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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

MAGIC MEANS mystery and computers can make it even more baffling.

If you do not have a friend who belongs to the Magic Circle, then Magic could put you on the illusory road to stardom. The package contains a booklet, showing the history of magic with some tricks, and all the software you need to produce a show.

When you load the package make sure that you do not have a joystick interface connected to your computer. The rehearsal part of the game will not work if a joystick is connected, although the instruction booklet does not reveal that problem.

You are then asked for a password. The reason for that, so the publisher says, is to stop unauthorised entry to your arcane secrets. The code, however, is so easy to crack that it's laughable and I'm sure you could guess what it is by the time you finish reading this review.

Once through the code you must enter your stage name. I use 'Gilbo' as the computer will only allow you to enter a short name.

You are then confronted with a screen offering Tricks, Sequence and Show. The first option displays a series of nine tricks including 'Magic Birthday,' 'Think of a Card' and 'Total Bemusement.' First you should view the instructions, then look at the tips for presentation and go to rehearsal.

The sequence option on the menu is used to put a show together. All the tricks are listed on a sub-menu together with three pieces of music which can be played between performances.

At last, your chance at stardom arrives. You have practised all the tricks, prepared your patter and rehearsed until your eyes hurt. You press the star key and the computer announces you: Welcome to the Gilbo Magic Show.

It's le crunch time as the curtain sweeps back and your first trick appears. Your audience sits before the computer as you take them through the first trick. At least you can't drop a clanger by dropping your props.

The applause - you hope - covers the music but you are too keyed up to notice and go on to your next trick. Soon the show is over, the curtain closes and That's All Folks' appears on the screen.

You've either made it or blown it but, either way, you will have enjoyed Magic. The tricks incorporated with the package could be presented in a book but the computer has the advantage of allowing you to see the trick performed and to be able to rehearse it in front of an electronic audience.

Although the tricks in the software package are simple and self-working they are just as surprising in their denouement as some of the more difficult illusions shown in the accompanying book. If you are interested in the practical side of magic you will enjoy this offering.

John Gilbert

Publisher: Macmillan
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K