Title           Cedric
Game Type       Adventure
Publisher       Alive Mediasoft
Players         1
Compatibility   AGA/OCS?
HD Installable  No (runs from CD)
Submission      Eric Haines (ehaines@mint.net)

    Despite the "2000" date on the CD for "Cedric and the Search for the
Magic Sceptre", a look at the files suggests it originated some years
earlier. A look at the game itself suggests the same thing--despite the
"AGA" label, this seems like it would run on any Amiga, though I have no
way to test that. Further clues in the game make me suspect that this is
an old German game perhaps recently translated into English (though you
still have the choice to play in German). In any case, I'm glad it made it.

    My first impressions weren't too favorable, though. There isn't much
in the way of presentation. Just a jewel case CD with the cover (and CD
label) obviously printed using a color inkjet. No manual, no read-me file,
no documentation of any sort. The introduction wasn't terribly inspiring,
either. Just some music and a few screens of text, not very well written
but slightly amusing.

    But then, there was also no fuss, no installation, no configuring, no
glitches of any sort. Click'n'go, really. It's not hard to figure out,
either...just the joystick, and a simple action menu that's accessed by
either a second button or the space bar. It runs fine on my 060, and like
most older Amiga games it doesn't use a graphics card or multitask, but it
does quit cleanly back to Workbench. Alive thoughtfully included DMS files
for the original disks, just in case you want to torture yourself by
playing from 6 floppies.

    At first glance this looks like a "Shadow of the Beast"-esque platform
game, and it is (with a bit of Mario Bros. thrown in, since you can jump
on some enemies to kill them). But there is that action menu I mentioned,
which consists of examining objects, picking them up, using them, or
talking to them (in case the object is a sentient being of some sort). So
while you spend time running around the landscape, jumping and punching
various creatures, the emphasis seems to be on traditional adventure game
tropes of talking to people, getting clues, picking up objects, and using
them in the right place.  None of this is terribly brain-taxing, but the
levels are generally quite large and there are 11 of them, so this works
out well: the frustration factor is low, but the game will keep you busy
for a long time. The jump-n-punch part is similarly balanced: Difficult
enough to keep you on your toes, but not so hard that you die too often.
Monsters, once killed, *stay* dead, so there's no constant (and tedious)
combat as you run around. You get a decent supply of lives to begin with,
and health-restorers and extra lives are reasonably plentiful. You'll
probably lose most of your lives by missing jumps, but thankfully "leaps
of faith" are nearly non-existent.

    The graphics throughout are nicely done, though as mentioned, they
don't look AGA to me. The palette is attractive but limited and the copper
lists aren't the smooth gradients typically found in AGA games. Actually I
was reminded a bit of Wrath of the Demon. The music is quite good, but
here's the one real drawback of the game: there is only music, no sound
effects. It may be one of those games where you can either get sound
effects or music but not both; however I pressed all the keys and the only
ones that did anything were the space bar (for the menu) and Esc (to
quit). Another small problem is that not all the text has been translated
to English, but fortunately nothing important was left in German.

    Overall, this is a surprisingly enjoyable game, and it doesn't take
itself very seriously. (Cedric is rather sarcastic...when asked to examine
a barkeeper, for example, he says, "He looks like a typical barkeep from a
graphic adventure." And one of the options upon greeting said barkeep is
to say, "I am Guybrush Threepwood, the mighty pirate!"--that's a Monkey
Island reference for those who don't know.) It's quite player-friendly,
and with its mid-range price, it's certainly worthwhile. With Alive out of
the software business, I would recommend that anyone interested in
adventure and/or platform games get this as soon as possible because there
probably isn't a large supply.

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