Sorcery Plus, Amstrad CPC

Sorcery Plus is an expanded version of the best-selling Amstrad game Sorcery, catering for 128K disk-based machines and featuring new rooms and other enhancements. It was developed by Gang of Five and published by Virgin Games in 1985.

You control one of the last nine remaining sorcerers and must rescue the other eight who have been imprisoned by an evil necromancer. For each sorcerer you rescue you receive an increase in power, and you need all eight to make you powerful enough to challenge the necromancer at the end. You have a limited amount of time in which to do this, which is represented by a book that slowly erodes away.

You fly around from screen to screen, using common items to fight enemies (like swords, maces, axes, and spells) and using doors to travel from one location to another. Some doors require a specific item to open, which you have to work out as you progress. To open the doors to free the imprisoned sorcerers you usually need a specific magical item like a spell book or a magic wand, all of which are located somewhere in the maze of rooms.

Your sorcerer guy has just one life and a limited amount of energy. Contact with enemies depletes this energy, but you can find cauldrons to fill it back up (although I did find one cauldron that actually did the reverse, and depleted his energy, so it’s worth paying attention and remembering which are poisonous). Falling into water will immediately end the game, so you need to avoid that happening at all costs.

Sorcery is a fast-moving memory game, really. You have to remember which items open specific doors; which weapons kill which enemies, as well as remembering the route through the maze to get to the items you need to free the sorcerers. At first the game is confusing and difficult, but as you slowly figure out what to do you’ll find yourself progressing further.

Sorcery originated on the ZX Spectrum (1984, by Martin Wheeler) and is definitely from the early days of video gaming, when gameplay was super simple and often frustrating, but the kernel of the idea of this game is a good one and Sorcery Plus on the Amstrad is arguably the best version of it. The game contains the original Sorcery (with enhancements), plus a second chapter that is only accessible after completing the first.

More: Sorcery Plus on Moby Games

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