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1985
Adventure: Graphic
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

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27
Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Finders Keepers was the game that proved that budget need not mean cheap and nasty. While it lacked state of the art graphics it was playable way beyond its £1.99 price tag. Now here's David Jones again, with our old friend Magic Knight, and a far better looking game, but at a higher price. A whole pound more! Questions will be asked in the House because, despite the 50 per cent price increase..., this is probably even better value!

Now we are talking larger sprites, though with no loss charm; more detailed settings, with less of the platforms element, and a far more complex game but one that is wonderfully playable.

At the heart of Spellbound are the nested menus, summoned by Fire. Using them you can pick up, drop, examine, read, interact with characters, throw things.... in fact there seems to be an option for virtually every situation! Just as in a traditional adventure you spend a lot of time searching for objects. You'll always need to check what you're carrying because many things contain clues. The speed of the menu system makes this almost effortless. And it won't take long to discover that some objects, however fishy they may seem, can be very helpful!

But to the plot. As Magic Knight, you have to enter the castle of that mad, bad mage, Gimbal who has got his necromancy in a twist once again. And as well as trapping himself in a soul bleaching spell, he's taken seven other highly individual characters with him. You must free them as well as the incompetent illusionist before time runs out. This is all presented with a wonderful selection of logical puzzles and humorous touches and even the odd bit of arcade action thrown in for good measure.

It doesn't take the Crystal Ball I found in the lift to predict that this will be at least as big a success as Jones the Programmer's previous chart topper. But the really crucial puzzle I still can't solve is.... how do they do it at the price?

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