Thanks go out to Nils for the link to this very cool Shockwave game created by Steve Riddett of the MetalBox.com.
Merlin's Revenge is a cute little adventure in which you play as Merlin on a quest to save your brother, Berlin, who is kidnapped by the evil Scarlet Wizard.
As Merlin, your primary method of attack is, of course, magic, and the mouse is used to aim and fire a burst of energy. Simply move the mouse to where the enemy is and click. Hold down the mouse button for a larger, and more lethal, charge. Your magic skills as a wizard can be improved upon by collecting potions along the way. Red ones increase the blast size, blue increases the blast charge speed, purple increases the initial blast size, and green increases the rate that Merlin walks, and therefore is able to avoid enemies easier. You will also find Medkits that completely restore Merlin's health.
Use the arrow keys to move Merlin around the map. Your quest takes you from area to area making your way to the Scarlet Wizard's Post to the north. As you enter a new infested area, you must kill all of the enemies in it before the exits are enabled, but once you clear an area it remains cleared.
It's a fun game with pleasing pixel-style tiled graphics and cool effects. And while there isn't much use of sound in the game, the sound effects that are used fit the action well. But it's not an easy game, and there is no way to save your progress mid-game, which means if you die you must start again from the beginning. That is my only complaint, so far, but it is one that Steve addresses in Merlin's Revenge 2. And he's already begun work on the third game in the series.
Merlin's Revenge 2 is a rather better game: other than saving (and thus much less frustration), it's also much bigger and with more interesting enemies and more spells.
I rather like these games in that, in addition to being nicely polished (graphically and UI-wise; I really like the red/green arrows that indicate if a screen's been cleared), they have a pretty interesting control and gameplay: you move with the arrows, but choose a target with the mouse (no, this really isn't like an FPS: you're moving two separate points in space, rather than moving and aiming); further, the force of the blasts (which stun the opponents and fling 'em around the screen) allows pretty dramatic and (more importantly) interesting gameplay: you can move enemies around. In MR2, the damage system is also very good: you pick up health pack, and when you get injured you slowly heal (draining the health packs), so damage has a 2-fold effect: short-term, if you get hit often in a short time, you die; long-term, getting hit drains your health packs. They also sacrifice "realism" for gameplay quite appropriately: when moving through boards you've already beaten, you walk very fast and aren't slowed down by terrain (as that would just be annoying). The loading and saving is also elegant (no futzing with choosing savefiles or whatever) -- about all I'd wish for is a "quick-save" key, given how you'll prolly want to save after each board.
Both games are "classic CRPGs" in that by the end you're so powerful that the game becomes pretty easy (especially MR2, with the golden machine gun and the beam).
What most bothers me about MR1 (other than having to restart at the beginning) is that you'll often be cruising along, doing okay, and then suddenly get piled on and die instantly. That is, instead of getting somewhat beat up but surviving (and thus going "phwew! I could have died!") you get wasted -- and of course with no save, this is pretty annoying. [Concretely, this is because a few enemies will all shoot you at once.]
In both games, the main strategy is to keep moving, so the enemies can't get a lock on you. This doesn't work all the time (especially when there's lots of enemies), but it's the key principle; indeed, when fighting against shooting enemies, running back and forth works pretty well -- ideally you'll get them shooting in sync, and then they'll just fire at the endpoints of your back-and-forth, always missing. Beyond that, shooting one enemy repeatedly (thus stunning them and preventing them from firing), hiding behind terrain (where they can't reach you), and herding enemies (having them chase you and come together so they're all one big blob) all work pretty well.
Some other notable features are: where (from which entrance) you enter a board often matters a lot, though this just means that if you're stuck in a corner and get hammered, you probably want to retry the board; the pit monster in MR2 attacks enemies too, so you can use this (nice touch).
There's also cheat codes so you can tweak the difficulty: k kills all enemies on the screen, while in MR2 there's also i for invulnerability and m for an extra med kit. The "kill all enemies" somewhat alleviates the lack of a savegame in MR1: you can just kill all the screens you've already cleared. You can also use it to explore the map before attempting it properly, but this ruins a bit of the surprise.
I didn't find MR1 to be so difficult: so long as you keep moving and the enemies are all on one side, it's reasonably manageable but challenging. You should go right first (as suggested in the intro) and clear that area out first (maybe taking out the first screen or two directly north of the start first), as you'll get a huge number of powerups and the rest of the game will become relatively easy. Beyond that, just to the right of the entrace to the castle (the first place you encounter the birds) is the last powerup screen -- after that you can go directly to the boss.
There's also a bit of humor (and a lot of silliness) in them.
One caveat: these games take an inordinate amount of computer power (especially for such small games!), presumably because shockwave is slow -- a problem for we users of older computers.
All in all, delightfully made games with pretty interesting gameplay.
if you type m you will get a meticpack
this game kicks so much ass
Did anyone realise that if you press k, the monsters die instantly?
This game sure as hell takes alot of CPU power.
My Processor temp rose by over 15C after playing for only 30 mins..
Be careful guys.. BTW, I have a Intel P4 1.7 GHZ. Would be better to have an AMD seeing as all I do is play games.
adeel, i think it's you... o.O im playing this on my puny 700mhz celeron right now, no issues.
this game is alright, but i think i'll try the other ones instead. ^_^
Holy crap, gigantul, thanks for the tip!
Blah, I suppose I should say Nils von Barth. I didn't see his info until after. :) Still, both games are really fun. I do agree with Nils, I like the second level better. The bigger area of travel is much more enjoyable. I can't wait for number 3.
Terrific little game. But you should deffinitely play the second one first. It gives you great practice to solve the first one without unnecessary frustration (after playing through the second one I cleared the first one without dying once).
am i the only person who finds this impossible to play on a laptop? i can't move and fire at the same time, given firing is controlled by the trackpad, and moving is controlled by arrow keys. being right-handed, i can't control his aiming and firing well with my left hand on the trackpad.
seems an odd way to design the controls.
I never use my trackpad, even for non-game related work on my laptop. It just doesn't give me the level of control I am used to with a mouse.
Using a trackpad for games would likely be an exercise in frustration to me.
I believe the control in this game was not designed for a trackpad, but with your right (or left) hand on the mouse, and your other on the cursor keys.
Rali Ho! These Merlin's Revenge
games are addictive.
Fun little game, but I'd like to be able to modify the controls. As a right-hander with a laptop touchpad mouse, I have to use my left hand to control the cursor, and I hardly ever have to do that otherwise. Other than that, I like it.
I just saw neon m's comment
You guys should check out MR3, its out now!
Its got ninja, and lightning guys,and goblin swordsmen, and army summon spell to summon swordsmen, archer,monk,and dwarf.Also it has mine spell,and pulse spell!
P.S.:Download my fangame or perish i north korea!!!!
MR3 is not out yet, it's in beta, and this is what Steve at MetalBox has to say about it...
We will review the final MR3 on a page of its own when it's finally released. Check the main page of JIG regularly to keep up with the latest games being released! =)
waiting for level 3 and thaks to gigantal for "k" key cheat
Still can't figure out how to get the guys so I can summon them...
If anyone's interested, MR3 has now been finished and released (http://www.themetalbox.com/?page=merlin_3) but it has quite a small map unfortunately. Has anyone noticed that i makes you temporarily invisible?
PS: Has no-one mentioned that it's Steve, not Scott?
Oops. I don't know how that happened. I've fixed it, assuming you're correct and I was wrong. Thanks for that.
The spells and cheats I know in ->MR2<- are as follows - Energy Blast - The basic spell, hold mouse button to fire a bigger blast. Summon - you can summon bowman, skeleton and army guy. Energy Laser - my favourite spell, its shoots out powerful lasers...Very useful with the Golden Machine Gun. Morph - Im not sure how this works. "K" - In a map with monsters, pressing this will instantly kill all monsters. "M" - Anywhere, one press will add 1 Medical Kit to your inventory (Max is 99, add 1 more after 99 and will restart it..So i suggest you you put 75 and continue).
anyone got a map for MR1?