Sceptre of Bagdad

by A. Raita, D.R. Tomppe, I. Summala
Atlantis Software Ltd
Crash Issue 40, May 1987   page(s) 18

Producer: Atlantis
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Productive Playtime

A chubby Caliph in the Middle East is having a spot of bother. On the first day of each year he must produce the 'Sceptre of Bagdad' to show his people that he is fit to govern their land. However, on one such occasion the Caliph has woken early, feeling decidedly strange. After a quick bodily perusal he discovers that he has shrunk to tiny proportions. Desperately he climbs from his bed, and clambers up to the Magic Lamp that sits upon his dressing table.

Vigorously rubbing it, he awakens and consults his Magic Genie. In answer to his questions, the ever helpful phantom tells him that he is the victim of a spell, cast by a wicked wizard. The Caliph's home has now been turned into a puzzlesome palace of shark infested rivers, burning deserts and seemingly impenetrable barriers.

The Sceptre is at the far end of the palace, if it is not reached within the ordained time the Caliph's reign will come to a premature end. The Genie promises to help, but his aid is limited to advice as he cannot leave the lamp. Therefore the Caliph begins his quest alone.

The corpulent ruler can move left and right, jump upwards and pass through doors and other entrances. Objects found en route are collected by simply walking over them. Only two objects can be carried at once, the last acquired being displayed at the bottom of the screen. An inventory of items carried is accessed by pressing the space bar.

Sections of the palace and its grounds can only be crossed if the Caliph is in possession of certain objects - the coconut is needed to cross the desert, but the sling and pearl are first required to get the coconut!

The Genie gives a cryptic but useful clue when his lamp is rubbed with the hankie. His patience is limited though - rub too hard and you end up with a clean lamp and no additional information.

If all of this wasn't bad enough, the poor Caliph finds that his palace has been infested by vicious creatures and monsters. Should these beasts touch him, the podgy ruler's life force is diminished until he eventually loses one of his three lives. Turbans at the bottom right of the screen depict the Caliph's remaining lives.

A reincarnation potion is hidden in the palace, saving the player's position when drunk. This position can then be returned to by selecting the 'Old Game' option on the main menu.


Control keys: delineable - left, right, up, down, select
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface II
Use of colour: effective and attractive colour scheme
Graphics: well defined and smoothly animated cartoons
Sound: useful but not extraordinary
Skill levels: one
Screens: forty-five

ATLANTIS have come out with another budget game, 'Ughh!!' I hear you say... but wait, they've really pulled their socks up, this is decent. I always like original gaffes, and this is one of the best I've seen for a long time. The well defined graphics move smoothly, but the game could do with a tune and a few more effects during play. The difficulty involved heightens the compulsion to solve the problems, recommend this to you who've got a quid.

Sceptre of Bagdad puts a lot of full priced software to shame. I'm not sure that the gameplay will appeal to many people, as some of the problems are hard even when a solution is provided - then again many players thrive on that sort of masochism. The graphics are good, but the abundance of static characters gives a lifeless feeling. This is a must if you're an 'if at first you don't succeed' fan - especially at the budget price.

Sceptre of Bagdad has pushed ATLANTIS into the world of big time budget software. There are a lot of problems to be solved, but thankfully this process has to be carried out logically. The graphics are very attractive and colourful, and though there are problems in this area, they're not bad enough to put you off. The only thing that this superb product lacks is a decent title tune-so, for £1.99, Sceptre of Bagdad is a steal.

Presentation: 70%
Graphics: 79%
Playability: 64%
Addictive Qualities: 75%
Value for Money: 80%
Overall: 75%

Summary: General Rating: An entertaining and puzzling arcade adventure.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 17, May 1987   page(s) 77


This Atlantis cheapie is definitely full of eastern promise! You're the Khazi of Kalabar, or some such, and at noon you've got to show your people the Sacred Sceptre of Somethingorother to prove your right to rule the poor souls. That's the way those oriental types used to carry on - these days no doubt they'd prove their worth by shooting a few people in the himalayas (ooh nasty!)

Of course life is never as easy as that, and you wake up on the morning of the Sceptre Show to find that things are a little odd. An evil wizard from afar covets your throne and has cast spells galore on your palace, turning it into a huge Wally game. You wouldn't have thought they knew of such things back in 1187, but they did, right down to the way you can only carry two objects, your attributes clash when you walk past multi-coloured objects and your enemies fly up and down from the ceiling. Yes, that was the Week that was.

Ah, but let's not carp (or even pike), 'cos the Wally games were great, and this follows the blueprint to a T. You wander around the palace, avoiding meanies and picking up objects. Carry certain objects to activate others (f'rinstance, what do you need to perform the Indian rope trick?) and try not to waste your three lives before you've completed the game. There are some nice extra features (try flying Air Bagdad). Oh, and don't go for a chat with the Medusa too readily (I'll leave you to reflect on that).

Anyone pining for the Wal is likely to be pleasantly surprised by Sceptre Of Bagdad. It's not even vaguely original and doesn't pretend to be, but it's good fun and a bargain at two quid.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 62, May 1987   page(s) 67

Label: Atlantis
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Andy Moss

Remember that old favourite Everyone's A Wally from Mikro Gen? it spawned quite a few arcade adventures using large animated figures that went about the various screens collecting the odd object or two, solving the puzzles and traps, and generally providing an entertaining game. As is the way with all good ideas, they are played to death, till in the end you're just plain tired of them.

What makes this game so pleasant, is that to and behold, the arcade adventure has returned in the classic sense. It's fresh because we haven't seen one in a while, and it's cheap, so if the puzzles are good, you can rest assured that you have an entertaining game.

The plot concerns the quest for a lost sceptre which has the power to keep you as Caliph of Bagdad. You wake up one morning to find that you have shrunk, your sceptre has gone, and you have until noon to find it and show it to your people otherwise an evil wizard will be crowned Caliph in your place.

You can walk or jump as per norm and collect objects by walking over them. The large colourful characters are very cleverly designed without any attribute clash. A nice touch is the Genie in the Lamp who gives you the odd clue to help (only if you hold the hankie to rub it with). The Eastern flavour is all there with even a magic carpet to whisk you off the MFI, via Bagdad Airways. There are 48 screens to explore, and some include a few very unsavory customers, like a cyclops and a Medusa along with a burning desert a shark-infested river (sharks in Bagdad'??) and a bedroom with very slippery bedpoles! Get this one, a fun game at a fun price.

Overall: 4/5

Summary: Old big sprite arcade adventure format rejuvenated and transformed by inventive touches. Cheap too!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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