Spellbound, ZX Spectrum

Not the excellent David Jones Magic Knight adventure game from Mastertronic Added Dimension, but the atrocious Q*Bert clone from Beyond Software.

Spellbound was released for the 48K ZX Spectrum in 1984, and – frankly – it’s a very poor game. Having looked at two decent Spectrum Q*Bert clones recently (Pogo and Pi-Balled) I was interested to find some bad examples on the Spectrum, and Spellbound fits the bill perfectly.

The controls are horribly unresponsive, and this is made worse by the fact that the witch – in the top left-hand corner of the screen – stops the game dead every time she casts a lightning bolt. Which is often, because she does this whenever one of her minions drops off the bottom of the screen and reappears at the top again. So you end up pushing the keys/joystick, in the vain hope that the main character is going to move again, until you end up pushing him off-screen to his doom… And, when you do that, you not only lose a life, but you have to start the entire screen again from scratch. This is not only terrible programming, but also really bad design, and it makes Spellbound far more annoying than it should be.

On top of that the graphics are all UDGs (user-Defined Graphics) and move in blocks, rather than by pixel, so are not at all smooth.

As Q*Bert clones go: this one is the pits. Avoid it at all costs. Spellbound (NOT the Magic Knight game!) should be consigned to the dustbin of history, forthwith!

More: Spellbound on World of Spectrum

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