Alchemist (video game)

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Alchemist
Alchemist
Screenshot of Spectrum version
Developer(s) Ian Weatherburn
Publisher(s) Imagine Software
Platform(s) ZX Spectrum
Release date(s) 1983
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution Cassette

Alchemist is a computer game developed by Ian Weatherburn for the ZX Spectrum and released by Imagine Software in 1983. It is an action-adventure video game in which the player controls an alchemist who may shape-shift into a golden eagle.

History[edit]

Alchemist was authored by Ian Weatherburn and Paul Lindale, and was Imagine's first arcade adventure.[1] This release was also the first piece of software to be released on a gold-coloured cassette and box.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

The player controls a skilled alchemist, who has been summoned to defeat an evil warlock. The game takes place in the warlock's castle, with the objective of finding four pieces of a magic scroll. This will allow the alchemist to use the "Spell of Destruction" to defeat the warlock.

The alchemist can transform into a golden eagle, requiring the use of spell energy. Transforming between the two is essential to completing the game: The alchemist can hurl lightning bolts and other spells, but the eagle form is required to negotiate steep hills or drops.[3] The alchemist can only carry one item at a time and food needs to be found during the game to keep stamina levels up. Movement, bumping into objects, or transforming depletes stamina.[3] Fighting monsters also reduces stamina although this can be mitigated by carrying an axe or sword.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Alchemist was critically well received on release. Its atmosphere and play style drew comparisons with Atic Atac.[2][3] Sinclair User highlighted Alchemist's cartoon graphics and storyline.[2] CRASH praised the game's presentation, graphics and "spooky organ tune". While the exploration of the castle was a draw for one reviewer, overall opinions about the game's addictiveness was mixed.[3] In CRASH's 1984 retrospective, it was felt that the graphics in Alchemist, whilst detailed, had not aged well. The jerky scrolling, poor keyboard layout and lack of replayability were also criticised.[1] Your Spectrum highlighted the alchemist character's graphic, and his eagle transformation animation.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Crashback". CRASH (Newsfield) (8): p.67. September 1984. 
  2. ^ a b c "Soft Centre". Sinclair User (24): p. iii. March 1984. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Reviews". CRASH (Newsfield) (2): p.13. March 1984. 
  4. ^ "ZX Spectrum Software". Your Spectrum 4 (3): p. 70. March 1984. 

External links[edit]