ARCHON II: ADEPT
by Electronic Arts
Archon II exhibits less of the traditional board game feel compared to the original: its odd-shaped game field features unique qualities and only four icons (pieces) are on-screen at the outset. These are the adepts, powerful magicians who are adversaries in the war between Chaos and Order. Adepts can cast spells that weaken, imprison, banish and otherwise make life miserable for the demons and elementals that are magically summoned one at a time to help occupy the blinking power points. There are six of these, and all must be covered by a player in order to win. To complicate matters, four of the points shift positions every few turns. An adept loses magic points for each spell or action, and regains them when resting on a power point. Lose all your magic points or icons and you lose the game. And if you get too weak, the other side can hit you with the devastating Apocalypse spell. All action is smoothly orchestrated via joystick.
The screen is divided into four different-colored sections. An adept can place newly summoned demons only in the section he's in, but can teleport himself anywhere. When you move an icon onto another icon, the combat phase kicks in. The display is replaced by a less crowded one in which the two pieces fight it out, arcade-style. This is good fun, slinging fireballs and other exotic weapons -- especially in the two-player version. Adepts can change the direction of their missiles, so you can make a mid-course correction or even shoot around corners. Strategy is equally vital, though, making this a well-balanced scenario with sharp animation.