Release 63: September 16, 1985Release 87: September 4, 1986
Spellbreaker is an interactive fiction computer game written by Dave Lebling and released by Infocom in 1985, the third and final game in the "Enchanter Trilogy." It was released for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 8-bit family, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Macintosh, and MS-DOS. It is Infocom's eighteenth game.
Over the course of events in the trilogy's earlier games from 956 to 957 GUE (Enchanter and Sorcerer), the player's character has progressed from a novice wizard possessing a few weak spells to the leader of the Circle of Enchanters. Now, in 966 GUE (ten years after the events of Enchanter), the very foundations of Magic itself seem to be failing, and the leaders of all the Guilds in the land have gathered to demand answers. In the midst of this impassioned meeting, the crowd is suddenly transformed into a group of toads and newts. Everyone present is affected except for the player and a shadowy figure who flees the hall.
In the course of investigating the mystery, the player learns new, powerful spells that must be used in novel ways. But since magic is no longer dependable, each spell has a chance of failing. The only objects that can help to shore up the effectiveness of sorcery are the Cubes of Foundation, each of which can transport the player to a different location and strengthen certain spells.
Eventually the player discovers a terrible secret: the shadowy figure responsible for all this chaos is a dark twin. Even with magic, every action has an equal and opposite reaction; and with every spell cast, the player's opposite has grown stronger. Finally, this evil being seizes the magic cubes and uses them to construct a portal which will bestow near-infinite power. The only way to defeat the doppelgänger is to sabotage the portal, an action which also leads to the destruction of all magic.
Spellbreaker was no exception to Infocom's long-standing tradition of including extra items in the game package. The feelies for this game included:
- A Frobozz Magic Magic Equipment Catalog, Special Crisis Edition
- An Enchanter's Guild pin
- Six "Enchanter cards", baseball card-like items each containing a picture and information about legendary wizards
In keeping with another Infocom tradition, these feelies also provided a measure of protection against software piracy. At one point in the game, Belboz would ask a question whose answer could be found on one of the Enchanter cards.
As the final game of a series, Spellbreaker was intended to be very difficult; Computer Gaming World's Scorpia stated, "This one is a toughie, folks." Labeled as an "Expert"-level game, it is widely regarded as one of Infocom's toughest releases. Some players even criticized it as an effort to boost sales of the InvisiClues hint system. Perhaps due to its legendary difficulty, Spellbreaker was never as popular as either of its predecessors in the Enchanter trilogy, despite a fair deal of critical acclaim.
One of the game's innovations among Infocom's works was the ability to "name" objects. As the player collects twelve "featureless white cubes", it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between them. The game, however, provides a burin with which the player can "write" a word or phrase on a cube, and thereafter refer to the cube by that inscription.
During development, Spellbreaker's working title was Mage.
- Scorpia (March 1986). "Spellbreaker" (PDF). Computer Gaming World (26): 12–13. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
- Ardai, Charles (Aug–Sep 1987). "Titans of the Computer Gaming World / Part IV of V: Ardai on Infocom" (PDF). Computer Gaming World (39): 38–39, 46–47. Retrieved 14 August 2016.