Dear Derek,
Here are some tips on Heavy on the Magick.

Locked doors with tables by them need keys. Locked doors with ornate pillars need passwords. For a door with a toll sign by it (ask Apex) a bag of gold is the key (put it on the table). To get past the fire use a salamander charm. To get past the water say ‘Water, fall’.

The password to the door on level 2 (‘the word is no word’) is ‘Door, silence’. The password for the door on Wolfdorp, level 1 (the first one, ‘Cry and enter door’) is ‘Door, wolf’. The password for the next one (‘It’s madness to enter’) is ‘Door, lunacy’.

To kill werewolves get the nougat (level 3) and go and swop it for the nugget (level 4). The nugget kills the werewolves on contact. To kill vampires you need the garlic (level 1). To kill slugs you need the pellet (you can get this by dropping a ball in its place).

To open locked doors you generally need a specific key. It is easiest to identify keys by the sign on the wall at the room they are found. All the signs represent the signs of the zodiac. To open the locked door for the room at Flox, use the Aries key. Taurus is for the room at Horns, Gemini for the room at Turo, Virgo for the room at Purity, Scorpio the room at Stings, Sagittarius for the room at Arrows, Capricorn for the one at Nani, Aquarius for the room at Rains, and Pisces for the room at Ichthys.

The cauldron is for resurrecting Ai (no, I don’t know either): go and collect the ulna, the thigh and the skull (the skull behind the wraith) and drop them in the cauldron (you’ll have to take out the scroll first). Then say, ‘Cauldron, achad’.

In one room there is a fire and nothing beyond it. In the fire is a nest. Get the shell (level 1) and swop it for the egg (level 2). Go to the nest (with the salamander charm) and drop the egg in it. Stand well back (to the right-hand side) and say, ‘Nest, phoenix’.

To invoke demons put the talisman on the floor as far as possible from a useful exit, stand by the exit and invoke the demon. The talisman for Magot is a sunflower, for Belezbar a mantis, and for Astarot a sword. Astarot sends you to any named area (‘Astarot, area’). I’m not sure what the others do. A good idea is to go out and come back in again and then you can invoke them again.

I play with skill as the highest attribute, then stamina, then luck. This way you can kill most regular monsters with a maximum of two blasts and the transfusion spell is more effective. These tips aren’t supposed to be complete, as I haven’t completed the game, but I hope they are useful.
Simon McGregor


Dear Derek,
The ever-thinning line that divides arcade adventures from ‘true’ adventures has finally been broken with the release of GARGOYLE GAME’S Heavy on the Magick. It combines the sophistication and text input of an adventure with the animated graphics and realtime action of an arcade game. No-one, be they arcade or adventure player, can possibly disagree that this game is the most exciting new concept in computer games since the likes of Shadowfire or Lords of Midnight.

After playing it non-stop for a while I am sending you some tips.

Naturally the first thing that you must do is take your Grimoire or spell-book, this will increase your skill a bit and will let you cast the spells BLAST, INVOKE and FREEZE. BLAST is the one for magickly destroying any nasties that get in your way (although most monsters can be avoided by not wasting time or going to pointless places).

When you enter a room with a monster that you wish to kill, just press B (for BLAST) and enter a dozen or so times. When the creature dies, press H (for HALT) and enter to stop the mindless BLASTing. INVOKE calls the demons Magot, Astarot, Asmodee and Belezbar, but as yet I have never found the objects that allow you to call them without being sent to the Furnace (not a nice place)! FREEZE suspends an item/monster so that you can walk past without harm. It won’t work on everything, wastes stamina points, and lasts for a very short time so it should be used as a last resort.

Apart from the Grimoire, the most useful thing in the game is your good friend Apex the Ogre. Be careful you do not annoy him by BLASTing or bumping into him as you may well be killed. But, if treated with respect and caution Apex will give you clues that are vital to solving the puzzles. For example, if Axil goes west from the start and follows the only route he soon meets an obstacle; a flowing fountain that he may not pass. He must ask his old friend Apex about it, so after collecting the CALL spell which can be found by going down to level three, eastwards, and then up to level two, he tries CALL APEX. A flash of Magick and Apex explodes from nothingness, ready to be of assistance.

In the terse but adequate language of Magick, Axil tries to get some clues. ‘APEX, FOUNTAIN’ he says, which roughly trans lated means ‘Apex, please tell me something about this fountain'? ‘IT’S WATER’ answers Apex simply. Thus guided, Axil tries again: ‘APEX, WATER’. ‘TALK DOWN TO IT’ the wise Apex suggests. Thinks Axil, odd, but it’s worth a try. ‘WATER, DOWN’ he commands. ‘WHOOSH WHOOSH’ gurgles the water, and ignores him. Hmm, too obvious, thinks Axil. He tries the more cunning ‘WATER, FALL’ and with a ‘trickle’ the water recedes back into its fountain. The way is clear! ‘APEX, THANKS’ says a grateful Axil, and with a quick ‘GLAD TO BE OF HELP’, Apex disappears as quickly as he came. The way is clear, and Axil has solved his first puzzle!
Anthony Bailey

I’m told there should be a map of HEAVY ON THE MAGICK in Hannah Smith’s Playing Tips this month — check it out!


Dear Derek,
For purposes of amusement I have compiled the ‘Seven Deadly Sins of Adventure Writing’, complete with explanations/examples.


Not very common nowadays, but Location Death is, witness Spellbound. It might be argued that Random Death adds authenticity to a game, after all, people go down when they’re not expecting it in the real world. However, a player might get hit by a meteorite while playing an adventure so the ‘realistic’ element is already there. There’s no need to add to it.


No, not Edgar. Imagine you’re a Hobbit being carried by Thorin when suddenly a Goblin approaches. You slip on the magic ring... or you’re standing inside a barrel, and you think, ‘I wonder what happens if I try to lift it up while I’m in it?’. Instead of the usual lyrical ‘You Can’t’ it’s CRASH... The moral: don’t try to be adventurous!


During your quest for the Eye of Bain you chance upon a desert nomad. You have honey and a dagger, but only one guess as to what to do next. If you get it wrong, he kills you. Fortunately you saved your position but you have to reload after each attempt of GIVE MONEY, OFFER HONEY, KILL NOMAD, USE DAGGER, STAB NOMAD, FIGHT NOMAD before he finally succumbs to THROW DAGGER. Consequently you spend more time on the cassette recorder than on the computer.


The best example I can think of for this is Demon Knight. I had a jewelled knife (not a sacrificial knife). There was a cow in a farmyard and not an altar in sight (or anywhere else in the game). I was unable to KILL, CUT or KNIFE cow. I eventually SACRIFICED it.

A similar problem is sheer absence of meaning. In The Hobbit, it is necessary to WAIT, WAIT, E. So what does WAIT mean? Five minutes? Ten minutes? Is Lord of the Rings as bad I wonder.


Sometimes the writer’s intentions are manifest: a gun will only work when it’s pointed at the person destined to die, or you can swim in one lake but not another. This is quite forgiveable, of course. What did surprise me, however, was this situation: I was at the bottom of a pit. I was unable to use the ladder to climb out, but I WAS able to escape by means of the rope. The ladder, incidentally, had no purpose in the game, Inca Curse. Admittedly it’s an old game, but that’s no excuse.


You don’t expect to be able to examine everything, and it isn’t such a crime to get ‘You examine the SKIMHJZ. It is nothing special’ to the input EXAMINE SKIMHJZ. However, some things require more information. In The Hobbit you see a window. Is it open or closed? In The Helm, you receive a bulb. Is it a torch bulb? A lupin bulb? You may never know.


I’m not getting at Final Mission where they’re justified. But take Hampstead. Entering the kitchen is simple, but as for leaving it ... None of the warnings as in Classic Adventure where you’re told, ‘You can climb down safely but you might not be able to climb up...’
A Meithan

I like your idea of listing the seven deadly sins a lot. If only authors would realise just how annoying some of these adventure cliches can be. Have any other readers got any deadly sins they’d like to send in?


Dear Derek,
Since D Foster and Joel Morris have sent in routines to print out useful bits of text from adventures, I wrote this one. It prints all the text on adventures written using The Quill. Type LOAD "" CODE and wait for the OK message then type in this short program and run it. After about a screen of rubbish the text will start to appear. Have fun!

10 FOR N = 25000 TO 64000
20 LET Z = 223 - PEEK N +32
30 IF Z < 32 OR Z > 164 THEN GO TO 50

Richard Heywood

This is one of many such routines all sent in this month!


Dear Derek,
I am writing not, surprise surprise, on the well worn subject of Dungeons and Dragons and other role playing games, but on the subject of Lord of the Rings. Being addicted to Tolkien’s books I rushed out to buy both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I have been disappointed with both games. The games themselves are both very good; The Hobbit was definitely the forerunner of today’s adventures and has opened the hobby to many computer owners who were arcade freaks but are now adventurers.

To most adventurers the games are good, but to anyone who has read the books more than once and also read various other books by various authors like The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth by Robert Foster, the games fall from being great to being borderline. The reasons for this are the failure to follow the storyline of the book closely enough and the lack of Tolkienesque atmosphere. Whenever I play these games I try to block out the connection with Tolkien or I begin to think the books are bad.

The Hobbit, although not following the book very closely, has somehow got all the atmosphere of the book and is therefore more enjoyable to me. With Lord of the Rings, Philip Mitchell has tried too hard in some places and in others he has totally ignored important aspects of the book. He describes Weathertop as a flat-topped mountain and the Black Riders don’t go there, which is totally different to the chapter ‘Knife in the Dark’. Therefore Frodo is not wounded which would have made the game more realistic because Athelas would have had to be found and there would also be a time limit to reaching Rivendell. Gildor the Elf plays an important part in the Beginners’ Game but is sadly missing in the game proper. Somehow the atmosphere is lost in the game. There are none of the green rolling hills and fields, cool fir forests and roadside hedges with ripe berries and chirping birds.

In other places, Mr Mitchell has attempted to include some of the history for which Tolkien is so well known but it seems so out of place as it bears no relation to the game eg Kheled-Zaram where Gimli sees the reflection of Dunin’s Grown. To players who know the book this sort of thing is good to see as it proves that Mr Mitchell has read the book closely, but to people who are not Tolkien addicts, they must seem odd as they look significant but are in fact just scenery.

Mr Mitchell had to change the story otherwise the game would be just too easy but he changes the wrong points — Weathertop for instance. It is good that he has kept the crossing of the ford close to the storyline. There are points, however, that totally ruin the game for me. They are the photographs, gramophone, and of course, the bugs! (I won’t even mention the so-called graphics).

Climbing down the tree in the Old Forest gives the message, ‘You climb down the map’. Killing the Black Riders’ horses later shows ‘Three Black Riders mounted on three black horses’ (which are dead), strange!

Having the poems and songs in the game would be a good idea but it would be pointless to have them in the game itself so why not have them on side two? Donald Swan and Tolkien wrote a book called ‘The Road Goes Ever On’ with all the songs set to music so it would be a good idea to have these songs on the tape in the next game so it can be played for inspiration!

Finally, because of official licence and all that, a better version of the game can’t be written I suspect, so all us Tolkien fans have to just grin and bear it, hoping that part two will be better.
David Bovill

This month’s £20 software prize goes to A Neithan for his original letter on the deadly sins of adventuring.