Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spellfire The Sorcerer

Yeah, let's be a wizard!

Spellfire is a scrolling platformer developed by Dave Semmens for Code Masters and is set in a time long ago: a time of myth and legend when knights patrolled the woodlands and magicians were the cool guys. Our beef is with an emperor who is holding captive (wait for it) Fifi The Fairy in his tower so our valiant quest is to rescue her.

He begins his journey in a forest that leads to the castle where she is imprisoned. This is a great start which introduces us nicely to the gameplay mechanics: our hero can walk, leap, climb trees, shoot fire bolts and even mash up magic spells using a rather large cauldron. Health status is displayed at the top of the screen and will decrease if you happen to touch the enemies or a dangerous object. Gold coins can be collected (after a kill) and these are used as currency inside a cauldron that can mix magical power-ups, ammo, or health.

It all sounds incredibly original, right?

The only chance you have at rescuing Fifi is to collect ten magic eyes which allow you to fight a guardian boss. The first is a wasp-like critter who isn't exactly intelligent and therefore makes for an easy kill. This grants us access to the castle via the dungeons which are creepy but the guardian is a bit of a bonehead. This castle takes us deeper into our quest but continuing with the same theme, with lots more tricks and traps to fool you.

Spellfire has some stunning visuals and I love the medieval environment. It's a little cluttered but very colourful using a gradient sky, erupting volcanos, and awesome skeletons when raised from the dead. The sprites have good attention to detail and are complemented by smooth scrolling that never lags and keeps up with the pace. Audio is almost as impressive and can be set to chipmusic or sound effects. Whatever you decide, you'll love it.

The CryptO'pinion?

I have enjoyed playing Spellfire The Sorcerer which reminded me of a cross between Stormlord and Chronicles of Omega. It's very easy to get into so instantly entertaining with good levels, excellent monsters and power-ups that work nicely. However, I did feel that the screens were a little too cluttered albeit very pretty.

I'm grateful this isn't a lazy Amiga port and one which plays every bit as good as it looks. Code Masters released what I can only describe as a hidden gem that will appeal to fans of the genre. Not perfect but a great platformer.

Download the HDD version by 8BitChip or floppies via Stonish.

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