Magic and Mayhem

Quite the fascinating spell system we have here.

5_1Magic and Mayhem comes from Mythos, the guys famous for the creation of X-Com. A game that combines elements of role-playing with strategy, action and puzzles, Magic and Mayhem almost succeeds in creating a new category. Set in a world ripe with magic and mythology, you play a young mage, Cornelius, who seeks to uncover the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his mentor. The result is adventures that will span three islands, which will uncover new mysteries and make new friends, and force you to face a multitude of challenges, puzzles and enemies.

Magic and Mayhem is loosely based on the old Mythos classic Chaos. The diversity in the design and implementation of the magic system is very interesting. There are three different spell types: lawful, neutral, and chaotic. Each class of spell is represented by its own different colored talisman. There are 21 different ingredients in the game; each allows a different spell when placed in one of the three talismans. This allows quite a diverse selection of spells, including 21 Creature spells (from Elves to Dragons) and 42 other spells including Tornado, Iron Skin, and Meteor Strike spells. The spells can be combined for added diversity, and the balance and counterbalance for individual spells is so well designed that discovering and effectively merging them into effective combined spell types can be a formidable task.

As your character advances through the game territories, he is awarded experience points by completing objectives, activating events, or finding special items. The subtle challenge is to distribute the points wisely between procuring additional talismans, increasing your health, Mana (needed for spells), and control limits (affects maximum number of duration of spells).

8_1Visually, Magic and Mayhem is somewhat behind the curb, but it’s certainly a joy to watch the effects of your spells in action. Magic and Mayhem includes some features you might expect from the makers of XCOM, including the ability to pause the action and issue orders. This can be a godsend; though the AI is adequate in most cases, it does seem to suffer from sporadic stupidity. Magic and Mayhem is one of those rare engaging games that offers a fair amount of complexity, but is still easy enough to jump right into… a tribute to the elegant simplicity of the interface design.

System Requirements: Pentium 133 Mhz, 32 MB RAM, 100 MB HDD, Windows 95/98

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