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Young Merlin

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Reviewed by David Ruocco Merlin wasn't always a crotchety old wizard. Once upon a time he was a daring young teenager who rescued young maidens as often as he squeezed his pimples. Unfortunately, Young Merl's chased one too many maidens, and has been swept away by a raging river and into an enchanted land. Young Merlin is a fantastic game. It's big, it has lots of character and is great fun. You guide our pubescent hero in a quest to find all sorts of spells and objects across a vast land and even underwater. The game is very addictive. To make any progress in the game you must find the right objects and gems, which involves a lot of exploring. Merlin can throw the gems into a magic lake to unlock different spells and gain special powers such as super jumps or the ability to inflate like a balloon. The puzzles are relatively simple. One of the first areas you'll come across is a mine, but you need a lamp to light your way. To get around in the mine, you'll need to find a wheel to put on the cart and get a spanner to attach the wheel. Every new region presents its own new problems to deal with, and you have to do a lot of wandering back and forth before you discover each area's secrets. To stop your progress, there's a whole host of enemies, ranging from the tiny meanies that kick Merlin in the shin to the fat thunder pigs. My only complaint about the game is that you can't save your progress, you have to keep going until you get a password, which are few and far between. But if you persevere you'll find there's plenty of surprises to keep you going right until the end. What a shame Merlin grew up!

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