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Palace Software
Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Clare Edgeley
Chris Bourne

HEARKEN witches everywhere, play this game if you dare, defeat the Evil Pumpkin King to regain the broomstick from within.

In Cauldron, from Palace Software, the instructions are contained in eight rhyming verses which describe the basic scenario - it is up to you to figure out the puzzles.

The Evil Pumpkin has stolen the witch's golden broomstick and the only way it can be retrieved is to brew a spell which will gain her entrance to the Pumpkin's Lair. The spell's six ingredients are to be found in the rhyme and lie in the 64 caverns underground.

Above ground is variety of terrains - graveyards, woods, mountains, oceans and islands. There are four doors leading to the caverns, each opened with a cunningly hidden coloured key. Ghosts, killer seagulls and bats deplete your magical powers by hitting you.

You can fire at them though that also decreases your magic and the best tactic is avoidance. You have nine lives and each time you die you tumble off your broomstick in a spectacular fall.

Finding and picking up the spell's ingredients is no easy task. You may have to approach them in a roundabout way or find objects to place them in. Again, whole legions of nasties try to send you to the hereafter.

There are a number of teasers in this superb pictorial game with no clues offered in the instructions. Trial and error is the only way through it.

Cauldron has no sound other than the odd spectral beep, but the graphics are brilliant and colourful. Unfortunately, they flicker occasionally and the colours tend to merge.

Cauldron is nevertheless a pleasing and playable game.

A bonus is to be found on the B side which contains the Evil Dead, never released for the Spectrum. You will be getting two excellent games for the price of one.

Clare Edgeley

Publisher: Palace Software
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston