Bulldog is a new label just set up by Mastertronic, and like its parent company. it will specialise in budget games - all its releases are to be priced at £1.99. Feud is the launch game and the player is taken into the world of magic, engaging another wizard in one-to-one combat.
The story begins in a far away land. Two wizard brothers, Learic and Leanoric, start an argument - the quarrel escalates, and the kinsmen begin a feud in which they fight with spells. The player takes control of Learic and the computer assumes the role of his brother. Both brothers are well versed in the arts of necromancy, and set out to demonstrate their skills on each other.
Learic and Leanoric concoct their spells by travelling round the flip-screen landscape, collecting rare herbs and roots from the countryside. Herbs are collected by walking over them, and when the appropriate ingredients have been gathered, the wizard needs to return to his cauldron and start a brew to actually make the spell. When the ingredients are mixed, the charm is added to the wizard's armoury.
Each of the dozen spell potions require two herbal ingredients, and the recipes are contained in a leather-bound book. Pages from this magical manual are displayed In a window at the bottom of the main screen: pressing FIRE and the direction keys turns the pages of the tome. A spell cannot be cast until the specified herbs have been picked up, taken to the cauldron that rests outside Learic's hut and brewed into a spell.
The effects of spells range from making Learic invisible, to creating zombies, shooting lightning bolts and teleporting around the countryside. Some last for only one blast, whereas others (the teleport spell for instance) endure for some time. When the power of a spell potion is exhausted, the colours of the spell's Ingredients on the recipe page return to black. Most spells don't require special expertise to cast, but some of the more important and dangerous ones (such as the Fireball spell) need to be practised before they work perfectly.
Your opponent, Leanoric, is not idle while you quest for ingredients - he stomps around the leafy glades collecting herbs and roots and concocts his own spells. A compass below the playing area shows Leanoric's position. If for instance, he is advancing on you from the south, the south point of the compass lights up. Leanoric freezes for a split second when he joins your wizard on a screen - an ideal moment to zap him with a spell.
Statues in the status area represent the two magicians, and when a wizard casts a spell successfully the victim's statue slides a little deeper into the ground. The magician whose statue disappears first has lost the feud, owing to a terminal lack of energy.
Control keys: Q up, A down, O left, P right, SPACE fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: very pretty with little clash
Graphics: large, well-animated figures, and attractive settings
Sound: no title tune, but good spot effects
Skill levels: one
'If all of the Bulldog games are going to be up to this standard, then The Best Of British label can look forward to a prosperous future. Just as I was getting bored with all the budget arcade adventures that have been coming out lately, Feud comes into the office and changes my mind completely. The graphics are, without doubt, this program's most astounding feature. They are extremely colourful, large, and very detailed. All this without a hint of colour clash. Mastertronic have launched their label in the best possible way - fabulous!'
'Feud is really good! The graphics are pleasing; things like the river and the gardens could have been made more realistic, but the effect is still there. The gameplay is packed, and the fun doesn't end once you've found the spells! The fact that your brother constantly follows you around keeps everything moving at a frantic pace; when you think you've got him on the run, he heals himself - Aargh! For £1.99, Feud is excellent value for money. Can we expect more like this from the Bulldog label? I hope so...'
'What a way to kick off a new label! Feud is completely brilliant. I love original games, so it is a real pleasure to see a cheapie that's as 'new' in concept as this - and as playable. I haven't been able to force myself to play anything else today. The graphics are very good. The screens flip annoyingly, but the detail of the backgrounds and the superb animation of the characters make up for this. There is no music on the title screen, but the effects are fairly good. Your life won't be complete without Feud, especially at the price.'
Deep in the forest, something stirred. The situation was at boiling point. Two wizards had got into a stew and put the villagers into a right old pickle. Simmer down, I'll soon get over these half-baked, oven-ready pans - sorry, puns, ch(i)ef.
Learic and Leanoric are involved in a spelling contest - using real spells! - so they'll need lots of herbs to give them power. Now the yokels don't mind the fireballs and lightning flashes - after all, they've got that nuclear power station just down the coast - but the absence of herbs has made their cooking terribly bland.
Still, culinary considerations mean nothing to L 'n' L as they proceed to give each other 'ell. They wander high and low, and even round in circles, because one side of the village links up with the other, which must make navigating tricky for tourists who're just passing through.
But you'll be clever enough to make a map, won't you, because this is an a-maze-ing place and the screen flips make getting lost simplicity itself! Every second counts, so you'll need to know where your cauldron lies when you get a pair of herbs to work that old black magic!
You can only mix spells to add to your spell book at your very own pot, so rush back there to arm yourself. Stand above it and press fire and hey presto, you've got the force. Spell selection is clever too. Use right and left with fire pressed to scroll through the list, then release fire to activate.
Once you think you're well-enough armed, you can go looking for Leanoric, and don't dawdle because he'll also come after you, and he has a trick up his sleeve that you've not perfected - he can teleport to your vicinity.
There's quite a lot of strategy involved, even once you've got the map of where to find the herbs. You have to create certain spells almost immediately to stand any chance of success. It's not giving too much away to suggest that you make Teleport a priority.
The game may appear rather slow, because much of the time you're wandering alone through the beautifully drawn countryside. But the race for herbs soon becomes tense, particularly when you find yourself and your arch-rival in the same screen, chasing for a bloom! A clever piece of arcade strategy, at a budget price, and that's feud for thought!
I never was much good at gardening. I don't know, put me in a plot of plants, and I couldn't tell a geranium from a gerbil.
I suppose if you haven't got green fingers, you haven't got green fingers. Now supposed you're a wizard, and that wizardry is the way you make your living. To be any good at it, you need to have an odd spell or two in your book (after all what good is a wiz with no spells, its like playing a guitar with no strings!)
Most spells can be made by mixing certain herbs together in your special magic cauldron (you keep abreast of the latest recipe by watching Grey Beards TV show, a sort of magic users Delia Smith) but the problem is finding the blessed things. Herbs just cannot be grown by any old bod, you need skill. So to be a good wizard, you have to be a good gardener.
Unfortunately, in Feud you're not. There is this rival wizard who fancies himself as the local main man, and is naturally out to get you. What you have to do is run around the locale, visiting other people's gardens, and pinching their herbs. When you have collected a good bunch, you need too rush back to your cauldron, and mix them to make the spells that will do it to him before he does it to you.
The graphics really are very pretty, with a mixture of terrain from woodland to huts to rivers to mazes, and believe me you don't get long before old Leanoric comes after you.
Apart from the two main wizard characters there are a number of villagers roaming around disguised as Dick Whittingtons, and Farmer Giles. These poor souls can be turned into zombies by zapping them with the right spell, and they can then chase after old Leanoric on your behalf.
A very simple game, yet addictive, and tricky to complete, with great graphics and happily no colour clash.
But what, I hear you ask, is the point of it all. Well two points, really. One is that you get to be main man/wiz in the kingdom, and the other is it gives you a crash course on becoming a better gardener.
Reviewer: Andy Moss
VERSION TESTED: Spectrum/Amstrad
It's magic! Feud, the first release on the new Bulldog label will cast a spell on you. It's a battle between two weird wizards - each out to become the chief Wiz. You play Learic up against Leonoric a particularly evil looking red robed wizard who simply wants to destroy you.
To become the top Wiz you have to explore the surrounding countryside and find ingredients for spells which when mixed in your cauldron form spells which you can use to wipe out your brother.
Brother?! Yeah, Leonoric is your brother - who once turned you into a frog. No wonder there's no brotherly love occurring here!
Your spells are shown in a spell book at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. The ingredients you've collected are highlighted in red. Highlight two ingredients on the same page - Dandelion and Burdock for instance - and you can dash back to your cauldron to mix them.
Only when you've done this will you be able to activate the spell and use it against your opponent.
Leonoric is a real meanie who always seems to get his spells together so much quicker than you. Fortunately you have a compass which shows you where your opponent is - but often you'll need to be where he is in order to pick the herbs or flowers you need for your special brews.
You can dodge Leonoric's deadly fireballs or bolts of lightning - but it's better to attempt to avoid him if possible.
Another guy to avoid is Hieke the Gardener who can drain your energy on contact. He'll also chase you around his garden which you have to enter to get more ingredients. It's a good idea to get together the invisibility spell before you attempt to brave the garden. You'll need Chondrilla and Hemlock for that. Sounds like a strange cocktail you find in dodgy wine bars.
You will also come across villagers and travellers who can be turned into Zombies and forced to obey your commands.
Feud reminded me a bit of Sorcery in atmosphere - although its more of a Sabre Wulf-ish style game. Especially the Spectrum version.
The Amstrad graphics are extremely pretty and both versions and the Amstrad game have neat hip-hop soundtrack which strangely fits in well with the game.
Brilliant value at £1.99 - you shouldn't fail to add Feud to your collection NOW!
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