Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Text Adventure In 3 Parts
Author : Simon Maren
Standalone Release(s) : 1990: IT'S MAGIC, <unknown>, £9.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : Unknown
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00 (Assumed)
Instructions currently unavailable.
Review (Electron User) - "Abracadabra!"
IT'S MAGIC, designed for the BBC Micro but working on an Electron with a SLOGGER 64K RAM board, is a two-part adventure set 200 years in the future.
A career as a showbiz personality or pop singer no longer appeals to school-leavers - they see a more attractive future as magicians. But ones more akin to the legendary Merlin than Paul Daniels.
To accomplish this they must join the International Union of Magicians. However, the Union doesn't want a sudden influx of semi-skilled members, so it decided that all prospective candidates would have to earn their nomination by learning the 14 basic spells.
This puts them on the short-list. The handful of successful candidates would be announced at the annual banquet, and only those present would be admitted to the elite band of magicians.
The first part starts at the school gates where you are assaulted by the leader of the Mob. You are told that you must return later to participate in the ritual book-burning ceremony or the Mob will ensure that you never get to the Magicians' Ball.
Your first task is to find your schoolbooks and return for the bonfire so that the Mob won't bother you again, leaving you free to search for spell plaques hidden around a town that boasts a shopping centre, library, police station, wax museum, bad housing and a park.
Provided you remembered to examine the books you will be on the first rung of the ladder. Your next task is to enlist the help of your girlfriend Diane, who wears a Just Seventeen T-shirt, which is a lie 'cos she's only sixteen.
Now you're ready to do your bit for nature conservation, with just rewards, as Woody will save you several times if necessary. But make too many mistakes and he won't bother.
The spells are in capital letters on plaques and to learn them you must read the plaque. The names of each spell is self-explanatory - for example, BOUNCE allows you to jump higher and ALIEN changes you or something into something else.
The emphasis in part one is on learning the spells, the easier ones being used to discover the more elusive ones. At first you may have to use trial and error tactics.
I thoughtlessly cast GRAV without a roof over my head and soon discovered that aliens can't read plaques - at least in the beginning.
Part two begins with you dreaming about Universal Magic. Poor Woody got the chop, but Diane is still with you. As you are no longer a novice your spells are more effective, allowing you to cast while an alien. Unlike the first section, problems must now be solved in a precise order.
The map can be split into three sections: Up to the wood, the brick building complex and, the countryside and banquet hall. It's easy to find a quick way back to the brick building, but a slightly less obvious method of returning to the asylum.
The loading screen for part one could damage your eyesight, but part two has an animated picture of a wizard. Pressing the Spacebar a few times sends him into manic mode. The programming is very user-friendly and inputs such as ASK DIANE FOR HELP are understood as are multiple commands separated by a full stop or comma.
Perhaps the most useful command to begin each part are words which give a list of verbs used. Don't despair if this isn't enough as a very comprehensive help sheet is available if you send an sae to Central Computing. In part one STATUS reminds you which spells you know and can cast safely, as well as any that are active.
Part two replaces this with an indication of whether the location is inside or outside. Most adventurers are familiar with the save and load to tape facility, but not so recognisable are the store and recall commands.
They're rare on the Electron and BBC Micro, but commonplace on other micros, and allow you to save your current position giving instant recall. It's amazing how audacious this makes your adventuring.
IT'S MAGIC has taken more than three years to write on a BBC Micro using the machine's built-in assembler - which is identical to the Electron's.
Simon Maren has written an absorbing adventure about enterprising youth. Stubbornly refusing to be conformist, his storyline and quirky puzzles are refreshingly original, often with a sideways swipe at more conventional adventures.
* * * Second Opinion * * * (Electron User)
This one is well worth a try. The two parts give you a chance to practise on an easier level, and well thought out puzzles will tax the old grey matter and give you hours of fun.
Sound ........................... 6
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability ................... n/a
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 9
ELECTRON USER 7. 7