Spirits and Spells


Review by Nathan Dunsmore



Graphics: 6

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 3

Overall: 3


Winter and Halloween (a blanket term referring to anything fixed in a dusky, cryptic tone) stages are commonly used mercilessly to create diversity in the standard adventure/platformer. Often times, they can be handled very well, giving just the perfect dose of the holiday. Rarely, a game is made chartering the event, in which instance the appeal is put at risk, and limitations come to surface.

spiritsspells1gc.jpg (32925 bytes)Straight from the pages of a haunted book, a raw voice tells the story about a group of children seeking out the ultimate house for candy on Halloween night. Lingering in the shadows, the ghost story legend the Bogeyman turns the children into stone. All except a little witch Alicia and devil Greg. Together the two friends enter the world of the dead to break the Bogeyman’s spell.

Since this World of the Dead allows only one person in at a time, players will need to hopscotch between both characters to advance through heaps of brain dead puzzles and obstacles. As the witch, Alicia can throw her hat and make water turn to ice so it is safe to cross. As the devil, Greg twirls his spear and ignites flames to light up dark areas. Their one-hit health system is something of the past in today’s platformers, and is sure to infuriate the younger set.

Control holds up when attacking and jumping and coursing through the same vein as Crash Bandicoot and Donald Duck: Goin Quackers (a mediocre platformer), you will be doing lots of it. No matter where you are though, the camera may turn rebellious with no way to tweak it. All the player follows is a linear path, a camera problem should not even exist. The list of complaints is long enough as it is.

The music does not have an identity crisis with horror games. It knows its genre - adventure and its demographic - children. That said, Wanadoo pulled off a score that is mildly spooky and to a certain extent, adventurous. The same can not be said about the rest concerning sound. Alicia and Greg have all the qualifications for classic storybook heroes, except they are rendered speechless and their gremlin guide has an annoying “wobble” language.

Spirits and Spells does not pull enough out of its bag of tricks and treats to make the theme of Halloween work. Levels horrendously suffer from seen it once, seen it all syndrome and worse yet, the visuals are nearly a step backwards into PS1 territory. Liking the holiday or playing the game in season are the only two ways to fully appreciate the magic trying to be cast here.


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Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 10:53 PM