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Legend of Djel logo

PROGRAMMERS are inevitably interested in either beer, science fiction, JRR Tolkien, or all three. This means that if they can't work an alcoholic spaceman into a game, they will turn to the mysterious and occult, as in the case of this latest offering from Tomahawk, the French software house responsible for Emmanuelle. French programmers are obviously interested in one more subject.

The use of wizards and magic to form the basis of a plot is not what you might call startlingly original; even the early adventure games on the first mainframes used magic as a major plot device. It was therefore with totally unbaited breath that I switched off my extra memory and re-booted Legend of Djel to see what sort of magical mystery tour I was letting myself in for.

The booklet accompanying the game is a wonderful example of what 1992 holds in store for us. It attempts to set an atmospheric scene, and fails miserably.
Why do our European friends insist of translating the instructions themselves? Would it cost too much to ask someone who had at least glanced at an English-to-French dictionary or listened to BBC World Service to look over the instructions? Here is one of the best lines:
"At the moment of confrontation you will be projected into".
Sounds very painful, and probably illegal.

The story eventually forthcoming from under this Euro-mountain of mismatched prose is the usual soap opera set in a land in the far future.
You play the part of a wizard called Djel - pronounced gel, as in the stuff Green puts in his hair - and your career goals are to rescue a girly, save a country from starvation and cure a major outbreak of foot-and-mage disease.

Every self-respecting wizard keeps abreast of new technology, and Djel is no exception. He has the latest version of Workbench, which is covered in many up-to-the-moment utilities.
Comms are handled by the most modern mutli-rate crystal ball, with hardware error correction. The database is managed by the latest version of dBrain (Dragon's Brain).
Many more systems are also covered, all accessed by clicking on the easy-to-use rate, er, mouse, using the standard Wimp system - Wizards, Icons, Magic and Potions.

By clicking on the various icons, Djel can check up on his status, or even pop out to a different country. This is achieved by playing with an animated icon on the far wall.

A problem presents itself once each new location has been tiresomely loaded from disc. These problems are usually little more than doing the right thing at the right time, but occasionally you are thrust into combat with a hideous monster form another dimension.

Combat may be of a physical or a mental nature. Being a devout coward, when Djel is under my command he always tries to out-think his opponent. This is attempted on a small grid where Djel and his enemy take it in turns to move a playing piece and place blocking moves. Whoever gets totally blocked first, loses.

The other action sequences are far from state-of-the-art. Although the graphics are occasionally wonderful, their animation isn't. It is therefore best to think of them as little breaks from the puzzling side of the adventure.

This is, of course, where it all falls down, because the adventure side is not particularly mind-shattering. The use of the mouse automatically limits the player's actions, and can lead to the very unscientific approach of clicking everything in sight. To try to solve this problem your total number of clicks is limited. What a cop out.

Legend of Djel logo

COKTEL VISION £24.99 * Mouse or joystick

You are Djel, only son of Hokram the ex-chieftan and Esabelle the witch. On their deathbed, their only wish was to be recognised as people with moral fibre, rather than the dodgy, troublemaking magic users that everybody assumed they were. Now's your chance to clear the family honour and make a name for yourself.

The underlying storyline is, simple enough: something is causing mischief amongst the mightier members of your land. Kal the Pauper has had to steal all the crops from your nation in order to live. Azeulisse, the mistress of 100 countries, has had her daughter abducted; and until she is returned, no more children will be born. Finally, Theros, a rather rich magician, has caught a vile skin disease. Until he's rid of it, the plague will spread throughout the length and breadth of the land.

You are not without help, however. Petroy the gnome, faithful companion to Hokram, reckons that he can make a potion for Theors' disease: if he gets the right ingredients. And a useful heirloom inherited from daddy is the mysterious Great Alambic. Put three bats in, add a bit of lead and ten gold coins pop out. If Kal gets enough gold, then his people will leave your crops alone. Another of Hokram's works is a mighty statue of magic. It lets Djel travel wherever he wants, without spending time or cash.

Playing the game is easy. You just move the mouse pointer where you want to go, and click on the button to investigate. Just covering the screen and pressing the button doesn't help. Because the umber of clicks available to you outside your den is limited.

Solving some of the puzzles is easy: such as the magician of the Moving Lands. All you have to do is to change the scenery around until it suits him just right. Then you are given some clues so that you can proceed ever onward with your quest. If you're lucky.

Combat in the game comes in two varieties, mental and physical. Mental is easy enough to understand, because it's just a simple board game of surround. Physical is a damn sight tougher to get to grips with, because you can be any one of three dragons: Fire, Water and Earth. Each is slightly better than another, and you transform between them by moving over crystals. Damaging your opponent is performed by spitting fireballs at them. If it sounds confusing, well it is.


The pictures used in Legend of Djel are quite good, although the quality ranges from good to suspect. Colour strobing is used to indicate that something interesting is going on, which makes you suspect that whoever programmed it wasn't clued up on animation techniques to any extent. The subgames, while competent, don't stretch the Amiga in the least. After some sampled music at the start, the effects are rather puny by today's standards.


If you want a mouse click adventure game, then Legend of Djel is just what the doctor ordered. In terms of appeal or depth, it really doesn't have anything to recommend it, but the puzzling may keep you occupied for a few days.

Legend of Djel logo

Wer wagt es - Rittersmann oder Knapp...? Natürlich keiner von beiden, denn im neuesten Abenteuerspiel des französischen "Tomahawk"-Labels sind einmal mehr deine überragende Fähigkeiten als "Ritter der Maus" gefordert.

Diesmal schlüpft du in die Rolle von Djel, einem Jugendlichen Magier mit beachtlichen Fähigkeiten. Drei Aufgaben gilt es zu lösen: Du sollst die verschwundene Tochter von Azeulisse wiederfinden, in die du ohnehin verknallt bist, du musst Gevatter Kal 'ne Masse Kohle rüberschieben, und schließlich darfst du dem Bleichgesicht Theros einen Heiltrank mixen, damit er nicht mehr aussieht wie ein Zombie.

Zum Dank stellt dir jeder eine Statue auf den Schreibtisch, die beim Anklicken herrlich animiert wird (wirklich sehenswert!). Genau diese Statuen, sowie ein Erbstück deines Vaters (ein gehörnter Adler - wie geschmackvoll!) sind es, die dir per Mausklick die Reise durch die Fantasy-Welt erlauben.

Das geflügelte Untier spuckt nämlich einen "Reiseprospekt" an die Wand, der sämtliche Locations aufzeigt, die im Moment zur Verfügung stehen. Manchmal ist die Auswahl etwas dürftig, da geht's dann eben mit den Statuen weiter.Da dein Gedächtnis anscheinend etwas schwach auf der Brust ist (weniger saufen, gell!), hilft dir hier das Hirn eines Drachen wieder auf die Sprünge, das du vorsorglich auf deinem Schreibtisch aufbewahrst. Es ist quasi das Nachschlagewerk deiner Besitztümer.

Zwei Dinge sind noch von essentieller Wichtigkeit: Zum einen die Kerze - jedes Klicken mit der Maus verbraucht Energie (außer in deiner Behausung) und erzeugt einen Ton unterschiedlicher Höhe. Klingt's hohl wie aus dem Keller, so sind deine magischen Fähigkeiten und, falls du keine weitere Kerze mehr im Rucksack hast, auch dein Leben erschöpft. Zum anderen die Fledermäuse und Bleiblumen, die es zu fangen bzw. finden gilt. Wirft man diese in den "großen Alambic", so spuckt er zehn Goldstücke ins Säckel.

Ein "Uhuu Uhuu" der Eule über der Tür kündigt übrigens Besuch an, und auch ein gelegentlicher Blick zum Fenster ist empfehlenswert...

Die grafische Gestaltung der meisten Screens ist durchwegs gelungen und hebt sich wohltuend vom üblichen Adventure-Einerlei ab.

Auch der Sound, und hier besonders die witzige Titelmelodie, trägt zum atmosphärisch dichten Abenteuer-Spaß bei. Überall gilt es, die Gegend zu erkunden und Rätsel zu lösen, um sich so langsam weiter vorzuarbeiten.

Dabei wird man immer wieder durch animierte Leckerbissen überrascht. So auch bei der Kampfsequenz, in der du, in einen Drachen verwandelt, den Gegner zu bezwingen versuchst. Weniger schön ist, daß der Bildschirmaufbau teilweise recht lange dauert, und das Einfangen der Fledermäuse ausgesprochen mies gelöst wurde. Die absolut lahme Schußfolge macht das Unterfangen zum reinen Glücksspiel.

Dazu läßt sich der Spielstand zwar anhalten, aber nicht abspeichern. Das ist wohl gewollt, aber ganz schön fies, zumal die Kampfsequenzen keineswegs einfach sind. Hier hilft vielleicht ein(e) Freund(in), der/die die Steuerung des zweiten Drachen übernimmt.

Die kleinen Mängel sollten jedoch den Spielspaß an diesem komplett eingedeutschten Adventure nicht entscheidend schmälern. "Legend of Djel" bietet auf jeden Fall einige Stunden stimmungsvolles Rätsellösen! (wh)