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1987
Arcade: Maze
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Firebird BleepLoad

48
Duncan MacDonald
Chris Bourne

To squeeze Gothik into an introductory nutshell, it's a view from above, dashabout collecting/zapping maze game. It's Gauntlet with knobs on. Lot's of knobs in fact - and jolly super knobs they are too!!

At start of play you choose to be either Olga or Olaf, Vikings both, (she being handier at magic, he better in the old duffing up department). It transpires that your master, the Grand Wizard, has been taken prisoner and is being held in the Dark Castle of the Evil Lord. It's worse than that though, ("Crikey, things are bad then?"). 'Fraid so, spec-chums - the Evil Lord's only gorn and split him into six parts, each being hidden on a different floor within the castle complex. To top it all the Evil Lord himself (for it is he), is guarding the wizard's robe on the highest floor of the castle. Phew. And you know what you've got to do, don't you?? You've got to collect all the wizards squidgy bits and reunite them with his robe. Bleeurghh!!!

The castle is made up of four towers, each seven stories high, making four separate, (and large) playing areas per level. Each playing area, (or tower) has a teleport that'll send you to one of the other three towers on the level you're currently on (gasp). Got it??

As I said, it's a view from above in the Gauntlet/Dandy vein, with the playing areas being monochrome vertical/horizontal scrollers (in other words no sudden 'crikey where am I' flip-screens). Sooo, you zwoom about the mazes picking up stamina, ammunition, magic and various other bonus icons, whilst zapping/avoiding the many nasties until, hopefully, you'll find a shield. Once you've got this, you'll be allowed to go and kill the monster that's guarding one of the wizards wibbly bits. When you have the wibbly bit, you can go up to the next level.

Anyway, that's the basic formula as you travel up; except the nasties get nastier. By level three things are already getting well squiffy!

You know I said that this was Gauntlet with knobs on? - well here they are: Six Magic Relics, a brillo weapons system and thirty two (count them - thirty two), different magic potions to take.

The six Magic Relics ('Ring of invisibility' f'rinstance), are scattered through the first three levels and can be tricky to find. Once found though, they're yours for keeps (well, until you get killed). Working in different ways they all, basically, stop the nasties from attacking you and can be toggled on or off at will - but they don't half drain your magic energy.

The magic potions are bunged about all over the place, (at random I might add). There's zwillions of 'em. Truth is, that you don't know which of the thirty-two different types you're going to get until you've picked them up. They then take effect immediately and last for about a minute. There's one that speeds you up, one that slows you down, one that makes your joystick control go all wibbly, one that turns the lights off, one that... but we could be here all day; suffice to say there are lots and they're not all helpful.

The weapons system gives you three zap-modes to toggle between - arrows, lightning-bolts and energy-bombs. Arrows behave in, erm, an 'arowlike' manner - they travel in a straight line in the direction you're facing. Lightning-bolts bounce off the walls and zap about all over the place - even when they're off the screen (you can hear the nasties being fried). The Energy Bombs are the most powerful, though. You can select the ferocity of the blast, from a puny femto-sizzler, to a mighty wall-vapourising ker-bloom!!

All this icon toggling and weapon selecting takes place on the status/display screen, which you can get whenever you want by pressing the space key. As well as showing your various energy levels and position in the castle, it also serves as a pause mode. Phew! Thank goodness for that.

Anyway: Gothik! Aaaaahh. A peach of a game. It's fast. It's furious. It's also something of a first. It's the first time I've doshed out on a megagame. Oh dear. Time, methinks, for one of my incredibly brilliant jokes.

Q: What's the difference between a Viking and a potato.? A: Weight for weight, potatoes have a marginally higher starch content.

Gauntlet with knobs on. A big, bulging, throbbing, zappabout maze game with bonus wibbly bits bunged on - it's great!

9/10
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9/10