Vehicular: Flight / aviation
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Bullfrog Productions
Platforms: DOS, PlayStation (PSX, PS1)
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Ever since the first simulator appeared, game creators have been racing to compete in originality. In what cabin did we not sit by their mercy? Cars, tanks, helicopters, space and air fighters, trains, submarines, combat robots of varying degrees of humanity ... on bicycles, maybe not ... oh yes, it was in No One Lives Forever. But admit, do you know a lot of flying carpet simulators? Personally, I only know two: Magic Carpet and Magic Carpet 2.
How we got to such a textile life, the game will not tell you, but if you wish, you can find the background in the manual: in one magical Middle Eastern country, there was a major conflict between local sorcerers. The rivals threw more and more destructive spells at each other, even reaching the summoning of monsters, who ate both enemies and owners with the same appetite under the garnish of the civilian population. And finally, the wise wizard Abu Ali, someone ibn someone, came up with a powerful spell to put an end to this disgrace. The result of the use of the enchantment turned out to be curious: the world shattered, and the rivals happily continued to fight on its fragments. An epic peacemaker ... Okay, a peace prize with a Darwin prize on his grave, and the shaitan with him. You, the best of his students, will have to clean up this mess. So put a turban on your head, a magic carpet under your backside and forward - to restore balance on the nearest fragment of the world.
Actually, this is the essence of the game: we fly on an airplane carpet with a first-person view through quite extensive levels and are engaged in the destruction of evil spirits using combat spells. For spells to be more powerful and varied, you need mana. It flies out of the killed monsters in the form of golden balls, but it is not so easy to assemble it: first you need to fire a special spell "my, my" on the mana, and then wait until the slow-moving balloon takes the prey to your castle. Get a certain amount of mana - go to the next level. By the way, we build the castle ourselves; one wave of the hand - and it will rise right before your eyes, even in the desert, even on a rock, even in the ocean. This structure serves not only as a storage of mana - here is the point of your respawn in case of death. A player without a castle, therefore, cannot be revived. The enemy knows about this, so one should not get carried away with peaceful construction. They will demolish and not scratch. However, the castle can be expanded by increasing the man-capacity, the number of balloons and adding a garrison of archers. A completely rebuilt castle will demolish anyone you want.
The arsenal of combat and auxiliary spells is great, but no one will bring them on a platter: they are scattered across the levels in the form of red vases and, as a rule, are well guarded. The passage of the level does not depend on their presence: you will go to a new level ... what will you do there without powerful spells is another question. Opponents - the sea, and many will need their own approach and their spells. I will not say that the adversary is distinguished by special ingenuity, mainly the local flying, running and floating bestiary wanders aimlessly around the map until he stumbles upon you (and if you have a castle, then the creatures will regularly send "demolition brigades" to demolish it) ... But the weak intelligence of the monsters more than compensate for the unusual abilities. For example, there are ordinary crows and wasps that fly in flocks, there are huge tenacious caterpillars that spit fireballs, there are simple archers, and there are genies. Disgusting creatures - they do not shoot anything, they only take away mana and laugh disgustingly. There are also your “colleagues” who are capable of doing the same thing as you, including rebuilding locks and stealing your honestly stolen mana.
One of the game's greatest strengths is its graphics. The idea itself is very daring - after all, the magic carpet assumes a low flight speed and the ability to hover at any height. Given the scale of the world, freedom of movement and the modest power of the average user computer of that time, this task seemed simply overwhelming. However, the Bullfrog firm brilliantly took this bar. The world turned out to be colorful, detailed and technically perfect. The game boasts a whole series of the most successful finds: dynamically lit, changeable landscape; music changing depending on what is happening; reflections in the water; fog hiding distant objects; transparency effects; using a particle system to display crumbling mana balls or the behavior of flocking creatures; as well as controlling the camera with a mouse, without which we now cannot imagine a game interface. Perhaps Magic Carpet was not a pioneer of all these innovations, but I am sure that they have not been applied anywhere in such a volume and so successfully. Alas, it was this technical complexity that prevented the game from becoming popular immediately after its release. Somehow only the 486 processor agreed to pull this splendor, maximum performance could only be achieved on Pentium, and most users then worked on good old intel 386 and could not afford such joy.
So the summary:
The game has a lot of advantages: it is dynamic, interesting, beautifully designed, atmospheric and original - I emphasize the latter separately. Apart from Magic Carpet, not many games have seriously raised the topic of oriental fairy tales in video games. Of the famous, only Prince of Persia is remembered, peace be upon him and all his descendants!
There are also disadvantages, but they are subjective. Firstly, it is difficult for a beginner to get used to the game - he will have to read the manual or use the "scientific poke" method. Secondly, the player is not given any indulgences. There are no training missions, no “Easy” mode in the game. Immediately into battle! Does not work? Your problems. Thirdly, modern players are acutely aware of the lack of indicators. There is not even a crosshair, not to mention altimeters with speedometers - everything has to be figured out "by eye". However, the latter is logical: this is not an apache gunship, but a flying carpet, what are the conveniences? Only "Emergency exits - anywhere!"