Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back, ZX Spectrum

Palace Software‘s Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back is the sequel to the cult hit, Cauldron, released in 1985. Cauldron II was first released for the Commodore 64 in 1986 and this is a conversion of that game. It features gameplay that is quite different to the original Cauldron, although it is essentially still a platform game at its core.

In Cauldron II you control a bouncing pumpkin who is on a quest of vengeance against the “Witch Queen” from the first game. So basically the role of the protagonist has been reversed from Cauldron to Cauldron II, which is quite interesting.

Controlling the bouncing pumpkin, as you explore a large castle, is very difficult. You need to master the art of pushing the joystick (or keys) at the right moment to make the pumpkin bounce in the right direction, and holding down the fire button will either deaden its bounce, or make it bounce higher. Also: bouncing off the correct parts of the scenery is important in governing the direction and velocity of the pumpkin, which basically equates to a control system – and a game – that is maddeningly difficult to most players.

Cauldron II‘s graphics are very appealing, and are nicely-drawn, coloured, and animated. It’s a pity, then, that the game’s designers chose such a difficult style of gameplay to implement.

Cauldron II is still a fun game to play on the Spectrum, and is a good conversion overall, but you can forget about completing the game unless you master the controls. Which will only be possible to the most persistent of players.

More: Cauldron II on Wikipedia
More: Cauldron II on World of Spectrum

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