Playing the part of Kurgan, a magician who appears like an odd-looking Santa, you must retrieve the lost magic from the lands of Damiran. Of course, you will be battling all kinds of cutesy creatures through five beautiful levels in order to restore everything back to how it once was.
I've always considered Enchanted Lands a showcase title for the Atari ST. If ever there was a software house willing (and able) to push beyond the boundaries set by poor programmers, it was Thalion. Developed in 1990 by the legendary Carebears, Enchanted Land certainly shown the world just what our favourite retro computer is capable of.
However, it is also one of the hardest platformers I have ever played and, for many, is where it ultimately fails. We all love a challenge, no game would be worth playing without one, but this is ridiculous! Level design can often feel very unforgiving especially when I came upon groups of the jumping critters, which get me every time and bring me one step close to breaking my joystick in anger! The spiders are sometimes stupidly placed so suddenly appear when you get close, thus unfairly zapping away more precious energy. Level one is pretty cool - but hard - and perfectly introduces you to the game’s wicked ways. I struggled to complete it before seeing the creative delights of the second stage, which is tremendous. However, it too is hampered by silly placements and unfair mechanics and therefore needs to be learned, if only I had enough lives to do so… Still, running out of lives does produced an outstanding game over screen!
Visually, this game is a cracker. Hundreds of beautiful colours, gorgeous sprites and sync scrolling at an eye-popping 50fps is such a joy to experience. Musically, breathtaking is the word and with all in-game sound effects also doing their job perfectly well. My ears and eyes find no faults!
Overall, Enchanted Land needs to be played and replayed (over and over) to master every aspect without falling victim to its cunning tricks. If you have the patience then hours of frustrated enjoyment are ahead of you! However, silly mechanics and a difficulty level that could sink the titanic potentially spoil what could ultimately have been a killer. Perhaps with several more lives, we would have an outright winner but scrolling platformers are numerous and the Atari ST has better.