MobyGoal achieved! Thanks to all contributors who helped us reach 250 documented ZX81 Games.

The Black Cauldron (DOS)

...
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.4
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Not an American user?

Description

Based on the Disney movie of the same name, The Black Cauldron focuses on the story of Taran, who is an assistant Pig-keeper in the land of Caer Dalben. One day Taran notices that one of his pigs, Hen Wen has magical powers. The Evil Horned King wants the pig so that he can locate the Black Cauldron and ultimately rule the world. Taran must now embark on a mission to rescue Hen Wen and defeat the Evil Horned King before he can discover the Cauldron's location.

The Black Cauldron is a side-view adventure game. Gameplay is similar to other Sierra adventure games of its day (such as Space Quest II or King's Quest III) but does not use a text parser. Instead the function keys are used to initiate actions. Players control Taran and can make him walk, run, swim and interact (talk) with other characters in the game. Puzzle-solving and advancement in the plot requires item manipulation of using the right item at the right time or at the right location.

Screenshots

The Black Cauldron DOS Walking on a twisty roadway to the castle.
The Black Cauldron DOS The Horned King and Creeper.
The Black Cauldron DOS Game beginning (Hercules graphics)
The Black Cauldron DOS A waterfall.

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Awesome recreation of the movie! Wonderful product from the folks at Sierra! OlSkool_Gamer (99) 4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
One word to describe this game: amazing *Katakis* (37740) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
A well-crafted adventure with an innovative interface. Roedie (5226) 3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars
Great game that recreates the magic of the books Anthony Bull (26) 4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
A good game, with features before its time! Jonathon Howard (106) unrated

The Press Says

Techtite 2000 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Adventure Classic Gaming Sep 14, 2008 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60

Forums

There are currently no topics for this game.


Trivia

Alternate paths

This was one of the first graphical animated adventures to provide true multiple paths through a game. There was the basic route that adhered to the plot of the movie, but completing that route would not net you a full score. The game actually rewarded players more, who tried different paths through the game, such as taking Hen Wen to the Fairy realm under the lake. To get a maximum score in the game you had to take these alternate paths. This encouraged players to think for themselves and be creative, instead of copying the movie storyline. Additionally it meant the game had great replayability because there were many solutions to a lot of the puzzles.

Books

That this game is based on the Disney movie with the same name may be obvious, but the movie it self is based on a series of fantasy books by writer Lloyd Alexander set in the magical land of Prydain.

The first book of the series was released in 1964 and is called The Book of Three. This is the exact title of the book that Dalben is reading when you enter his cottage at the start of the game.

The other books of the series are:
  • The Black Cauldron
  • The Castle of Llyr
  • Taran Wanderer
  • The High King

Code Decryption

The infamous sierra name of "Avis Durgan" appears in the code for this game as well: it is the key for the code encryption.

Engine

The Black Cauldron was the only Sierra game to be developed in three generations of Sierra's game system, As AGI v1 (a booter disk), AGI v2 and AGI v3.

Freeware release

The Black Cauldron is now available to download from Al Lowe's website.

References

The Black Cauldron features a reference (shameless plug) for another then-current Sierra adventure title, a practice that had already become common by then.

To see this one, walk Taran repeatedly into the east wall of the room where Fflewddur makes his brief appearance. At a certain spot he'll discover a crack in the wall and peek through, finding somebody on the other side playing King's Quest 3: To Heir Is Human.

Remakes

As of 2000, this is the second most remade Sierra title next to King's Quest.

Information also contributed by Anthony Bull, Gerauchertes, jeff leyda, Roedie, Terrence Bosky and Yakumo

Related Web Sites

Donny K. (426) added The Black Cauldron (DOS) on Aug 10, 1999
Other platforms contributed by POMAH (32791), Guy Chapman (1745), Donny K. (426), Kabushi (120837) and Belboz (6553)