Yeah, but you’re no Gandalf.
DEVELOPER: Eurocom Entertainment Software
RELEASE DATE: February 1991
Every step you take in Magician feels like it could be your last. Should you cast the wrong spell in the wrong area, stop playing the game for more than five seconds, or even talk to a person who doesn’t like your face, you’re dead. And if you didn’t save beforehand, you have to start at the beginning. The latter sounds like a no-brainer, but you only have fifteen saves for the entire game. Conserving your saves is essential, but if you’ve never played the game, you might not know where the best place is to save. Since Magician is long and incredibly challenging, it goes without saying that, if you want to battle Abadon, the evil wizard who needs a good thrashing, an FAQ/old Nintendo Power is required.
So what’s the thrust of Magician? The controls, mostly. Get the hang of the controls, mixing and matching spells, and you might have a shot at getting out of the first town. To talk to people, you have to press ‘Up’ when they pass by. ‘A’ is for casting spells, ‘B’ is for using items, and to select a certain spell or item, you have to press ‘Select’ to scroll through it on your menu. Sounds easy enough, but the configuration takes some getting used to. It’s also not fun trying to navigate between a lightning spell and a shield spell while fighting a particularly difficult enemy.
Magician is unique, in that it combines the feel of a point-and-click adventure with an RPG. Talking to people, buying a ton of food (you have to keep an eye on your food and water, and if you get dehydrated or starve, you die – different from the health meter), using the correct item at the correct place, all gives a point-and-click feel, while casting spells and walking around towns reek of an ancient Western computer RPG. I admire Magician for its unique approach, but while I don’t like to be coddled in my games, I’m also not a masochist. To me, the difficulty of Magician doesn’t outweigh the reward one would get by beating it all the way through. If you like your games served with a side of crotch-crunch, then Magician has you covered.