Sunday, May 28, 2017

Spellfire The Sorcerer


Spellfire is a scrolling platformer set in a time long ago. A time of myth and legend when silly knights frantically patrolled the woodlands, gorillas enjoyed throwing rocks, and magicians were the cool guys. Our beef is with an evil emperor who is holding captive (wait for it) Fifi The Fairy in his castle tower and our valiant quest is to rescue her.

He begins his journey in the forest which leads to the castle where she is imprisoned and this is a great start that nicely introduces you 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. Your 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 then used as currency in a cauldron, which offers magical power-ups, extra ammo, or a health boost.

The only chance you have to rescue Fifi is by collecting all ten magic eyes which will allow you to fight off 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 truly stunning visuals and I love the medieval environments with their nice touches like a colourful sky, volcanos erupting, and skeletons being raised from the dead. The sprites have superb attention to detail matched by the screen's smooth scrolling which never lags and keeps up with the pace of the gameplay perfectly. Audio is almost as impressive and this be can set to chipmusic or sound effects but, whatever you decide, you will love it all.

I'm grateful it isn't a lazy port because Spellfire plays every bit as good as it looks and sounds. Code Masters have released what I can only describe as a hidden gem and it's so easy to pick up and play to offer a great adventure.

LINKS

 - Hard drive installable versions are available from both D-Bug and 8BitChip.
 - Stonish lists several compact floppy disks and I recommend Mad Vision #L.
 - I recorded a video of the first level and I might do level 2+ if there is enough demand ;)