Randy: From the company that brought you such addictive games as Maelstrom, Harry the Handsome Executive and Mars Rising, comes yet another smash hit, Ferazel's Wand.
Gary: I don't know these guys do it. Every single game Ambrosia Software has made has been absolutely topnotch. Even though the company sells its titles under the auspices of "shareware," the quality of their wares is better than most of commercial software on the market.
Randy: True. From the first game I played from Ambrosia, Maelstrom, I have always been blown away by the playability, humor and excellent graphics in every title. And now they have come out with their most ambitious title yet. In fact, this game is so big that it is the first one from Ambrosia that you can not download from the web. You have to order the CD directly from Ambrosia's web site.
Gary: Considering the CD contains over 300 MB, I'm down. In fact, I recommend getting the CD just for the fact that the entire software catalogue from Ambrosia in on the disk. Every game and utility they have ever made is smartly packaged in one place.
Randy: Oh, yeah. If you are looking for the perfect gift for a gamer, this is it. From Avara, Ambrosia's walking tank combat game, to Snapz Pro, Ambrosia's screen shot and movie capture utility, it's all here, baby.
Gary: Did you just call me baby?
Randy: Please, man, can we just let that horrible joke die? As God is my witness, if I never hear that joke again...
Gary: Alright, you wuss. I could be truly happy if this was the only game disk I ever had. It is loaded with so many great games, I would never be bored. There are adventure games, combat games, arcade games, card games and more.
Randy: I think Gary and I agree, for $30 this is an essential CD for any and all gamers. And that price includes a registered copy of Ferazel's Wand.
Gary: We should mention that all the other games are try before you buy. So you can play them all and just pay for the one's that you like.
Randy: But I like them all.
Gary: Then fork over the dough, boy!
Randy: Did you just call me Dough Boy?
Gary: What did we just talk about? Do you want to let that joke go or not? Lets just talk about the game, shall we?
Randy: You got it, Doughnut Man. Ferazel's Wand is from the creator of Harry the Handsome Executive, Ben Spees, and man, is this kid talented. I got to spend some time with Ben back at MacWorld Expo New York and he showed me about a half an hour of Ferazle's game play. It looked awesome then, but the final product has to bee seen to be fully appreciated. The particle and lighting effects are superb.
Gary: Truly stupendous. Another cool graphic feature the game sports is multi-layered parallax scrolling, or the ability to have different layers of graphics scrolling at different speeds to really give the illusion of depth to this game. In fact all the graphics in this game are outstanding. They rank among some of the best I have seen, period.
Randy: To be truthful, I usually don't like side-scroller games, but Ferazel has managed to mix up the game play enough that I found myself playing for hours without even realizing it. There are elements of role-playing involved where you talk to characters and collect an inventory.
Gary: And there are combat elements where you fight with weapons and magical items in hand-to-hand melee.
Randy: And of course, plenty of side scrolling action with lots of jumping and climbing through very cleverly designed levels.
Gary: That's a good point to mention. I really liked the level designs in this game. The puzzles were mucho fun without being too frustrating. And they are interesting enough that you don't mind playing them again.
Randy: And you will need to play some of them several times, since you can only save your game at places where there is a save game station (I call it the Saving Trashcan). Until you reach these points in the game you will have to start the whole level again when you die. Thankfully, there are save points throughout each level. After you save at a Saving Trashcan you can begin from that point the next time you die.
Gary: And for all you game pad users, Ferazel's Wand does support USB input sprockets. And this game begs for a game pad of some kind. Your character Ferazel must do some pretty incredible physical feats to complete his quest and save his home and his people from the evil insectoid Manditraki. And a game pad really helps you out in the more difficult maneuvers.
Randy: As with all Ambrosia titles, the system requirements are very modest. You'll need the latest version of QuickTime to hear the wonderful music by Hollywood musician Eric Speier, a CD-ROM Drive and a 256 Color Screen, 13" or Greater. And it is PowerPC only! So sorry, Wintel users. I think next year they are porting it over to Windows.
Gary: Even though the game is so big it only ships on CD, you can download the playable demo from Ambrosia's web site. The demo includes three of the 23 levels for your gaming enjoyment. So grab it today.
Randy: And once again we can't recommend strongly enough
The Idiots: Get the CD!!
Gary: This gamer's toy box is not to be missed. And the full game of Ferazel's Wand is sure to please.
Randy: You want I should beat you up now?
Gary: I thought we agreed that that bit was getting pretty lame too.
Randy: Oh, yeah. So, how the hell do we end this column?
Gary: I don't know. We could make some kind of beer reference.
Randy: Nah, we don't really drink that much beer anymore, anyway.
Gary: Oh. Wait a minute, though. Does whisky count as beer?
(apologies to The Simpsons)
Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.
The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.
You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .