The Magic Candle takes place in the fantasy Land of Deruvia. A great evil is about to descend upon the population in the form of the demon Dreax who has been contained within a magic candle by the strength of forty-four mages' incantations. The mages have gone missing and Dreax's evil Forces of Darkness will wreak havoc and destruction if he escapes his waxy prison. That's where you and your selected band of adventurer/heroes enters. As the main character Lukas, you basically make all the decisions and direct the on-screen action. The screen is divided into four sections. The largest portion is the action screen where your characters move from point to point within a location. Beneath that is a command section, part of the keyboard interface in which you type the first letter of any command available to invoke action. Depending on which characters are on-screen and the location of the party at any given time, there are 43 possible commands that range from Ask to Xit (exit). On the right side of the screen is the information section with items like the date, map coordinates, order of the party and so forth. A summary of each character's status can be viewed in the bottom right section of the screen.
As you start the game, five races are available as volunteers to join your party including dwarves, elves, halflings, man (human) and wizards. Each of these have twelve individual attributes (e.g., strength, energy, agility, charisma) as well as skills in particular weapons (spells, swords), armor and combat techniques. Sword and magic skills are rated and can be improved during the game up to a peak level of 99. As play continues, more characters (volunteers) are made available from various locations. In all, there are twenty-four of them and each will join your party at your request but within the limitation of six at any given time. The selection of your party for various tasks is a large part of your strategic planning, getting the right people for the right job. Professions include carpenter, fighter, gem-cutter, knight, mage, mercenary, metalsmith, ranger and tailor. The game world in The Magic Candle is surprisingly large and is filled with over two dozen soldiers and beasts usually itching for a fight. There are four books of magic, each containing a separate set of spells focusing on conflict, change and protection with the fourth a miscellaneous collection of odd spells. There are nearly a dozen dungeon obstacles to overcome and maintenance of your party is crucial (rest, sleep, ready spells, eat, weaponry, etc.). Movement in the game is done collectively by group or by singling out one of the six characters and directing his/her actions. An easy method of selecting individual party members is provided with movement effected by arrow key through a system of scrolling screens within any one particular location and a directional command to transition from location to location (e.g., castle to wilderness). The Magic Candle is an early entry in the genre (pre-90's) and provides an interesting look at the early state of the art.
Graphics: Blocky, pixelated, early genre (circa 1989) stuff.
Sound: The keyboard beeps are annoying which is unfortunate since those are the main sounds you hear.
Enjoyment: Assuming you can get into the story, The Magic Candle carries itself pretty well. Movement is primitive but quick via arrow keys and the command structure with 43 possibilities is sufficient to get the tasks done. The interface can be tedious as you must type in the first letter of any command, then type a direction (N, E, S, W) you want the action aimed at.
Replay Value: Once the right mix of races and professions are figured out to complete individual tasks, replay is redundant.
The Magic Candle is best described as an Ultima clone. Its a top-down, multiplayer, party-driven RPG.
The plot revolves around you (Lukas) and your party of intrepid adventurers, whose task it is to seal the demon Dreax within the Magic Candle (which is burning down, and when it does, he gets released).
The game has 3 difficulty levels (changing the number of 'days' you get to complete the game in.) A lot of travelling, dungeon-crawling, town-exploring, and especially, lots of conversing with NPCs.
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