Willow logo


Take three heroes, add several dwarves, one evil queen and a dash of epic quest and you have got a blockbusting D&D movie, not to mention a potential game licence.

I could tell you the whole story but I'd probably get done under some copyright law, so I will take the relevant stages.

The quest is to save a baby called Elora Danan, who has been born in the (presumably evil) queen's dungeons. You play the part of the Daikini Ehtna who has to save the child by escaping from the dungeons in the first stage presented via a 3D player perspective view. You use a pointer to click on the relevant exits in a room. Linger too long and the guards will catch you. Be careless and you could fall into a trap - definitely one for mapping this level.

The next stage finds our hero Willow in the woods trying to avoid the queen's troops, armed only with his wit and three acorns. It sounds useful but the acorns are magic (they turn troops to stone). Avoid blundering into pits or swamps and try to pick up any extra acorns en route.

When you are out of the woods and emerge at the cross roads, you will find two cages, one containing your mate Madmartigan the other containing Death.

The follows the intermediate stage where the once beautiful Fin Raziel is transformed into a hideous beast thing and can only be transformed back by selecting the right three icons, one at each stage. With thirteen to choose from it is not too easy to get wrong and she or you will end up looking even grimer.

Afterwards come the ice caves which finds Madmartigan and Willow escaping from the snow camp of the evil General Kael. Riding on a shield, utilised as a sled you have to negotiate the ice tunnels, otherwise it is kapowie.

Survived? Good, now you get to fight General Kael at the steps of the Queen's tower. Slash him to ribbons in a fit of swordmanship that makes Zorro look like an amateur. Climb the tower then face the queen. The queen can only be destroyed by a spell, which you have to make up from nine out of the thirteen symbols, and all this before she culls Elora. Can you handle the pace?

Compared to the old Lucasfilm games on the 64 this does not quite come up to standard. The graphics are well put together but poorly executed, and the tune is a Bagpuss theme with an '88 remix, phew.

There will be quite a few people who will be turned on by the prospect of an arcade adventure like this, but I for one am not. But then if it is a puzzling, map-able, lasting challenge you are looking for, this could just be the one for you.

Willow logo

Mindscape, £24.95

As Willow, hero of the game and the movie, you've got to make it through several sections to rescue a baby from the powers of a wicked queen.

First off, as Willow's accomplice, Ethna, you must negotiate a maze of dungeon rooms; lingering in any one place means capture by guards. Outside, as Willow himself, you attempt to cross through treacherous woodland, to reach the crossroads. Once there, you battle with the queen's henchmen and finally attempt to defeat the Queen Bavmorda.

Gordon Houghton The first thing that strikes Willow is that it takes longer to load each section than it does to play. When you do actually manage to get into the game, practically the only thing that influences whether you win or lose is luck. That might be OK for a bout of roulette or Poker maybe, but in a computer game - no way! Avoid it.
Maff Evans Willow has to be one of the nominations of worst Amiga games of all time - it's already one of the worst film licences. Sheer luck counts over skill in most cases. The first section, which should be designed to hold the player's interest, is a weak maze affair. There's no map, but it just takes one wrong move to get captured and that's the end of the game! Graphics are equally disappointing (very basic animation) and the sound is a grating, one channel cacophony called 'music'. That, together with one of the most long-winded loaders ever devised, makes Willow a product to avoid at all costs.
Zzap's Thing: Willow or won't he? Ken D Fish: That joke's crap!