Sorcery Plus logo

SORCERY Plus is a souped-up version of an old, but in time very popular game. The original Sorcery was written for 8 bit machines, and I'm afraid it shows. In both sound and graphics, Sorcery Plus is really quite effective but it is a different story where gameplay and depth are concerned. There simply isn't enough variety or meat in it.

The game is set in the Dark Ages where, as usual, a nasty necromancer is causing havoc, having trapped all the sorcerers of the land and loosed various horrors to do their worst. As a small fellow wizard, it is your job to clear the kingdom of this blight and blighter.

The action is divided into two parts. IN the first, you must free all the imprisoned sorcerers, while the second, an additional scenario to the original 8 bit game, involves you in a seek and destroy mission, the necromancer being the main target.

The game is basically a puzzle-cum-collect 'em arcade adventure. Your sorcerer gets to fly around a large number of two-dimensional screens, entrance to each of which is gained by passing through one of the small doors placed (usually) in the corners.

To open a locked door, you need to pick up one of the keys scattered around the place. Certain keys can be used to release the captives. There is a large assortment of weapons, each of which can only be used once. Your sorcerer can carry but one object at a time - grabbing a fresh one causes the current item to be dropped.

The main interest lies in discovering which objects do what, and because of this trial and error element you'll spend a lot of time flying backwards and forwards between locations.

To make things more difficult, a host of bizarre monsters infests the land; contact with any of them drains your energy. Weapons are the solution to this harassment. Water is another hazard - you can fall in and drown - and a time limit on the game means you can't dawdle.

Graphically the game is attractive, although the animation is pretty basic, and sampled spot sound effects - thunder crashes, creaking doors and satisfied sighs - liven up the fun. However, although there are plenty of screens, objects and puzzles, the gameplay is all much of a muchness - collect and fly, fly and collect - and soon becomes less than engrossing.

The chances are that, despite its good points, you'll either solve Sorcery Plus quickly or tire of it within a fortnight. This is a good game but not good enough in today's company.

Sorcery Plus logo

Virgin Games, £19.99 disk

Long ago, in the days of dark castles and magic, a pretty warped head honcho decided that he wanted to be the master necromancer. To ensure success, he decided to make sure all the other sorcerers couldn't combine their power and thwart his plans. Killing them would let them join their souls and become a powerful joint consciousness, so instead he has imprisoned them all over the realm, guarded by various minions in the shape of demons, ghosts, Maff Evanses and other fiendish apparitions.

You are a magician who has managed to evade capture and is duty bound to set things right. You've got to enter the realm and release the captured sorcerers, and then face the might of the necromancer himself!

Gordon Houghton Groogly! Behind Sorcery's nice graphics and spooky sound effects is one of the most unplayable games I've seen for ages. For a start, you only get one diminishing energy bar to see through your mission, and as soon as you enter a screen the monsters home in on you, unimpeded by such petty details as solid walls. After four or five screens you're wizardburgers! Maybe in that time you'll have had a chance to bump off three or four spooks, but that's as far as it gets - there's hardly any chance to use objects to solve puzzles or rescue other wizards! For frustration-mongers or geeks in high tax brackets only.
Maff Evans The reports I heard of the original Sorcery were 'unfabourable', and it looks like things haven't improved since then. Even with a more powerful machine to work with, Virgin have still managed to come up with a slab of unplayable drivel under the name Sorcery Plus. Expectations are high on seeing the impressive title screen, but on playing the game we find that the programmers have forgotten something rather important: the gameplay. Whipping from screen to screen unavoidably crashing into monsters which continually sap your non-restorable energy is not my idea of enjoyment. A warning to arcade adventurers: DON'T BUY SORCERY PLUS!
Zzap's Ken D Fish: Hi folks! Yep! It's Ken! That's me! You know me from Bros. Zzap's Nose