|The Black Cauldron (Video Game)|
|Publisher||Virgin Interactive Entertainment|
|Platform|| Bandai Revolution|
|Genre|| Action RPG (Bandai Chaos)|
Beat 'em up/Platform (Bandai Revolution and Bandai CD)
|Ratings||E 10+ for Everyone 10+|
The Black Cauldron is a game based on the 1985 animated Disney film of the same name developed by Disney Interactive and published by Virgin Interactive Entertainment for the Bandai Revolution, Bandai CD, and Bandai Chaos.
The Bandai Chaos version is more similar to Legend Of Zelda II: The Adventure Of Link, while the Bandai Revolution, and Bandai CD versions is a beat 'em up and platforming style game like The Tick for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.
Bandai Chaos versionEdit
The game features side-scrolling areas within a larger top-down world map. It is more an action-RPG, much like Faxanadu. The side-scrolling gameplay and experience system is also very similar to many games in the popular Castlevania series. The game incorporates a strategic combat system, a proximity continue system based on lives, an experience points (EXP) system, magic spells, as well as more interaction with non-player characters (NPCs).
The game centers around Taran, who gains experience points to upgrade his attack, magic, and life by defeating enemies. He can raise each of these attributes to a maximum of eight levels. Raising a life level will decrease the damage Taran receives when hit, raising a magic level will decrease the magic points (MP) cost of spells, and raising an attack level will strengthen his sword's offensive power. Each attribute requires a different amount of experience to level up, with the life level requiring the least number of points to level and attack requiring the most. When enough points are acquired to raise an attribute, the player may choose to level up that attribute or to cancel and continue gaining experience points towards the next level in another attribute. Once Taran has raised an attribute to the maximum level of eight, further advances in that attribute will earn Taran an extra life, without advancing the attribute itself. Taran can acquire up to four Heart Containers and up to four Magic Containers that permanently increase his life points and magic points. Certain enemies drain Taran's experience when they attack, but he will never lose a level once raised. The game however only saves the level at which the player's experience is at and how much experience he needs for the next level, not how many experience points he currently has. So if the player has 750 experience points and the next level is 800, if the player saves and resets the console or loses all his lives, he will begin with 0 experience points and 800 for the next level. After all stats are terminally leveled up, Taran gets an extra life every time he collects 9000 experience points.
Overworld map and side-scrollingEdit
The Black Cauldron plays out in a two-mode dynamic. The overworld, the area where the majority of the action occurs, is from a top-down perspective, but it now serves as a hub to the other areas.
Taran also enters a side-scrolling mode when attacked by wandering monsters. Whenever the player traverses the various environments of the Horned King's castle, enemy silhouettes appear and pursue him. Of the two random creatures that appear, there are two types which correspond to the relative difficulty of the monsters in battle mode: a small, weak blob denoting easy enemies, and a large, strong biped denoting harder enemies.
The Black Cauldron has a more complex combat system. Armed with a sword and shield, Taran must alternate between standing and crouching positions in order to attack enemies and defend himself; for example, the Cauldron-Born army enemy changes the height of its attack and its shield depending on Taran's current stance, forcing Taran to change stances until he has a chance to attack safely. Taran has the ability to jump, which can be used for attacking tall or airborne enemies, and can be used for evasion. Eventually, he can learn techniques for downward and upward stabs in midair.
Magic and special itemsEdit
Though Taran must still collect several items in order to progress in the game, these special items grant abilities which either remain in permanent use for the rest of the game or are only activable in the overworld. In place of actively used items, The Black Cauldron features spells for Taran to use during action scenes. Taran often has to complete side-quests, such as retrieving lost items, before they will teach him their spells. Some spells are necessary for advancing beyond certain points in the game; both the Jump and Fairy spells allow Taran to reach the top of ledges that are otherwise too high. Also, the Life spell becomes the main means of recovering health during action scenes, since healing Fairies are only found in rare fixed spots, and only appear randomly as overworld encounters.
The Black Cauldron allows storing up to three games in the cartridge's memory. Once the game has been completed, selecting the corresponding file in the main menu allows starting a new game preserving the acquired experience levels, techniques, magic spells, special items, Heart and Magic containers and extra lives.
Bandai Revolution and Bandai CD versionEdit
This version of the game is more of a beat 'em up and platforming game where you just kill enemies in sight to progress on the beat 'em up levels. And the platforming levels are only played at the end of each level after beat 'em up levels, where you have to reach the boss while jumping over pits and killing enemies. Your attacks are the sword and a kick, you also have a shield which can protect you from taking damage on enemies and boss battles.
The game features a magic spell attack which can kill all enemies on screen, but they can only be used when necessary since you can only use it once in each level.
The Bandai CD version features cutscenes from the movie.