by Julian Gollop, Le Doux, Julek Heller
Games Workshop
Crash Issue 16, May 1985   page(s) 120

Producer: Games Workshop
Retail Price: £7.95
Language: Machine code
Author: SLUG

Chaos is a game of magical combat between 2 to 8 wizards with over 50 animated spells, and creatures summoned to resolve the question of who will become the Lord of Creation. Each player takes his turn to select and cast spells and move the summoned creatures. The winner is the last wizard left alive after all the zapping is over, but there is a limit on the number of turns to achieve a victory, so a contest can be drawn.

The options open to enliven play are commendably large. Up to 8 wizards can be selected and any or all can be controlled by the computer. Further, the intelligence of the computer can be altered from a low one to its most competent at 8, at which level it plays a mean game.

Like Talisman, Chaos is a complex strategy game but it can be boiled down to choosing spells, and part of the joy of the game is to become familiar with how each spell functions. If you are not familiar with D&D this may take a considerable length of time, although you might see it as one way of introducing yourself to the genre. Spells, which can summon up creatures or elements like fire, lightning etc. are either Lawful, Chaotic or Neutral, where casting Chaos spells make the universe more chaotic and less favourable for Law. Having chosen your spell, there is no guarantee it will be successfully cast - this is determined by the type of spell (10% for a Golden Dragon, 100% for a Giant rat) where there is a lesser chance of casting a powerful spell. Illusions, however, are always cast but are susceptible to the Disbelieve spell.

Starting the game and consulting the spell tables it soon becomes apparent that this is a very attractively designed game with a super clear and large redefined character set a million miles from that of the Spectrum. This neatness and presentability, along with the efficient beeps and buzzes, tell you this game was designed with the best intentions - to please the purchaser. The spell list is not only colourful, the shade of colour indicates how difficult each spell is to cast. To see exactly what you might be letting yourself in for you can check out the spell with the information files which give some idea of the range and power of the spell along with the vulnerability of the combatant and its opponent. Spells include the Gooey Blob, which spreads and engulfs enemy creatures but does not affect your creatures; magic fire which can spread alarmingly, trapping and killing the enemy; to magic wings, a spell that transfers the wizard into a flying creature with a wide range of action. The creatures a wizard summons prove useful in many different ways. Flying creatures can hop over obstacles, wizards on mounts move more freely and with greater safety, and the undead can only be attacked by other undead.

The screen starts off very simply and uncluttered (perhaps too simply - a terrain of, say, bushes and walls might have added some atmosphere) but as each wizard summons more and more creatures it soon becomes busy enough for one or two sparks to fly. The graphics are very pleasing with super sprites of arrows and lightning bolts. The many dragons, bears, lions, hydra etc each have their own easily recognisable forms and motions. It's true that I chiefly review adventure games, but I must say just how impressive the sound here is - it has the little Spectrum speaker straining in a quite a harmonious fashion. The sounds are thick and throaty and you really feel every bolt of lightning as it hits you.

It is difficult to get everything right in a very complicated game but I did feel there could have been a status report for your wizard's strength, hit points and magical resistance during the game. The way things are, you don't know how much damage has been done. Perhaps a greater number of missile attacks like the Magic Missile of Dungeons and Dragons may have broadened interest further. Also, a fireball spell would have proved a useful area effect spell. A constant problem during play is the quick disappearance of information concerning your opponents' spells which flash up too quickly to read before they are gone.

Chaos serves up something that has long been needed in the computer games world, a game which can be played by a great number of players not in a token sense, but in a fully competetive framework whereby each player is actively involved. Games Workshop have brought their knowledge of D&D and boardgames to the microcomputer in a very professional manner and have produced games of real substance.


Difficulty: easy to play, once you get into it
Graphics: combat area is sparse but character and special effects graphics are good
Presentation: good, with large colourful text
Response: very fast

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 8/10
Getting Started: 7/10
Addictive Qualities: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Summary: General Rating: Very good strategy game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 16, Jul 1985   page(s) 45

Dave: This one's subtitled 'Magic and Death on the Plane of Limbo' which makes it sound like an occult version of Airplane II. In fact, it's another magical mystery tour-type strategy game that's enlivened by some creative touches of animation.

At the off, you can choose up to eight different wizards any or all of whom can come under the control of the computer. If you're feeling really limbo-like, it's a wheeze to set them all off and sit back to watch them slug it out. There's also a random hand-out of spells that allow you to summon monsters and call up a plethora of peculiar weapons. Luckily, they're all spelled out in the manual.

There are eight different difficulty levels for you to choose so it'll take more than a morning to master. And the game's fast enough to provide a satisfying slugfest for all but the most hardened arcadcr, plus the animated graphics make it constantly entertaining to watch - well, what d'you think a Gooey Blob looks like?

Chaos offers enough magical unpleasantness to keep swords and sorcery fans in a teeth gnashing frenzy - just what the dentist ordered. So grab your box of magic tricks and do it to them before they do it to you... 4/5 HIT

Roger: The Concise Oxford Dictionary gives a variety of meanings to this game title, many of which are applicable to content. 2/5 MISS

Ross: It takes a while to get into the swing of this game but once you've sussed the sorcery, it'll have you under its spell. 3/5 HIT

Dave: 4/5
Ross: 3/5
Roger: 2/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 38, May 1985   page(s) 32

Publisher: Games Workshop
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston

The lightning powers of the black arts crackle brightly through the astral atmosphere, hurling toward their intended victim in Chaos.

In this new fantasy game you take on the mantle of a wizard and pit your wits against up to eight others which can either be controlled by human players or the computer.

Cast your spells of attack or protection and destroy the other mages to become a master of magic. Magic is death to all but the strongest, on the Chaos plane of Limbo.

Once you have chosen the number of wizards with which you want to do battle you can select their stance and colour. Be careful to choose one which is facing in the correct direction. Nothing dents a wizard's ego more than having to throw spells backward.

There are 50 spells within Chaos and you will have only a random selection of 10, some of which could be duplicates. Spells include fighting figures such as unicorns, elves and golden dragons. You can also conjure fires, castles and magic forests.

All spells are either Lawful, Chaotic or Neutral. When chaotic spells are cast players will find it more difficult to cast Lawful or Neutral spells.

The state of the magical universe is also classed as Lawful, Chaotic or Neutral. A Chaotic universe is one in which there is no order. A Lawful universe is one in which evil is punished and structure can be seen in everything.

Each spell has a chance of success. The manual gives some examples of conjurations with their success factors shown as a percentage of chance. A Giant Rat spell will be 100 percent effective but your wizardly powers will only give you a ten percent chance of conjuring a Golden Dragon.

The movement of spell creatures and your wizard character is ordered under cursor control. The number of spaces which they can be moved depends upon the spells which you have created. Wizards on foot may only move one space but if they are mounted on a spell creature they can move a maximum of six spaces.

Chaos is a fast moving and colourful game. The animation is good enough for a strategy game but the character-square graphics are simple and functional.

The game is sufficiently complex to appeal to dungeons and dragons fans and to strategy game players. So, if you've ever fancied the role of a wizard, give it a go.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 72, Mar 1988   page(s) 35

Label: Firebird
Author: Julian Glossop
Price: £1.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: None
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

I'm all for simple games concepts, and Chaos, the Battle of Wizards has one of the simplest yet. To summarise, take a black square (eg a burnt field), and stick in it a number of wizards, between say 2 and 8. Give each wizard different ratings for attack, defence, you know, all the usual Games Workshop sort of stuff. On top of all this, each wizard has a number of spells with which to destroy all the other wizards. That is it.

Since as I am as good at games as a deranged goat, I like games that make it easy, and Chaos is very easy to play. You cycle through a couple of menus to select your spell and when told to move your character(s) just position the cursor over the piece you wish to move and move it. Why characters? Some of the spells allow you to create magical and mythical beasts, like manticores end gryphons, to aid you in your fight.

To put it simply, Chaos is great. It's colourful, it's very easy to play, and above all it's probably the most fun you've had since you pickled your granny.

Overall: 8/10

Summary: Enjoyable multi-usery, magical wargamery type of game and a bargain at the price.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair Programs Issue 32, Jun 1985   page(s) 14

PRICE: £7.95
GAME TYPE: Strategy

On a first run through, Chaos certainly lives up to its name. You play the part of a wizard aiming to defeat all other wizards on the board. There can be up to eight wizards on screen at a time, each of which can be human or computer controlled. Eight wizards firing spells at each other on a Spectrum screen; chaos indeed!

The game is set in the Dungeons and Dragons mould. Each wizard is assigned a variety of spells from a long list. Some are offensive, such as Giant Rat or Golden Dragon and some, such as Magic Armour, are defensive .

Most spells are not guaranteed to work. Success will depend partly on chance, and partly on whether your spell would disturb the balance of the universe. Of course, you could always go one step further and change the nature of the universe yourself .

The screen display is not as impressive as the phrase "Continuously animated sprite graphics" suggests but then, as this is primarily a strategy game, and most characters spend most of their time standing still, this is no problem.

A good introduction to the realms of fantasy for novices, and fun for experienced role games players as well, Chaos is produced by Games Workshop, 27-29 Sunbeam Road, London.

Rating: 66%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue Annual 2018   page(s) 61

As the Crash annuals are still for sale ZXSR has taken the decision to remove all review text, apart from reviewer names and scores from the database. A backup has been taken of the review text which is stored offsite. The review text will not be included without the express permission of the Annuals editorial team/owners.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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