A new offering by Olga Fabry of
Off studio adventure team, a Czechoslovakian Independent Game
Developer, was released onto the “Adventure Game Arena” a little
over two weeks ago. The title? Five Magical amulets, a 2D
Point-and-Click Amateur Adventure Game which boasts over 6600 lines
of text, more than 70 original hand drawn and hand painted
backgrounds, at least 50 characters with whom the gamer will
interact, dozens upon dozens of inventory items and a lyrical and
sensitive musical score truly appropriate to the mood of the piece.
From what I can gather, this game has been three years in the making
from conception to its free release. Yes, did you just read that? Uh
huh, you did. This marvelous fairytale fantasy is noted as
It was easy for me to tell once the adventure
began that Five Magical amulets was indeed a labor of love.
When I was first asked to review the game, I had a few trepidations.
The most obvious was its size. 149 Mbs…now, I know that there are
many of you out there who are lucky enough to have either
“Broadband” or “DSL” or “what-not” … goodie-goodie for you… but
there are still many prospective adventurers who are not so lucky,
either because of pocketbook or because of location. A 56kpb dialup
can take a minimum of eight hours, so for those intrepid souls who
are just determined to try this game, I suggest trying to download
overnight using a program such as “Get Right”, “Gozilla” or “Flash
Get” so that if your connection fails the download can be
re-established. If that‘s not a possibility, contact a friend who
can burn it onto a CDR for you. (Keep in mind that since it is
“Freeware” this is perfectly legal to do.) It may just surprise
you that Five Magical Amulets was worth the effort. Actually, my
secret hope is, as this adventure gains some momentum in the gaming
community, the Developers may see their way clear to offer this
venue for those with dial-up at a nominal service fee. (Maybe the
cost of a CDR plus shipping and handling?) Well, one can dream
can’t one? How intriguing it is that amateur freeware games are
becoming so large.
Now, I’m using the word “amateur” instead of
“independent” not to mean any slight to Olga Fabry’s efforts here.
I’m merely using the term as she herself has used it on her own
site. And I believe her efforts to be sincerely accurate as far as
the “true” definition of what the word “amateur” means: A person
or group of persons who perform an action or service for the “love”
of that action or service without thought of monetary gain. And
complete that task as well as someone who is monetarily compensated
for that same action or service. I believe Off studios
adventure team has accomplished this.
So, what is the game’s story about? Do you
remember the original “King’s Quest “Series? Or “Legend of
Kyrandia”? It’s similar in general …yet still holds its own
uniqueness. This is a fable. ... a fairytale. Is it original?
Probably not… but who cares? This is a story about good versus evil,
where good will triumph after all. It is a story of how even a plain
simple country girl can become the most powerful entity in her
entire land. The storyline was very entertaining and the plot
exposition was nicely implemented. The tale is a very basic one;
one that has been around since fairytales were created (and I
promise you, that is a very long time) and one that will
recreate itself over and over until the end of time itself.
We begin this tale in an imaginary land known
as Nyron, deep in the quiet and fragrant forests governed by the
enchantress Twelga, keeper of the Green Amulet: The Amulet of Earth.
Twelga uses this amulet to assist her in keeping the forests of
Nyron in balance and all of her charges -- from the smallest
bumblebee to the largest brown bear -- in harmony and good health.
There are five Amulets, which holds the threads of existence
together for this ancient and magical land: The Blue Amulet of
Water; The White Amulet of Wind, The Yellow Amulet of Time and The
Red Amulet of Fire. It is Zarkyran, the wizard of Bwurk and the
keeper of the Red Amulet who worries Twelga. Zarkyran has become
blinded with its power and has begun to take over Nyron by
kidnapping the King who is the keeper of the White Amulet of Wind.
Twelga senses that something is no longer right
within the kingdom which she helps guard, and though she has spoken
with the other wizards in the realm, she knows that disaster will be
inevitable if she does not take further action. She summons Linda,
her “adopted” human daughter, on the day of the young girl’s 18th
birthday. Twelga tells Linda of how she came to be her mother and
why she never taught her the ways of magic. Only someone who is pure
of heart can help her now. Linda is Nyron’s only hope. The
enchantress unfolds the legend of the Five Magical Amulets and how
they must be gathered together to form the Stone of Power, thus
wiping away forever the threat of catastrophe for the Kingdom of
Nyron and all of its subjects -- human or otherwise. Twelga tells
her beloved stepdaughter that she must take the Green Amulet of
Earth and travel to the distant town of Gadmore, find Twelga’s son,
The Wizard “Tveiram” and give him the Green Amulet.
Linda (naturally being a pure soul in both
mind and spirit) accepts Twelga’s proposal. But!!! As with all
fairytales -- as soon as Twelga gives the amulet to her
stepdaughter… she vanishes into thin air! Now, it is up to Linda to
figure out what she needs to do to accomplish this most important
task for her adoptive mother, for her people and for her country.
And thus the quest begins for the gamer under the guise of Linda.
[I’m going to tell you right now, that there
are a few reviews out there already about Five Magical amulets.
And I encourage you to read them all, for it is the informed gamer
who usually is the one that is the happiest. However, it isn’t my
intention to pick this offering apart.]
Technically for the gamer, you just download
and click on the executable file. Once the game is installed, take
the time to have a look at the “Readme” file. This one is designed
to encourage the gamer to actually read it. Even the “Setup” screens
all have that special look that says to the gamer, “I plan to
entertain you with a Fable”. When one begins the adventure, the
enchanting music begins (and trust me… no matter WHAT other
review you might have read, it is far from either elevator or
“Dental Muzac”.) The musical score is original to Five
Magical amulets and was created by “Jerrot”, the end title song
was performed in Hebrew and is entitled Waking to a Dream, a
beautiful musical piece; poignantly sung by Meirav Vyhnak. If any of
you recall the early “Hallmark Hall of Fame Presents”
television series from the 1960’s, or Rodgers and Hammerstein’s
Cinderella, or Jerome Robbins’s Peter Pan with Mary
Martin … this is what the music of Five Magical amulets is
like. It is light, lyrical, at times “playful” but most of all it is
fantasy driven … and thankfully, there aren’t any modern rock or
heavy metal influences in this piece. The music sweetly enwraps the
gamer into the world of the fairytale for its own sake without
overpowering it. It worked very well for me, for it pointedly added
that certain theatrical essence, which is vital to the ambiance of
The graphics are interesting. All of them are
hand drawn and hand painted in a decidedly stylized manner. Are they
realistic? Of course not, they weren’t meant to be. We are talking
here about fairies that make apple rolls, talking polar bears with
particular tastes in cuisine and magpies that seek revenge! The
palette is vibrant, lively and consistent in its appearance. This
artwork so reminded me of rainy Saturdays spent in my local library
curled up in the “reading” corner with large picture books of every
kind of fairytale imaginable. Most of whose artwork is highly
The game play was appropriate to the piece.
There was a flow to the way the story unfolded. The trick though was
to figure this out in the beginning. It was important to READ
the first two book graphics carefully and “Visually Listen”
to the opening conversation between Twelga and Linda. Haahaa, did
you read that? “Visually Listen”! I forgot that there were no
real audible voices in the game except for those in my head as
Olga’s game spun its fairy magic. Is my point made yet?
The point here being, did the plot move me? Did
the music encompass me? Did the visuals harken me back to another
time, where I was able to forget my own worries of the day even if
just for a little while? Did I care about the characters? Was a
story told? Did I have a good time playing it and was I entertained?
The answer to all of this is YES.
So, what? Does this mean that Five Magical
amulets is perfection, bar none?
No, of course not. I felt that it was terribly
slow in certain places and sometimes wished that there were some
sort of key combination to make Linda move faster. I would have
liked to see more standalone puzzles, a more cohesive stream of
consciousness in the character of Linda as she progresses through
the story. On the “technical writing end”, better proofreading for
the English version (...can’t speak at all for the Czech version
as I don’t understand a word.) And probably better dialogue
writing, as some of the translations to English were too grating and
too harsh for the characters to say, especially in the fourth
chapter. But as you can see these observations are just “nitpicky”
and pull nothing away from the enjoyment of the story.
I’m merely saying that for what it was: a
timeless story about a simple young woman, a magical land and a
quest to save the world I was surprisingly and thoroughly
entertained. If the old King’s Quest games and Fairytale Adventures
in general are your thing -- if your mouth waters every time the
movie, “The Princess Bride” is on the Late, Late Show, then you’ll
be pleased with Five Magical amulets.
No, I take that back…
…You’ll be as enchanted as I was.
Olga, I wish to say that it is people such as
yourself and the rest of your team, which keep the true spirit of
the “adventure gaming” alive. This was a massive undertaking for a
freeware game and you are to be commended for your time, your energy
and the sheer delight that you will undoubtedly bestow on all who
enjoy your game.
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition 2002 w/SP 1
Pentium 4 CPU 2.00GHz
512MB DDR Memory
Video: 64MBNVIDIA GeForce 2 MX/MX 400 AGP
Sound: Creative SB Live
DirectX Version: 9.0b
design copyright ©