Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Cauldron'

Rating:3 User: WhenIWasCruel

Double section game with appealing presentation, but heavy flaws in the gameplay, that make it excessively difficult. The first section is a horizontal flying broomstick game, being the main character a witch [or hag, as the game and the instructions call her], in which you move across flip screens infested with bats, ghosts and other energy draining creatures [the measuring unit of you energy is "magic"]. When you see a key, you can land, but only on a small portion of the ground, at the center of the screen, while the keys are always at the extremities. We see the early symptoms of a not properly balanced difficulty in this first part of the game: while when you're flying you can at least try to spray the creatures with some killer magic, while you're on the ground you're totally helpess, and they can freely clash on you, diminishing your power, and, of course, you're even rather slow. Once you've found a key, and a same coloured door, you can make your first visit to the underworld, and that's the "second section", and this is where the tragedy of this game fully reveals: this part is one of the hardest and frustrating platformer that I've ever played. It's full of misconceived features [admitting they have been wittingly put in the game]. For example, totally silly rocky platforms with a sort of hallucinatory left side, which usually lets you pass through and fall. And, of course, even in this section you're totally vulnerable to the nasties touch. I've barely made any progress by using snapshots and repeating some passages again and again, so on a real Spectrum must be even more fun... [well, in fact I tried it as a kid, and deserted it very fast]. In short, it could have been much better. As it is, for me it's a 3/5.