Forced from his village and dispossessed of his powers by evil, an old wizard is left to wander in the wilds, rejected and despised. But slowly, so slowly, wizardry begins to trickle once more through his narrowing veins, filling him a with new-found confidence. Returning to his home village he vows to restore his lost powers to their full vigour and take revenge upon the evil force that vanquished him.
The village is now inhabited by loathsome birds and malevolent dwarfish entities, hungry for the wizard's four lives.
The red energy spheres that occasionally appear can be collected to replenish these reserves, but imprudent wizardly wanderings into the chasms, de-energising areas, and water pits that rupture the roads quickly deplete them again as the wizard struggles for survival.
Our be-cloaked warlock can protect his ancient bones with his basic energy spell: this magic destroys some creatures, but others are merely stung into temporary retreat.
The wizard progresses through his village world using a series of teleporters. Objects that he comes across can add to his magical capabilities or increase his powers of attack, and with these new strengths the wizard can battle his way through the possessed village, an onscreen indicator showing how much of this strange world he has completed.
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: very ornate but a bit jerky
Options: definable keys
'Outcast is addictive and fun. Perhaps it's because I never get very far with each life that I want another go; perhaps it's the smooth graphics, moving at the right pace; perhaps it 's even the easy-to-understand gameplay; whatever it is, I find Outcast very worthwhile.'
BEN ... 86%
'At first sight it seems Outcast might be something a bit special - the colourful graphics are well-designed and with the animated trees create an attractive atmosphere. But the problem is the lack of things to do. The enemies have no intelligence (do they ever!); they just float around waiting to be pushed off the screen with an 'arrow'. And it's a pity about the animation of the eponymous character - he looks really stupid when flying through the air!'
PAUL ... 42%
'Outcast is, as the title suggests, fit only to be cast out from the ranks of popular software. It's quite easy to play, but I found it difficult to amass any significant score. The onscreen animation - stars, branches of trees - is quite pretty, but frustratingly you can play for ages without getting anywhere. There just isn't enough content in Outcast.'
MIKE ... 59%
It's just not fair. There you were, a benevolent wizard ruling your peaceful little village, when an evil wizard popped out of the blue, devastated the place, enslaved your subjects, cast you out with no spells and transformed you into some inhuman, grotesquely ugly form! (And I thought it was hell on the bus this morning! Ed) While you were wandering around feeling sorry for yourself, you just happened to come across a page from your spell book, which gave you a chance to regain your power... and p'raps save the villagers as well.
So off you go into the mythical lands of the arcade adventure, for pritheee, squire, 'tis one of those. Outcast sadly, contains nothing that lifts it above the trillions of other arcade adventures the Speccy has played host to over the years. As the wiz you move though the different zones which make up the landscape around your village, collecting objects and spells. Some objects combine to make others which allow you into 'locked' areas Of the game. Spells are just used to kill nasties which come at you from all directions. Unlike those in Feud they have no mystical or exciting uses, which is a bit disappointing. Outcast's presentation isn't bad, but the graphics, though fast, flicker a little and suffer the occasional colour class. This doesn't stop the game from being quite playable, but I found no lasting appeal. There's just not enough variety to keep you coming back for more. And for full price these days, I think we expect that.
Outcast has little going for it in terms of originality, graphic sophistication or polish. So I'm surprised to see that it's a product of the normally reliable Zen Room team. It's the usual 'quest for the magical objects' thing, with your outcast wizard searching for spells and weapons which will enable him to regain his powers and return to his home. Magical stars allow him to move to hidden areas of the game. Only the backgrounds, which feature some nice touches like trees waving in the wind offer any excitement. The screen display flips from scene to scene rather than scrolling, the enemies - such as birds, dwarfs and reptiles - are poorly designed and subject to attribute clashes, and the sound is minimal. Some of the effects, such as the poisonous spikes, are totally naff. About the only thing you won't encounter in your quest to defeat the Skull of Doom is any excitement.
Author: The Zen Room
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
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