AGH Atari 8-Bit Computer Review:
NECROMANCER

by Synapse


Necromancer Pic 1
In much the same way that Activision and Imagic dominated the Atari 2600 third party scene in the early 1980's, Synapse was an Atari computer user's best friend when it came to gaming on the 8-bit. Necromancer is tailor made for people who are fond of black magic but squeamish when it comes to the ingredients needed to use it. This enchantingly original game allows you to weave spells without having to deal with anything really repulsives -- unless you actually like goat testicles.

You're a sorcerer doing battle against some rather voracious spiders. Your weapons -- and the spiders' favorite thing to poison -- are the trees. Only these are enchanted trees which you control with your magical wisp. Using the wisp you plant the seeds, nurse the saplings to maturity and prevent them from being trampled on by barbaric thugs wearing nothing but large wooden clubs. Later, you take your army to the next screen where you position them strategically over unhatched spider eggs located in brick incubators. If you're skillful, the roots will erode the brick and the tree will crash down, crushing the egg and killing the fledgling spider inside. If you're slow in doing so, the spider hatches, eats the tree and comes after you. Leave no eggs uncrushed because they all become spiders which come back to haunt and hunt you in the last screen -- the final showdown between you and the Necromancer himself who has moved in to the cemetary.

Necromancer Pic 2
You use your magical wisp using the joystick controller. In the first screen you throw it away from you and, by pressing the fire button, plant your seeds. In subsequent screens, you throw the wisp to magically move your trees to the positions you want them in. The wisp is also useful for destroying spiders and thugs. The only things the wisp cannot do for you are replenish your strength and create ladders. Strength is provded by walking into a small circular object that appears on the screen from time to time. Ladders for climbing lower and lower in the egg hatchery are procured by walking into question marks left by mysterious arms that descend from above. The arms can also spirit both you and your trees away if you happen to be under one of them when it takes a notion to come on down.

All of this action is accompanied by magical graphics. Your wizard has a long-sleeve garment on and thrusts his arm authoritatively and the wisp and the trees sparkle enchantedly. The wonderful and jazzy music helps to establish a majestic aura around the environment. This all adds up to make Necromancer a charming game that's definitely worth seeking out. Kudos to designer Bill Williams this gem.


Title Necromancer
Publisher Synapsse
System Atari 400/800/XL/XE
Graphics 8
Sound 8
Gameplay 8
Overall 8
Reviewer Keita Iida

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