Author: Richard Leinfellber, Steve Brown
Reviewer: Clare Edgeley
Pumpkins are well out of season, yet Palace software keeps dragging them back. Although an odd vegetable to act as a hero, the pumpkin is rather cute as it wreaks havoc on the evil witch's castle.
We're talking about the sequel to Cauldron, based on the revengeful exploits of the world's last surviving pumpkin. Your mission: destroy the witch's power. Cauldron II - The Pumpkin Strikes Back is a platform game but the delightful graphics, more than make up for this minus. Play begins in a castle - bulut like Palace's logo - a hint which should help you if you want to map it out, at one of six randomly selected starting points.
Boing! Splat! Almost immediately the pumpkin bounces on to a skeleton. Instant death and one of six lives is lost.
The problem is learning to control the bounce and judging the height you should travel to reach ledges and avoid creeping hands, chopping scissors, spiders, mice and hosts of other deadly creatures. Hold the fire button down longer and the pumpkin will bounce higher and you have to time your jumps and be in exactly the right position to get anywhere. It takes some while getting used to.
The movement of the pumpkin is great. For one thing it wears a permanent silly grin and each time it hits the ground it seems to squash under the impact. If you listen carefully you can hear a faint splat! splat! issuing from the depths of your Spectrum.
Magic lies all around and if you can catch a bit - it sparkles - you'll be able to shoot the nasties. When retrieving magic and objects from the gargoyles take care not to land on their spiky backs though or you'll burst. Yuk. Pumpkin everywhere.
If you get it wrong the slab which holds the object tilts sending you hurtling down and down and down... And its a heck of a long climb back.
Cauldron II may be a bit Wallyish - certainly in its graphic style - but it has all the ingredients of a successful follow-up.
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