|Platform Reviewed||IBM PC|
|Genre||Strategic Shoot and Collect|
|Number of Players||1 (8 possible in Network mode)|
|Multiplayer Value||High (Only in Network mode)|
|Skills Required||Twitch, Some Strategy|
|Interface Devices||Joystick, Mouse, Keyboard|
|Interface Design||Adequate. Interface is mixed, requiring switching devices.|
|Programming||Technologically Amazing, but laced with bugs|
|Game Design and Playability||Excellent Design, Excellent Fun|
|Type Of Fun||Shoot and Collect|
|Replay Value||Low to Moderate|
|Quality||Could Be Better, Somewhat Buggy|
|The Best||Superior graphics and riveting gameplay, a game to stun even the jaded|
|The Worst||Obviously rushed to meet deadline, interface is mixed, some bugs|
|How much would I be willing to pay for this||40 bucks (60 if the bugs were fixed)|
|WINDOWS 95 UPDATE||On a top end Pentium with the best in hardware, and running from Windows 95, I have experienced no more problems with Magic Carpet 2. If your machine has the beef, then Magic Carpet 2 will butter your buns. Absolutely recommended for the high power user.|
Magic Carpet 2 is the sequel to, obviously, Magic Carpet. The Player assumes the role of a carpet riding sorcerer out to save the Netherworld by slaughtering legions of beasts whilst collecting the resultant gobbets of spiritual energy. Game play consists of accomplishing set tasks which inevitably require blasting and collecting. When all tasks are completed, the player is free to advance to the next level.
After saving the Shattered World of Magic Carpet 1, the gifted apprentice must again rise to the task of liberating the Netherworlds so as to prevent a demonic invasion of his home plane. The player is guided throughout by the voice of the apprentice's deceased mentor.
Magic Carpet was an almost revolutionary game, expanding upon the popularity of fast action, first-person 3D shooting games pioneered by Wolfenstein 3D, and even Battlezone long before that. Magic Carpet 2 evolves upon the achievement of the first Magic Carpet by adding more direction and purpose, and advancing the incredible technology that is the Carpet engine. New underground and nighttime environments, lit by sourced lighting, are nothing less than awe inspiring. The addition of minor strategy and empire building elements have always made Magic Carpet more than a completely mindless bit O' carnage. Though lacking some of the suspense of a corridor based Doom, or Quake, Magic Carpet 2 makes up for this with the sheer exhilaration of godlike power. The player is little less than a demigod, and creating and destroying life-size mountains and continents in real time is giddy stuff when compared to a relative pop-gun like Doom's BFG 9000.
However, all is not perfect in this rug-riding paradise. The interface is mixed, forcing the joystick user to switch interface devices on the main map, a design flaw of less than professional quality. All functions of a program should be made accessible to a single interface device, once that device is selected - only then is complete immersion possible. The player should never be reminded that they are playing on a machine, rather they should simply and seamlessly PLAY. There are bugs and flaws in the program code, some fatal. When tested on several configurations of vanilla 486 machines, the program would run perfectly until I began to deviate from the proscribed tasks. Often, finding those Oh-So-Addictive hidden areas would result in the program crashing upon finishing the level. Turning off the Sky feature reduced crashes, but did not eliminate them.
This is the first program by Bullfrog I have ever discovered a fatal crash bug in. I can only assume that the acquisition of Bullfrog by Electronic Arts forced a deadline race to release Magic Carpet 2 prior to the Cashmas Season buying frenzy. As Bullfrog has always been one of my favorite game companies because of both their innovation and bulletproof programming, to find any degree of slipshod coding on their part is a serious letdown.
Even so, If you can find a way to work around the bugs, and especially if EA/Bullfrog releases a patch or fix for free (listen up, EA !), Magic Carpet 2 is definitely top of the line entertainment. It is among the finest game value your money can buy. I just hope this Electronic Arts - Bullfrog marriage does not lead to some deformed offspring.
WINDOWS 95 UPDATE: On a top end Pentium with the best in hardware, and running from Windows 95, I have experienced no more problems with Magic Carpet 2. If your machine has the beef, then Magic Carpet 2 will butter your buns. Absolutely recommended for the high power user.
Jennifer Diane Reitz is a Game Designer and Computer Artist, and one of the founders of Happy Puppy. She is the creator of numerous games and software products, including Boppin' , Shark Chums, Elsewhere, and many others. She has worked for such companies as Activision, Sculptured Software, Epyx, SRI, and Electronic Arts, and founded Accursed Toys. She has been active in the computer gaming industry since it's earliest days. She considers games to be works of artistic merit and achievement, and views computer entertainment as the most important media of our era.