Expelled from the land of Belom 103 years ago, Acamantor the dark mage has returned. And in this sequel to Firebird's highly-regarded chart-topping Druid (90% Overall in Issue 35), the druid Hasrinaxx once again takes up the fight against the demon prince, travelling to Acamantor's tower to vanquish the nefarious necromancer forever.
Hasrinaxx begins his quest near the village of Ishmar, and must traverse nine multidirectionally-scrolling lands as well as five levels of Acamantor's tower, threatened all the way by fire, water and his dark enemy's hordes.
The druid's protection comes from power bolts and the 25 different spells which he can pick up and use against the swarming enemies, though their own magic powers can make his life difficult. Some spells are ineffective on particular demons, so it's a case of working out which spell to shoot at whom.
If things get tough, Hasrinaxx can create an 'elemental' to help influence the battle. This large and lumbering creature is controlled either by another player or with a key which can set it on WAIT, FOLLOW or SEND (to send it ahead of Hasrinaxx). The elemental protects Hasrinaxx by stomping on attackers till its magic powers we exhausted.
Most of the screen in Enlightenment - Druid II is taken up by the scrolling display of Hasrinaxx's quest. A panel below shows incoming messages as well as the Druids inventory and details of the elemental in use.
When all the Druid's energy has disappeared and the game has ended, his efforts are rated according to how much of the quest was solved. Orc Breath is the lowest of the 14 ratings, and the title of Overlord is awarded when the wicked Acamantor is finally destroyed.
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: small and monochromatic but neat
Sound: minimal effects and no music
Options: one or two players
'The reduced graphics of Enlightenment - Druid II crowd the small playing area, and single-colour screens add to the confusion. There also seems to be some confusion in the inlay about druids - the ancient priests weren't Christians, so why does this one have a crucifix?'
BYM ... 58%
'This feels very similar to its predecessor, though it's nice not getting stuck in the playing area. Roaming around new territory and finding and casting spells is still great fun, and there are some good new features, but though Enlightenment - Druid II is well above average it doesn't match the original.'
BEN ... 80%
'Druid was good fun because of its originality (on the Spectrum, at least), but sadly Enlightenment - Druid II doesn't expand on the theme. The basic graphics are still recognisable, but smaller and less adventurous, and boredom soon rears its head because there's so much walking around with very little to do.'
PAUL ... 65%
Admit it: how often have sequels failed to match the originals? That's right - far too many. I missed the first Druid, but this particular "Part 2" is such fun that if the prequel is better, I shall buy it yesterday. (Eh? Ed)
Enlightenment wasn't inspired by a book, a film or a 50-part Readers Digest serialisation. No, it was inspired by Gauntlet instead. Our hero is a druid. (Wot, did you gather that from the title by any chance? Well be patient, will ya?) Acamantor has returned after 103 years (so that's when Druid was released) and Hasrinaxx the Druid must seek him out once again in his tower. Dotted within the lands of Belorn are spells - 32 of the blighters - which Hasnnaxx must cast to aid his battle against the living dead and the evil elementals.
Hazza - that's to say, you - can carry only eight spells at one time so you must choose which you need wisely. If you've reached your limit, you can always come back later (assuming you survive) or forfeit one, which makes for tough decisions as they're all useful, and once gorn, they're gorn forever. But use the little grey cells - cast a Waterwall against watery adversaries and they'll love you to death for it!
Only one of the four elementals may be used as your servant at any one time - you can either boss them about with the three commands Wait, Follow or Send, or you can control them properly with the joystick (if you're willing, or course, to leave Hasrinaxx a sitting target). A useful trick if you're low on energy and with-out a banquet spell is to block yourself into a corner with your elemental (oo-er) and just wait.
Although hard to tell from the booklet, it would appear that if you cast the White Orb spell against Acamantor in the tower, you win the game. The word used is "properly" - I'll leave you to find out exactly what this means.
Colour could have been better used in the monochromatic scenes since characters often get lost in the shadows. Nevertheless, Enlightenment is a wizard wheeze (sorry) (Yes, so are we. You're fired. Ed) that should keep you going well into winter and beyond.
I'm not even going to attempt to explain the storyline behind Firebird's Druid sequel, Enlightenment, because it's so hopeless. Lots of the: "he uttered two words of mystical Druid chant" type of tosh, in fact.
All you really need to know is that you are up against your old mate Acamantor who's back in town after a hundred-year sulk from the last time you kicked him out. You've got to find the entrance to his dungeon, and get down there through all the bad guys.
I suppose I'd better explain what the Druid games are like. Superficially, they're a bit Gauntlet (Oh noooooo! - a nation protests) but the graphics are better defined and the gameplay is quite different.
Moving around is dead simple (in theory) - left, right and up and down. Like Druid, the Enlightenment screen is drawn in that rather irritating style of semi-plan view. Instead of being shown merely the top of the objects in the maze, you get to see the top and some of the side nearest to the bottom of the screen, if you know what I mean. This means that while it looks more appealing, it can be a right chore walking around, trying to work out whether you can squeeze between the fence and the tree.
The little devils in question come in a number of shapes and sizes. Acamantor seems to be able to control just about anything in the land of Belorn and use it for his evil purposes.
Even innocent looking shrubs and trees will spring to life as you walk past and scuttle after you, waving their branches in a menacing manner. If you come into close proximity of any of the nasties, your energy will be drained. When it reaches zero - you're kaput.
You can defend yourself in two ways.
You can shoot a fairly weedy looking lightning bolt which will knock off the bad guys after a number of strikes which vary from one to about seven. Your electrical energy is obviously limited, so it's no use shooting off bolts all over the place and leaving yourself so weak that you can't defend yourself.
And, being a Druid, you can cast a number of spells once you've 'learned' them. There are about thirty spells, and while you can only remember eight at a time, if you select a sensible mixture of offensive, obstructive and medicinal magics, you can become quite a force to be reckoned with.
As well as the run-of-the-mill Death Touch and Invisibility spells, you can conjure up an elemental of varying specifications to guard you or run errands. Depending on what environmental conditions you find yourself facing, you'll have to choose an appropriate Elemental. There's no point bringing up a watery Elemental if it's boiling hot, as it'll just frazzle away.
The graphics of the first level are actually very disappointing. The colours used are really quite bad - yellow and blue, and the whole affair looks quite low-rent. Later levels, however (there are ten above-ground and five dungeon levels) look great, and the style of graphics changes quite dramatically to give the impression of different landscapes. There are icy wastes, strange woodlands, deserts and the village of Ishmar, where you begin the game.
Gameplay-wise, Enlightenment is great. You move quickly and easily (with the exception of the tree problems mentioned earlier) and you have just enough time to juggle your spells and choose which to employ before the enemy catches up with you. It's possible to wander around for some time getting a feel of the game without actually having to solve many problems.
So what do we have then? Another Gauntlet? No, Druid was only really similar in theme. Enligtenment is a rather classy sequel to a fairly innovative game. A corker.
Author: Dene Carter, Brian Pollock
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Amstrad, £8.95cs, £12.95dk
Best of the Gauntlet derivatives as the druid copes with the forces of evil. In both games the druid is equipped with a number of spells for zapping enemies or causing other effects. In the original game one of the spells creates a sidekick called Golem - the second player.
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