Written by  :  Chris Martin (1204)
Written on  :  May 15, 2000
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
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Ahhh... Sweet sweet bliss...

The Good

The Magic: The Gathering Interactive Encyclopedia (MTGIE) is something I've been waiting for for quite a while. This is NOT an update to the Microprose game (a good game on it's own, though), but more so a combination of Collection Tracker, Search engine, and most importantly - the ability to play online.

But the beauty of this game is that fact that EVERY Magic card ever published is available to use. Not just certain ones from The Dark, or Antiquies. Every card published can be used to create a deck, and then you can play online with anyone who has this CD.

The graphics in the game are nothing short of breathtaking. Each card has been reproduced and placed on the CD, so all the artwork can be viewed. The artwork alone is worth the $40+ dollars. Even if you don't play, you can still view the artwork.

The Collectors part is fabulous. You can input your collection (although if you have a TON of cards, this could get time consuming...) and then be able to create virtual decks using only your cards! Collectors and hardcore gamers will love the feature of being able to play around with deck configurations before even diving into your own collection.

There are quite a few articles included, such as the history of Magic, a Magic timeline, Deck builders strategy guides, Duelist articles, and much more.

But where this product really shines is the Online Play. Being able to duel with any deck imaginable with anyone in the world is just incredible. Playing is similar to the Microprose version with one exception: There is no AI routine to help with the phases of play. The area of play is exactly like it would be if you were playing from real. You need to adjust your Hit points, you need to tap/untap you cards, you need to delcare attacks/blockers... etc. So there is a lot of mouse clicking involved in this one.

The CD includes every version of Magic from Alpha all the way to Mercadian Masques (Even including Promotional, Vanguard and even the Unglued expansions). The great thing is that Wizards of the Coast is also puttting out electronic versions of each of their expansion sets as they release. So when the next expansion set is released in card form, you can download all the artwork/card rulings for that expansion on the expansion's release date. So your program will always be up to date.

The Bad

I only had one real problem while working with MTGIE.

I found it very difficult to use just one expansion set to construct a deck with. For instance if I wanted to build a deck with just Portal - Three Kindgom cards in the set, I would have to Load the whole set into my database and build off of that. Very time consuming...

The Bottom Line

This is a MUST BUY for anyone who wants to play Magic. The ability to play with all the Moxes and a Black Lotus makes this package worth buying. An excellect game/utility.