- Magic Carpet (video game)
DOS cover art for Magic Carpet
Developer(s) Bullfrog Productions Publisher(s) Electronic Arts Designer(s) Peter Molyneux Composer(s) Russell Shaw Engine Magic Carpet Platform(s) PC (DOS), PlayStation, Sega Saturn, PlayStation Network Release date(s) PC
May 6, 1994
- PAL 1996
- NA 1996
- PAL March 1996
- PAL March 26, 2009
- JP December 9, 2009
Genre(s) First-person shooter, god game Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer Rating(s) ELSPA: 11+
Media/distribution 1 CD-ROM System requirements
486, 8 MB RAM
Magic Carpet is a video game released by Bullfrog Productions in 1994. A revised edition, Magic Carpet Plus, included the Hidden Worlds expansion pack which added 25 levels and a winter-themed tileset. There was also a sequel released in 1995, Magic Carpet 2.
The player plays a wizard (on a magic carpet) flying over water, mountains, and other terrain while destroying monsters and rival wizards (which are controlled by the computer) and collecting "mana" which is gathered by hot air balloons and stored in the player's own castle.
The story is told in a cutscene that depicts the pages of a book being flipped. According to this back story, mana was discovered and though it initially had beneficial uses, the quest for it made the lands barren. Worse, many corrupt wizards began turning to mana for their own nefarious purposes, eventually leading to war between them. The battling wizards began using more destructive spells and summoning deadly monsters, the latter of which often turned against them. One wizard hoped to end everything with an all-powerful spell but instead only left the worlds shattered. Only his apprentice survived and his goal is to restore the worlds to equilibrium.
Greater amounts of mana stored in the castle allow the player to cast more powerful spells. As the player expands the castle, it spawns additional mana-collecting balloons and armed guards that defend the castle against attacks by enemy wizards. Besides storing mana, the player's castle also serves as a home base for the player where he cannot be killed and where he can regain health and mana.
Victory is attained by storing in one's castle the necessary percentage of the total mana in the current level (or "world"), restoring it to "equilibrium". The total mana level is fixed in a given world (unless expanded by cheat codes), though it is not in free form and thus must be acquired by killing enemy wizards and monsters. Often, a necessary proportion of mana can only be released by the defeat of a high level wizard or powerful monster.
At the end of the game, after level 50 "Volcania" has been beaten, a cutscene shows the apprentice flying away on his carpet and the book cover closing.
Magic Carpet has 24 spells covering many categories.
For offense, there are scorching fireballs, very accurate lightning bolts and devastating meteors. For defence, players can heal themselves, bring up a shield to reduce damage from enemy fire, and even use rebound to deflect certain fire-based spells back at the enemy.
In multiplayer, there is no completely dominant spell, which results in several tactical dilemmas. For instance, meteor can often kill weakened wizards with a single hit, but it becomes a double-edged sword if the target wizard has rebound cast. However, rebound is not a perfect defense. It costs a good deal of mana and, as with all other spells, does not allow one's mana reserve to recharge while it is in use. Moreover, it does not defend against lightning and many other powerful attacks. Lightning bolts are more accurate and more powerful than fireballs but lack the latter's longer range.
Exotic spells include teleport to escape back to one's castle and recharge health and mana and then quickly return, and skeleton army which creates undead archer minions for either attacking enemy castles or wreaking havoc in civilian towns.
Terrain-altering spells such as crater, volcano, and earthquake allow the player to carve through a continent (rather than splitting apart a land mass, earthquake digs a twisting gorge in the ground), build up a volcano, or dig a lake (with crater). Casting the build castle spell in a suitable location causes the ground to morph into the shape of a fortress. Volcano creates damage both from the initial strike and from the lava rocks that fly out in the subsequent eruption and bounce along the ground. The castle itself can destroy legions of weaker enemies (indeed, it will kill nearly any kind of monster that happens to be over it at the time).
Magic Carpet Plus replaced the rarely used flamewall with the guided meteor (specifically for anti-player duels, as opposed to the regular general-purpose meteor).
Krakens pose a deadly threat in bodies of water where they dwell; they use the Duel spell to prevent wizards from escaping and holding them within range of the Kraken's lightning bolts.
Wyverns are considered the most dangerous enemies (apart from other wizards), especially for weak players, due to their flight, rapid fireball breath weapon, and their large amount of hitpoints. Also unique is their aggression, being one of the few monsters to actively attack both castles and towns.
Genies cannot directly harm the player's health; however, their Steal Mana spell will drain the player's mana power, limiting his capabilities in encounters with other wizards or monsters. Genies are not only unrelenting in their pursuit, but if sufficiently wounded, they will teleport away to heal themselves.
Griffins are usually unaggressive monsters, but when attacked, the entire pack will retaliate and will carry a grudge against the player for the rest of the level (unless another wizard attacks them, causing the griffins to switch their attention to the latter). This has often resulted in the death of players who underestimated the numbers of these enemies or forgot that all griffin are protected by the Rebound spell.
The crabs are unique in that they can "consume" loose mana and by doing so gradually grow in size from tiny to large, gaining the use of increasingly powerful spells (first Fireball, then Lightning, and finally Meteor) accordingly. Sufficiently large crabs can even lay eggs to hatch new crabs to start this process all over again. As mana in each level is fixed, the consumed mana can only be released by killing the crab.
There are 7 computer-controlled wizards to be found along the journey:
- Vodor - Red
- Gryshnak - Purple
- Mahmoud - Blue
- Syed - Green
- Raschid - Pink
- Alhabbal - Orange
- Scheherazade - Black
The player character is called Zanzamar by default, and his flags are a white color.
Magic Carpet uses a realtime 3D-graphics engine. It includes features such as:
- dynamically lighted, gouraud shaded, changeable ("morphable") landscape
- Dynamic music that changes whenever the player enters a fight
- Scene reflections in the water
- Distance fog
- Transparency effects, such as the transparent HUD, the water, and the Possess Mana spell when cast.
- A particle system, like the mana balls and flocks of vultures and other creatures. Often attacking one member of such a group is enough to attract the attention of the rest of the group.
- Player viewpoint control using the mouse
Magic Carpet features an optional stereogram mode. A set of 3-D red/blue glasses came in the box. The game also supported many virtual reality headsets that were available at the time. It was also the first game to be advertised as being optimized for the new Intel Pentium processor; the "Intel Inside" Pentium logo was shown if the game detected such a processor.
Multi-player mode supported up to eight human players, but required a network card instead of the commonly used modem or null modem cable of the time.
The system requirements were rather high for the time; a 486 was the minimum requirement and the Pentium was heavily recommended for smooth gameplay and full graphics detail; many gamers still had 386 processors at the time and as a result the game did not sell well..
Although there is a PlayStation port, it was not particularly successful.
The PlayStation version is a port of the original game that retains many of the PC version's spells. The map has changed slightly, and some of the monster graphics and enemy wizard graphics are slightly different. As in the PC game, one can only save at the end of the level, although levels don't often take a long time to finish. Enemy wizards now have a health-bar over their heads, so one can see when they are close to death. This version does not feature multiplayer but does contain the Hidden Worlds expansion as a reward for finishing the game in "Normal" mode.
Bullfrog Productions Populous series Syndicate series Magic Carpet seriesMagic Carpet · Magic Carpet 2 Theme series Dungeon Keeper series Other games See also
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