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Spectrum version of Cauldron online is the conversion from Commodore 64. Actually, having played the C64 version and been unable to figure out what I was I was supposed to be doing. I think I prefer the Spectrum game.

The task you are set is to gather the ingredients for a spell which will allow you to defeat the Pumpking. These ingredients are all hidden in underground caves, and in order to gain access in the forest and which allow you to enter the crypts and tombs leading to the caves.

Flying your witch over the scrolling landscape is real fun. With her hair streaming behind her, the witch is quite a nippy mover as she duchs and dives on her broomstick, avoiding the bats, ghosts, and balls of flames thrown up at her. The landscape is quite detailed, and the scrolling is as smooth as I’ve seen on the Spectrum.

My only criticism of this part of the game, is that when the witch dismounts to open a doorway, you temporarily lose control of her (until she is through the door and onto the next stage of the game) but she can still be attacked by the ghosts and other nasties and have her magical energies drained. I did find this a bit irritating, because it more or less means that just for a few seconds, the game plays itself and all you can do is sit and watch as the witch is attacked on her way to the crypt entrance.

Once underground, the game becomes a bit more conventional as you go through a variety of screens in order to collect the ingredients you need for the spell. These screens are fairly standard platform game stuff, but though they are quite well designed, I found that crossing from one screen to the next often meant losing a life as you can often enter the new screen only to find yourself falling through thin air. Also, the witch can fall through the edges of platforms even though she might not actually be hanging over the edge. I did find those two details annoying, since I felt that they caused me to lose a lot of lives rather unfairly and through no fault of my own.

Even so, I have found myself going back to Cauldron over and over again, and I still find it both challenging and addictive.

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