Born in 1985
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I first played this game way back in the 1980's when I visited my cousin and his huge collection of ZX Spectrum games. He and my Uncle always seemed to have the newest (and often most interesting) games, and I looked forward to each visit hugely.
Your aim is simply to use the spells at your disposal to wipe out the other wizards and be the last man standingSteve Rowsell
Little did I realise that one of these games, Chaos, would not only spread around my school like wildfire, but would also be a game that I would still be regularly playing 30 years later.
Whilst people may look at the graphics and wince, I think they have real character and I challenge anyone to play the game a few times and not be hooked. The rules of the game are deceptively simple - you and up to 7 other wizards (either player or computer-controlled) start the game in an empty arena, armed only with a number of random spells.
Your aim is simply to use the spells at your disposal to wipe out the other wizards and be the last man standing. This may sound very basic, but the beauty of this game is the depth hidden beneath the surface. To aid your quest for domination, each wizard is allocated an assortment of spells at random at the beginning of each game. There are various types of spells as follows:
Weapons & armour such as magic swords, shields and daggers (which affect your ability to deal damage and repel attacks). Environmental - such as 'Gooey Blobs' and 'Magic Fire' which can gradually creep across the arena consuming or trapping players & their creatures, 'Shadow Wood', which attacks adjacent players & creatures and 'Magic Wood', which you can hide in and eventually grants you a new spell before disappearing. Destructive spells - such as 'Magic Bolt' and 'Lightning', which has a chance of obliterating a player or creature
Creatures - these range from weak creatures like the 'King Cobra' and 'Giant Rat', to the fearsome 'Golden Dragon'. Then there are undead creatures, such as 'Vampires', 'Zombies' and 'Wraiths', which can only be attacked by other undead creatures or magic weapons. Then there are creatures like 'Centaurs', 'Horses' and the 'Pegasus', which can be mounted by the player - granting additional protection and scope to move their wizard further each turn.
Each spell you cast to summon these creatures has a certain chance of success...if you choose to summon a 'real' creature. However, you can be assured success if you cast an illusionary creature, (which can still deal the same damage as a 'real' creature). However, if you do take the chance of casting an illusionary creature, you run the risk of having another wizard cast the 'Disbelieve' spell. This instantly calls your bluff and your unreal creature disappears.
There are even more spells that can be used, such as 'Raise Dead', which can really turn a battle in your favour, especially if you resurrect an especially dangerous creature, such as a dragon. Then there's the rarely seen 'Turmoil' which effectively randomises everything on the playfield, which can turn a position of real strength on its' head (or vice versa).
Each game begins in a neutral universe, in which the standard chances of spell casting success are grounded. However, certain spells have a better chance of success in a Chaos universe, (e.g. Ghosts, Wraiths) or a Law universe (e.g. Elves, a Pegasus, etc). You can try to weigh the odds of spell success in your favour by casting Law or Chaos spells to affect the type of universe in which the game is progressing, thereby improving your chances of casting certain spells of that type.
The random nature of each game makes this one to play forever, as no two games will ever be the same. The tactics employed in each game will vary according not only to what spells you have, but what successful spells your opponents have managed to cast.
In my opinion, this is an all-time classic and its' author, Julian Gollop, (who is also the creative genius behind other classics like Rebelstar Raiders and its' successors, Laser Squad and the original UFO: Enemy Unknown), deserves every credit for making such a superb game.
Review by Steve Rowsell @darthsteve333
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Face the wrath of the Gods in this Spectrum game of the past.
For fans of mythological beasts and anything to do with Greek or Roman history
Hostages is a computer game developed by New Frontier and published by Infogrames. It was released for the Acorn Electron, Archimedes, Atari ST, Amiga, Apple IIGS, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, DOS, MSX, NES and ZX Spectrum platforms in 1988.