you, however, silly mechanics and a difficulty level that could sink the titanic ultimately spoil what could have been a killer platformer. Good, but there are better on the Atari ST.

LINKS

 - As always, trust 8BitChip to have a version for hard drives.
 - Those stuck on floppies might wanna check out Old Games Finder.
 - AtariMania features Enchanted Land on their ST database website.
 - Fancy some cool STuff and a little cheat? Of course you do!!
          -> Firstly, type this text during the title screen, "TCB RULES FOREVER" and it will flash to show its worked.
          -> Now you can press keys 1 - 5 to pick a different level.
          -> Also, pressing F2 - F10 for lots of different effects. Enjoy!