1985 Infocom
Designed by Dave Lebling
Reviewed 1998 November 28

Rating -2 Linearity narrow
Reasonability sporadic Connectivity high
Difficulty difficult Relevance moderate
Interface text parser Real-time none

Spellbreaker is the third and final game of the Enchanter series. As a result of your successes in the earlier games, you are now the leader of the Circle of Enchanters.

Magic is going awry throughout the land, no longer working with the strength and consistency of old. The Enchanter's Circle holds a gathering to discuss the issue. In the middle of the gathering, a shadowy figure appears and turns everybody except you into a small animal, and then it dashes away. It's up to you to find out who this shadowy figure is, and to get to the bottom of the magic trouble.

There's very little plot here, just a scavenger hunt through magic cubes until you catch up to the shadowy figure and defeat him. There are several actors in the game, but none have any real personality, except maybe Belboz, whom we know from the previous games in the series.

There's little tying the locations together. Each cube takes you to a separate area (often several), but there is no theme connecting the locations. A few surreal areas don't even belong in this world. Although most of the challenges are reasonable parts of their locations, they don't tie in at all with the goal of your quest. They are no more than artificial hurdles on your way to the final showdown. It would have been much better if they would have give you clues as to the nature of the antagonist along the way.

They may not fit in with the spare plot, but there are a lot of meaty challenges. Most involve casting spells, as with the earlier games in the series, but there are some regular inventory based challenges, a logic puzzle or two, and one session of bartering with a merchant.

There are several difficult challenges, and many moderate challenges, any one of which you might personally find difficult. Most of them are creative. There are several problems in the design, however. There are many dead ends waiting to trap you, and a few instances where you can only be reasonably expected to discover the solution by first failing and restoring the game. The final confrontation is the most blatant of these.

The room descriptions are well done, and relatively verbose. There are a lot of good action descriptions, too, fitting in with the large number of actors and objects and spells.

While there are many flaws in the design, the number and quality of the challenges redeems the game. There's a lot ventured, and a lot gained. The lack of plot and of a consistent background hurt the game more. While weak as an adventure, it is a good collection of challenges for the grisled adventurer.

Beware! Here are some spoiler-ridden notes on the game. They're only recommended for people who have played the game and want to see some of my rationale for my evaluations.

Solution by me.

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    David Tanguay's Game Reviews
    Here's a description of all the gobbledygook in these reviews. It's also a bit of an essay on the nature of adventure games.