THE WITCHING HOUR...
Double, double toil and trouble:
Fire, burn; and, cauldron, bubble.
Take a dash of a Defender style shoot'em up, add a splash of an arcade adventure, throw in a handful of platform screens and top up with some magic graphics. Stir vigorously and you've got a rich brew from Palace Software called Cauldron that aims to have you bewitched, bothered and bewildered.
And now for a surprise bonus. On the reverse side of the Cauldron tape, appears the Spectrum version of The Evil Dead. It wasn't meant to be there but somehow the gremlins must've crept in at the duplicators. So, dare you risk the evil curse and play the game? Well, you could do worse than give it a go. But the real problem is that there aren't any instructions. A bit of a dead loss, you could say, but panic not, 'cos here at YS we've sussed the plot of this computer nasty.
You play the part of Ashly, shacked up on holiday with a group of friends deep in the Tennessee Woodlands. Cheryl, Linda, Scott and Shelly are clean cut ail-American kids who just happen to change into ghastly green mutants when they over-indulge with the spirit - Evil spirit, of course. Your aim at the beginning is to keep the evil one out of the shack by rushing round closing all the windows. When that fails as it inevitably does - well, you can't keep a good ghost down - you'll have to try and kill 'em with the weapons scattered round the shack. These will give you differing amounts of energy which you'll lose when you attack an enemy but your points will increase. Only when you've enough points will the Book of the Evil Dead ('a jolly good read' Daily Mirror. "Dead boring' Your Spectrum) appears - throw it straight on the fire in the main room and you'll have defeated the curse forever. Dead easy, really.
The Evil Dead - a touch of corn with a Jolly green giant!
Tomorrow is the big day of the year for witches - it's Hallowe'en and you've got a lot to do if you're to be chosen as the Witch Queen.
All aboard your broomstick and take to the skies. From up above you have to search out and collect the colour-coded keys that'll let you enter the corresponding doorways.Even though the graphics are excellent, the animation isn't exactly flicker-free and as for the scrolling - ugh! You have to wait for the screen to scroll onto the next one before your witch can enter it.You're only allowed to land on the grated areas at the bottom. If you miss them the old hag does a midair spin and loses another life.Here's your witch's den where you're mixing up a rather unusual cocktail in your cauldron. Trouble is six ingredients don't really make everyone's idea of a thirst-Quenchin', lip-smackin' drink - d'you fancy imbibing toad, newt, bat, hemlock root, bone and lava from the Smoking Island? ' (Mmmm, make mine a double! Ed)
A word of warning - on this level your up/down controls are disabled. Left and right stay the same but the fire button now lets you jump.
Collect the object in the underground screens, then make a clean sweep on your broomstick straight back to your hut. Then, brew it up with the rest of the dodgy doin's. Once all six are in the pot, get to the pumpkin hall and go for the giant pumpkin.Don't tread on the bottom of any of the underground screens - you may never walk again. All your movements must be from platform to platform, so judge your jumps with care.There are moving platforms in most of the underground levels. Judge your jump very carefully and if you don't go in the same direction you'll be tossed away.Take extra care when jumping onto these platforms. They're not safe! If you go too close to the edge you're liable to get vertigo and go tumbling down.