The shape of things to come

The Faery Tale Adventure logo

Save as you go with Dave Eriksson

MICROILLUSIONS is not well known in the UK, except for what has become a classic Amiga role playing game - Faery Tale Adventure.
The story is that of the three sons of a small village's Master at Arms. Following a long period of peace and prosperity the land is invaded by a necromancer and his hordes of evil minions.

The village is repeatedly attacked until its magical talisman is stolen. Fearing the worst, the village elders ask the father to go to the King for help. For a long time they hear nothing until one day he staggers back, wounded and dying.
He confirms that the country is overrun by all that is evil. On his deathbed he explains to his sons what must be done to save the land from the necromancer's clutches.
From a prophecy made in the distant past it was said that seven quests had to be completed to defeat such an enemy. You control one of the sons in his quest to fulfil that prophecy.

Starting from the village you must explore, talk to those you meet and defeat enemies. There is plenty to find, and you must learn how all the special objects will help you.

Control is via the keyboard or mouse. A large graphics window shows your character and a portion of the countryside. The music changes to an ominous tune when enemies approach.
Beneath this scene are three windows. One tells you what is happening, with the character's vital statistics. A second is a menu where you can load and save - check your inventory, talk, buy, use a magic item and so on. Another window contains a compass rose from which you can direct your movement.

You start with brother Julian. I found it very difficult to keep him alive very long, Each time he is killed his luck points are reduced. If they have not reached zero a sweet little blue faery flies across the screen and resurrects him.
Once Julian is finally dead, you move over to Phillip. When he has gone to his maker, Kevin, the youngest, steps forward.

Faery Tale is not an easy adventure to get into quickly. You must learn how to best use what you find, especially the magic items. When fighting hand to hand you must face your enemy and use your chosen weapon. This takes a little practice to synchronise accurately.

Addictive, once you get the hang of it, and there is certainly plenty to explore.

The Faery Tale Adventure logo

Micro Illusions

Some of you may not be old enough to remember when this one came out. I know I'm not. OF course, not it's a bit cheaper. Faery Tale cost almost 50 quid first time around - but in all honesty, I think I can safely say it was worth it. And now, at the mere ship of £19.95 it's a must.

Faery Tale is packaged with all the usual garb, and so an arcade adventure of this sort should be. And what an arcade adventure it is. Eightway scrolling, with a map size of 100 screens by 140 screens, it proved so big even Mark 'I can finish that' Patterson had difficulty completing it. The only thing I can think of to even rival it would be Times Of Lore, and if you've seen TOL, let me tell you that Faery Tale is every bit as good.

Obviously the graphics on the 64 version aren't quite as highly detailed or as distinctive as those on the Amiga; but that doesn't stop it from being a highly playable and involving romp. I love it to bits, and it looks like I'm going to love it for quite a while yet.

The Faery Tale Adventure logo

Mediagenic/Microillusions, Amiga £29.99

Are you sitting comfortably? Wiped your noses? Rubbed away that nasty crufflenut? Then I'll begin. Once upon a time when the fields and rivers were uninhabited, and trolls could stomp on anyone they found, one Master at Arms decided to go and spoil it all. Somehow the talisman that had protected his village and his three sons (Julian, Phillips and Kevin) had got 'lost' and goblins, ghosts and skeletons were beginning to take over the town. It was going to be a real riot of a party - corpses and mediums, there was even talk of billy-goat pie - but the tightlipped old codger poured cold water on the whole thing and insisted on going for help.

Not that he's quite as smart as he makes out. He comes back with a death wound and a garbled story: an evil Necromancer is threatening to destroy the land and unless someone manages to perform seven consecutive quests, he'll never be defeated. Any sensible lad would think twice before going on an adventure like that. Unfortunately, Julian, Phillip and Kevin have all had a touch of too much of the sun, so they all want to go. Julian sets off first.

This is a graphical adventure (relying on the mouse) so a lot of Jazza's journey from home through the surrounding fields, forests and countryside, is spent fighting goblins or running away (told you he was a spoilsport). As ghosts and goblins are a lot more efficient in battle than some snotty-nosed kid, you probably won't get very far at first. Once you've notched up a few skulls though, you can start using some of the magic objects lying around, rummaging in boxes, spending money and casting spells - you know, abracadabra, shazam, minzaguinness...

The menu doesn't let you perform anywhere near as many actions as a text-input adventure but you can still talk to people, trade with them, look for hidden objects and unlock doors. These put obvious limitations on the puzzle factor (what are you supposed to do without an EXAMINE icon?) so in the end most of the fun comes from the sound effects - bogeying down to the music - and the graphics: you can even see the bubbles when somebody drowns. Ah, Lunch.

If you like your adventures like your billy-goat (well-done and meaty) you might get a bit fed up of all this sightseeing. On the other hand, if you're patient, fancy yourself as a bit of a fighting machine (boy, you must have some imagination) and like making maps, you might want to give it a go. Question is - should any adventure really cost £29.99? Don't ask me - mine was free.