by Mike Westlake
Firebird Software Ltd
Your Sinclair Issue 28, Apr 1988   page(s) 88

Reviewer: Duncan McDonald

The blurb on the cassette inlay of Merlin is very concise. "Guide Merlin around the mystical kingdom of Camelot collecting stars to recover his lost magic powers." Personally I'd rather guide him down to the pub.

It's not that the game's boring: it is, but that's not really the point; it's that with just a bit 'more' bunged into it this game could be really quite good. Crumbs.

For those who know what I mean, I can only say that Mike Singleton's Dark Sceptre has met Mastertronics' Feud, but taken an overdose of budget sleeping pills. Where are the other players? Where's the BEEF!

For those who don't know what I mean, the graphics are big (big, big, big). Merlin himself is almost 32 feet tall (No he's not). Eerm, Merlin himself is almost half a screen high (that's better), and you guide him through the brightly coloured (ie Feudish) flick screen kingdom, avoiding contact with the 'nasties': ghosts that zwoing up and down; snakes that slither, wither, wivver and funny blobby things that sort of, er, bob. Collect the big yellow stars while trying not to lose your ten lives. Uuuuumm... and that's it. It's not even as if the 'magic stars' give you extra powers which will help you in your quest. No Feud spell casting here, matey. Not on your wibble-stick.

Merlin, the game, loses in prolonged playability what it makes up for in graphics. With just that bit extra it could have been fine. (Mind you, maybe Firebird ran out of memory space: I actually lived my whole life, died, and was reincarnated as me again while the game was still loading). I'll base my score on the fact that, a) Merlin is only £1.99 and b) it would be nicer to potter around Camelot armed with some invulnerability pokes. Boing.

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 5/10
Value For Money: 6/10
Addictiveness: 6/10
Overall: 6/10

Summary: Flick-screen 'collect things' cheapie with giant sprites:- nice graphics, shame about the game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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