by Simon Dunstan, Steve Brown, Tony Barber
Palace Software
Crash Issue 18, Jul 1985   page(s) 34

Producer: Palace Software
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £7.99
Language: Machine code
Author: The RamJam Corp with Steve Brown

On a hill many miles away there is a green door behind which there is a Golden Broomstick, a thing so powerful that the it is sought after by the best and cleverest witches in the land, but only you are prepared to face the dangers that lie behind the door. It's not that you are being particularly brave but you have this spell that should defeat the powers of the pumpkin's room and leave you, as a prize, with the witches' golden broom.

Your spell needs six basic ingredients not normally found on supermarket shelves, in fact they can only be found behind other coloured doors for which you will need the coloured keys. So your first task is to find the keys by flying on your own tatty broomstick round the locality. The keys can commonly be seen propped up against trees all that remains is for you to land and pick them up. As you peruse the skies you are attacked by all manner of things. Witch-eating bats, cloak-scorching fireballs, murderous pumpkin and badly behaved seagulls are just a few of the hazards facing you. Of course your magic defends you from their onslaught (witch is to say that your broomstick is actually a 4.5mm quick-firing cannon) but your life force is depleted by as much as four or five points. However by firing directly at the attackers will only cost you one point per shot so since each of your eight lives for hags) only have 99 points to start with you really can't afford to be flippant.

With the correct key you can get into any of the caverns although you will have to discover for yourself which caverns to visit first. Each cavern presents a sort of platform game problem that requires great skill and dexterity to negotiate. When you have reached whatever it is that you are looking for you must return home to add it to the pot. After collecting the six main ingredients you will be able to complete the spell that will rid the land of the pumpkin and win that new broom.

As a bonus, on the B side of the cassette is a Spectrum version of the earlier Palace game, The Evil Dead.


Control keys: Cap/Z left/right, X/C down/up, and V to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Sinclair
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: detailed, well moving
Sound: good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 8
Screens: 64 below ground - a lot above!

I find the graphics in this game very pleasing but I think the movement could have been improved. Rather than the whole screen scrolling from one side to another as you fly, it scrolls in pages, as you reach the far side of one page it rapidly scrolls across so that you are back on the other side of a different screen. The 'how do I get over there' problems in the caverns are very tricky and demand great skill. The attacking nasties are a real pain because there are so many of them, even killing them costs energy so you really will need those lives if you want to complete the game. Very attractive game, playable and I find it fairly addictive.

I've nothing but praise for this game, graphic detail is marvellous and colour is exceptionally well used. Animation is great too. It's not an easy game by any means - flying through the air seems fun at first until ferocious bats (vampires?) try continually to drag you down. Finding the well spread and randomly placed keys isn't easy either, using them is even worse - as you open up one of the colour-coded doors a new underwurlde appears, offering you screens in a platform - or should I say 'stepping stone' - game. This is even more difficult than the aerial sequences, because for half of the time you don't know where you'll land up when you step blindly off one screen into another. Eight hags might seem a lot of lives to you, but you could have eighty and it wouldn't be enough. A delightful game that is bound to prove popular.

Here's another game that has been converted from the 64. They've had some trouble with the continually scrolling screen, but the Spectrum page scrolling, though nowhere near as attractive, is a reasonable compromise. The graphics look very good though. Flying on your broomstick is a tricky business with the ghosts, bats and deadly pumpkin pods all homing in on you - don't hang about in one place too long! The caverns present a totally different game with different problems, so Cauldron represents good value in gameplay, and the good graphics, hard to get to rooms, size of the game and difficulty level makes it addictive to play, and with a second free game on board, good value too, although Evil Dead isn't the most mega-fab program.

Use of Computer: 80%
Graphics: 89%
Playability: 90%
Getting Started: 86%
Addictive Qualities: 91%
Value For Money: 90%
Overall: 91%

Summary: General rating: A large, engaging and difficult game for the arcade player.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 38, Feb 1989   page(s) 55


Honest guv! Sounds well dodgy dunnit? That's what we thought so we sent David 'Miserly' McCandless out with a crisp new tenner to boldly go where no stingebag had gone before (shopping) and not to come back until he'd found four YS megagames. We didn't think he'd be back. He didn't think he'd be back. We were wrong.

Talk about Mission Impossible, this was flamin' Mission Inconceivable. Four megagames for under a tenner? There's no such thing. Well at least there wasn't until a cunning lobe at the back of my brain remembered that a load of old ripsnorters were being released on budget labels. Mind you, by today's standards these games may be a molecule less than kosher but - hey! a megagame's a megagame no matter what epoque you're living in.

But there was a problem.

There were mounds, piles and heaps of past corkers to be had in the shops. All the companies had realised the potential market in resurrecting games, jumped on the exact same bandwagon and nearly toppled over. So I, being what I am, (insert your own joke here) picked out the top four blasts from the ghost of the past, the best four raves from the grave, and then rounded the rest up for you to delight over during the post-turkey blues.

Reviewer: David McCandless

This game turned some heads and bulged some eyes when it first appeared eons ago, September '85 to be exact, mainly because of its colourful graphics and witch-orientated originality. And surprisingly enough there was a game behind the prettiness.

You play a hag zipping around on your bog-standard Acme broomstick on a quest for the legendary, all powerful, all gleaming golden broomstick and the extraordinary cleaning powers that come with it. In your way are bats, badgers and all types of nocturnal nasties hell-bent on preventing you. Your quest takes you across scrolling hills and dales, mountains and gorges and the customary underground caverns and tunnels.

Gameplay is fierce with the nasties tenaciously after your green blood. Both the witch and the creatures are represented in excellent stylish form and some of the underground caverns would stump even the hardest of the hard game-players.

Cauldron isn't technically exquisite and probably wouldn't stand up as a full price game now but it was brilliant in its own right with inspired graphics and fiendish difficulty.

Overall: 9/10

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 36, Dec 1988   page(s) 54


Ben 'n' Skippy take a seat in the stalls to play their way through this month's cut-price offerings! With a bit of help from the usherette of course!

Reviewer: Ben Stone, Mike Dunn

But soft, what jiffy-bag thorough yonder postbox breaks? Why, 'tis one that holds Cauldron, a game the like of which hasn't been seen since the last time it was released and blimey, hasn't it aged?

Somehow, being a witch flying (or should that be flickering?) around, looking for the ingredients of a spell which'll give you a turbo-charged Golden Broomstick, just ain't the same kind of fun it was four years ago. And you don't even get a set of complimentary furry dice in the deal - bah!

Despite being a bit wrinkly however, Cauldron still doesn't play too badly and there are far, far worse games to be seen walking to the cash register with. If you haven't got a copy yet, Cauldron is well worth looking into. Just watch out for the eye of newt.

Overall: 6/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 17, Aug 1985   page(s) 64


Double, double toil and trouble:
Fire, burn; and, cauldron, bubble.

Take a dash of a Defender style shoot'em up, add a splash of an arcade adventure, throw in a handful of platform screens and top up with some magic graphics. Stir vigorously and you've got a rich brew from Palace Software called Cauldron that aims to have you bewitched, bothered and bewildered.


And now for a surprise bonus. On the reverse side of the Cauldron tape, appears the Spectrum version of The Evil Dead. It wasn't meant to be there but somehow the gremlins must've crept in at the duplicators. So, dare you risk the evil curse and play the game? Well, you could do worse than give it a go. But the real problem is that there aren't any instructions. A bit of a dead loss, you could say, but panic not, 'cos here at YS we've sussed the plot of this computer nasty.

You play the part of Ashly, shacked up on holiday with a group of friends deep in the Tennessee Woodlands. Cheryl, Linda, Scott and Shelly are clean cut ail-American kids who just happen to change into ghastly green mutants when they over-indulge with the spirit - Evil spirit, of course. Your aim at the beginning is to keep the evil one out of the shack by rushing round closing all the windows. When that fails as it inevitably does - well, you can't keep a good ghost down - you'll have to try and kill 'em with the weapons scattered round the shack. These will give you differing amounts of energy which you'll lose when you attack an enemy but your points will increase. Only when you've enough points will the Book of the Evil Dead ('a jolly good read' Daily Mirror. "Dead boring' Your Spectrum) appears - throw it straight on the fire in the main room and you'll have defeated the curse forever. Dead easy, really.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 40, Jul 1985   page(s) 22

Publisher: Palace Software
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston

Hearken witches everywhere, play this game if you dare, defeat the Evil Pumpkin King to regain the broomstick from within.

In Cauldron, from Palace Software, the instructions are contained in eight rhyming verses which describe the basic scenario - it is up to you to figure out the puzzles.

The Evil Pumpkin has stolen the witch's golden broomstick and the only way it can be retrieved is to brew a spell which will gain her entrance to the Pumpkin's Lair. The spell's six ingredients are to be found in the rhyme and lie in the 64 caverns underground.

Above ground is variety of terrains - graveyards, woods, mountains, oceans and islands. There are four doors leading to the caverns, each opened with a cunningly hidden coloured key. Ghosts, killer seagulls and bats deplete your magical powers by hitting you.

You can fire at them though that also decreases your magic and the best tactic is avoidance. You have nine lives and each time you die you tumble off your broomstick in a spectacular fall.

Finding and picking up the spell's ingredients is no easy task. You may have to approach them in a roundabout way or find objects to place them in. Again, whole legions of nasties try to send you to the hereafter.

There are a number of teasers in this superb pictorial game with no clues offered in the instructions. Trial and error is the only way through it.

Cauldron has no sound other than the odd spectral beep, but the graphics are brilliant and colourful. Unfortunately, they flicker occasionally and the colours tend to merge.

Cauldron is nevertheless a pleasing and playable game.

A bonus is to be found on the B side which contains the Evil Dead, never released for the Spectrum. You will be getting two excellent games for the price of one.

Overall: 5/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 43, May 1985   page(s) 102

MACHINE: CBM 64/Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Palace Software
PRICE: £7.99

You've alredy read about the fantastic graphics in last month's C&VG. Now read how the game is great fun to play!

The basic idea of Cauldron is to help the witch defeat the evil Pumpkins and rescue the Golden Broomstick. To this, the witch must brew up an evil potion in her cottage cauldron and find the Pumpkin leader in his hide-out deep within the mysterious planet.

The witch's quest takes place in, over and around her home . The programmers have created an entire planet - with forests, seas and islands above ground and weird caverns underground.

There are lots of things to discover and puzzles to be solved - and the first C&VG reader to complete the game and send us a map will win the real Golden Broomstick. So were not giving too much away here!

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 9/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 20, Aug 1985   page(s) 78,79

Palace Software

Usually games converted from the CBM64 to our beloved Speccy, don't fare too welol. However, having played the '64 version of Cauldron (against my will, you understand) I actually think that the Spectrum version is better.

Of course, the attribute problems are there as always, but I found that controlling the figure of the Hag, as she flies around on her broomstick, was easier on the Spectrum than on the '64.

You have eight hags available, and must fly them over a scrolling landscape of forests, mountains, seas and cemeteries, from which appropriate nasties issue forth in order to drain your magical reserves. Hidden within the landscape are four keys which provide access to the underground depths through which you must wander to find the Pumpking's Lair.

Personally, I found flying the Hag on her broomstick the most enjoyable part of the game. She is well animated and really pretty nippy on her broomstick, and she can also fire bolts at the ghosts, bats etc, which attack her. Unfortunately, once you get underground the game becomes a sort of Jet Set Hag clone. Normally that wouldn't bother me, butI actually found some of these screens irritating since there's no real indication of where you should be going. So, often, when you have bounced your way across a screen, there is no way of knowing how to get onto the next screen and you simply have to leap blindly in the hope that you may land on something in an adjacent screen. So far though, I have virtually always failed to cross between screens safely and this rather haphazard way of doing things becomes irritating as you lose all your Hags in a matter of seconds through no fault of your own.

Cauldron is quite enjoyable on the whole, but I do wish that it had been designed a little more carefully. Mind you, the flip side of the tape has a free Spectrum version of Palace's Evil Dead on it, which is a nice bonus and makes Cauldron good value for money.

Graphics: 4/5
Addictiveness: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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