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atari mania
Written by  :  Open_Sights (468)
Written on  :  Mar 07, 2010
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Only Sid Meier could do this magic

The Good

Good AI

The campaign uses some rules to prevent exploits

Good old school magic experience

The Bad

Outdated pool of cards even when it was released

The Bottom Line

If you are reading this, you're probably a Magic: The Gathering player. If it's the case, your expectations concerning a computer game for the genre are now fulfilled, or at least, most of them. If you do not play Magic yet, don't wait any further, because computer games in the genre are not likely to get any better than this.

Spell of the Ancients is an add-on to the former release of Microprose, featuring some new cards, including cards up to the forth edition, the manalink (a tool for multiplayer) and an interesting sealed deck game mode. The story is about a planeswalker (you) who decides to free the land of Shandalar from the power of 5 twisted mages and a powerful dragon. For this you must duel each creature of Shandalar with your deck, winning, founding, buying and selling cards in the meantime.

The game follows dated rules of the game, but placing the most powerful cards in dungeons, setting a limit of cards based in the total number of cards in your deck, and using a different poll of life points, the game forces the player to create his own strategy, opposing the nowadays scheme of net decking and scripted decks that for many old school players, took the fun out of magic in exchange of profit to the wizards.

The AI is great, and will make just a few mistakes in the higher difficulty settings, resembling a real opponent in a casual match, what is astonishing for a game with such complex rules as magic. The decks of your opponents are creative too, and all are available for a fun match with the computer or another human player. The only problem is the pool of cards. When the game was released the cards featured were already dated, today they are ancient at best, as in the last 15 years many strategies changed, thousands of new cards were developed and new abilities designed. With this game you will be stuck in 1995.

There were some attempts by fans to add new cards, but until now, it was possible only to add cards with the same effect of one card already in the game, so don't expect to have a full edition available with a mod. However if you look for a platform to play vintage matches, look no further, and if you are just looking for a good Magic: The Gathering experience, give this game a chance.

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