Magic Carpet 2
When It Comes To Strategy that Magic Carpet won every award ever. The journalists (especially French ones) were falling like ninepins, spooging all over themselves, and generally clap-clap-clapping those jolly old Bullfrog boys. And the game was, indeed, bloody impressive. It was an unbelievable realtime landscape-o-rama™, undulating water, castles and edifices morphing out of the texture-mapped, light-shaded ground. An interesting setting, namely an Arabic/Persian locale (baggy trousered populace, scimitars etc), some cool spells including earthquake, meteor and volcano, and the usual Bullfrog mish-mash of mana, castles, little people, and 'thinky bits'. It was the first action game to have a svga option and it even had a stereogram mode ("Do you see an elephant? I see a bottle of Bacardi. Is that Jenny Agutter?" said the spectators). It looked great on paper, even better in the flesh, played well, stunned hundreds. All in all, it managed to make Doom look like a badly programmed batch file (well, maybe).
But then, it just sort of disappeared.
That was because it didn't really grab. There just wasn't enough variation of scenery. The gameplay was a little too much of a mix between the cerebral and the shooty. It was hard to tell ' exactly what to do next; the opposing wizards were too fast and clever and the interface was a little tricky to operate in the heat of battle. And there were too many spells to manage. The Americans didn't like it much either, despite its Doom-beating, eight-player network option. However, now Magic Carpet II: Netherworlds has been released to correct those faults and hopefully drag us gameplayers screaming and kicking away from Doom. Yeah, like, as if... right?
Woven floor covering with supernatural tendencies
For the non-French journalists among us, Magic Carpet places you in the curly shoes of an Arabian wizard's apprentice, astride an aerodynamic paranormal rug. Fated to save the world before Oprah starts, you have to trek through 30-odd levels, restoring the 'mana balance' of the world. Mana is contained in the wonderful menagerie of monsters who rove the misty islets, mountainous outcrops, and wide open seas of the magic lands. Once pounded with an appropriate amount of fireballs, the monsters explode into mana balls which have to be tagged as yours with a possession spell. Mana is the foundation of your castle which you create from a single turret at the beginning of the game. Balloons are sent out to collect and deliver possessed mana balls back to your keep. The more mana you have, the bigger your castle. The bigger your castle, the larger your mana reserves, and the more power you have for the spells you've collected. The more powerful spells you collect, the more monsties you can kill. And so on and so forth...
Things are slightly complicated by the existence of other wizards who are intent on doing the same thing as you. As the castles grow bigger and the monsters scarcer, the quest for mana becomes an all out war as you and the rest of the mages tussle over stray balls, attack each others' balloons, attempt to destroy rival castles, and launch ever more powerful spells at all and sundry.
If you play it safe and sneak around the landscape, you can usually avoid trouble - but then you get no mana. If you attack another player's balloon, he'll come and eke revenge on you. Bug him a bit more and he'll go off and start blatting your castle. And once your castle's weakened, the other players wade in with their fireballs, hoping to rid themselves of a competitor. So you can find yourself fending off six wizards simultaneously. And then you die.
The matter is further complicated by the amorality of the monsters, who just wander around picking on anything that moves. Perhaps not much of a hassle if it's a giant bee or a skeleton or something, but seriously threatening if you come up against a dragon, or a leviathan, or extremely large demon. You want more complications? Okay. On each level there's usually a band of human settlers, whose tents or houses ; you can possess to 'borrow' their mana. But if you accidentally fry a couple of innocents or, you know, make a volcano appear in their town square, they turn against you and attack your castle. Just as an added complexity bonus, each level is fraught with hotspots which trigger events, which of course are usually nasty. One minute you could be flying gleefully to a store of mana, and then next a massive whirlwind might pop up out of nowhere and scrunch you into a little pellet. Or you might see a clutch of huge mana balls in an idyllic looking oasis in the middle of the desert. Possess one of them though and a hundred zombie warlords materialise out of the haze and attack you en masse. Nasty.
Magic Carpet has a mouse/keyboard control system which allows you -luckily - to deal with these hazards and perform some nifty airborne stunts which would make your favourite flight-sim chum black out and puke in his helmet (the one he wears when he plays Apache in the sad little mock cockpit he's installed in his lounge). For a start, you never crash into the landscape. Your magic rug cleverly hugs the terrain, no matter how high or low it goes, leaving you free to strafe left and right, and acceleration/slowdown with the cursors. The mouse is used to turn and to dip if required, and a spell can be assigned to each mouse button, giving you simultaneous offensive and defensive capabilities. All this means you can rake the landscape with fireballs, whip into a canyon for cover, tear out, top a mountain, and zoom down at mach three to re-engage your target. All this freedom of movement gives you time to be not only devastating skillful, but also rather creative with your spell-casting.
Spells are either found around the landscape or among the charred remains of your competitors. You start with a simple fireball/possession combo, and move up slowly through the 25 ranks, which fall into three main categories: Defensive. Offensive, and Down Right Silly. On the defensive side, there's invisible, shield, teleport, and Summon Army, which creates a little flotilla of monsties to do your bidding. Offensives are the typically magic fare -lightning bolts, fireballs, meteors, whirlwinds, and mines. In the Down Right Silly category, however, things get interesting. There's a whole vista of spells for destroying and redesigning the landscape, from Crater (which creates a mere pockmark) to Earthquake (which splits a huge ravine into the land). Volcano to Gravity Well (which sucks all nearby organic beings to Hell). To further increase your armoury, each spell has three power levels, which you can access by gaining experience with the spell. The fireball, for instance, starts off bog standard, evolves into a rapid fireball, and then finally into a devastating fire storm.
Magic Carpet II seems to have addressed both the long and shortcomings of its predecessor. The story driven plot makes much more sense than the aimless realm-wandering of the original (even though it uses annoying rpg names like C'Lannesh. Vissuluth and Zyggog). The change of settings to day and night, overground and underground works well, and the gameplay is much more staged and has less of the whaddya-do-next about it. The opposing wizards, too, seemed to be toned down a bit.
Although they move as fast and are as clever as their predecessors, they no longer spend hours frustratingly attacking your balloons or ganging up (as often) on your castle. And they seem to die much easier. The new monsters are good, although the new hulking non-polygon leviathan is a bit crap, and the sound, from the echoey plink of water in the underground caverns to the ricocheting bullet fx of the rebound spell, is excellent and gives the game a very moody feel. And. joy upon joys, the 3D studio-rendered intro isn't as long, boring or gratuitous as the last one (where wizard apprentice battles impressive dragon and takes about 17 minutes. 400 camera angles, eight Mens effects', five posh spinning things and 183MB of cd space to do so).
On the physical side, the engine seems slightly enhanced. Magic Carpet II runs much faster on a P90 than the first game and Bullfrog has dropped the flashier graphical options (motion blur, anti-aliasing and stereogram), svga doesn't seem to run much faster, even with the sky. shadows and reflections turned off. but it's still the most advanced and best looking 3D engine around. Not even Terminal Velocity could take that accolade away.
If I had to make one gripe about Magic Carpet II. it would be that it's now too easy. I didn't have to replay a level once. The spells are a bit too powerful and too numerous too quickly. Never was my castle completely destroyed. The other wizards all fell after a bit of 'gentle' prodding. Some of the monsters gave me a bit of gip. especially ones which appeared unexpectedly, but I was never seriously threatened. They're not that much cleverer than Doom's, and it's fairly easy to lead them around the landscape, circling and fireballing them into oblivion. Even the dreaded Wyvern, which appeared around level 17 of the 30-odd missions, didn't give me much pause - it soon fell to a few well-placed volcano spells. It seems in erasing all the technicalities of the first game and all the bits the Americans didn't understand (ie almost everything) Bullfrog has made Magic Carpet II a little too much of a breeze for hardened gameplayers and reflex masters. Abject lack of serial, modem, or parallel play doesn't help.
Neither does the use of the less prolific and substantially less fast netbios over ipx network play. And. let's face it. any game featuring a realm called Zyggogg has got to be joking.
Watch out Macca, you'll give yourself Carpet bums
Aside from all that. Magic Carpet II had me gripped. Glued. Attached. Airfixed. Nailed. Rivetted. Bolted. Tied. Stuck. Transfixed. Yeah, it has faults. But hey -who doesn't? Jesus lost his temper once, right? The litmus test for cool games is not based on graphics, fancy engines, spinning rotatey sprites, or even fun value. Graphics pale, engines wear off, rotatey sprites annoy, and even fun fades away - just think of your average orgasm. (Speak for yourself - Ed). There's only one currency here, and that's addiction. That stomachy, got-to-have-one-more-go-god-damnit compulsion to play, a game so addictive it keeps you up so late playing it that you wake up with puffy little pig eyes and a bushy '1970s' haircut. Magic Carpet II's got it.
Download Magic Carpet 2
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
MCII will enable you to zoom back into the 50 mystical worlds of the original Magic Carpet to find new underground and night levels. You'll also have to discover new sets of spells, which you need to conquer entirely new adversaries and monsters. Bullfrog's also souped up the flight engine, so your rad rug now flies faster and smoother.
Climb aboard a magic carpet for the sequel to one of the top PC games. Bullfrog's rewed this version with all-new levels (including both underground and night levels), snazzy special landscape effects, additional sets of spells, and a horde of new creatures and monsters. An updated flight engine lends the carpet smoother movement through the air. Up to eight players (via a network) can explore the Netherworlds from a first-person view.
Magic Carpet took off like a supersonic jet last year thanks to its fabulous first-person flying-carpet action. This sequel's filled with improvements, including 75 percent faster speed, 50 new levels (including day, night, and cavern areas), 11 new monsters, and 11 new spells. The objectives in the mission-based levels range from finding magic objects to destroying entire buildings. Up to eight players can go head-to-head via a network.
There are many great games on the market, but only a few of them can be labeled truly innovative and groundbreaking. Magic Carpet happens to be just one of those games.
Its sequel, MC2: The Netherworlds is very similar to its predecessor, but includes some very impressive features. The flight engine has been improved to run over 70 percent faster, plus there are now underground and night levels to test your skill and an eight-player network support.