Sequel to Bullfrog's classic Magic Carpet, Magic Carpet 2 improves upon its already outstanding predecessor with new spells, better graphics, and more varied terrain. Unfortunately, the addition of huge monsters makes the gameplay quite repetitive in the later levels.
As in the original, the plot is more of an excuse for the game's wondeful setting, but still delivered with considerable panache via short movies even in-between the levels. An evil being, Vissuluth, has taken over a dreary world called the Netherworlds, and it's up to you to defeat Vissuluth and his servants. Gameplay is largely the same as in the original Magic Carpet: build a home castle, then collect mana to cast various powerful spells to destroy the enemy wizards and their castles. For a more detailed description of the basic gameplay and plot, see my review of Magic Carpet Plus, also on this site. Unlike Magic Carpet, however, the goal for each level varies. Sometimes you must collect a specified amount of mana, sometimes kill the other wizards, and sometimes find a specific object. While much of the game requires quick reflexes, you also must plan ahead, e.g. build your castle in a good place, approach an enemy at the right time, and use the right spells, etc. This gives the game a puzzley feel, similar to the X-Wing series, as some tough levels can only be beaten by taking a specific approach.
The graphics, which were amazing enough in Magic Carpet, are simply breathtaking in Magic Carpet 2, even in this day and age of 3D accelerators. Looking at looming giant heads during night missions always gives me the creeps, and watching your reflections in the water (in SVGA mode) is mesmerizing. Some missions, in contrast to the first game, also take place in caves or underground.
For all its pluses, Magic Carpet veterans will find the game too easy and too short. In contrast to dozens of levels in Magic Carpet, there are only 25 or so in the sequel. What's worse, there are many new monsters that, while huge in size, are simply very easy to kill. Sure, they take a while to die, but thirty minutes of repetitive blast spells isn't much fun. Bullfrog has once again created an immersive realm for players to wander inside in awe, but this time the experience is a bit muted. Magic Carpet 2 is still a must-play for all fans of action games, but anyone looking for a real challenge should play the original instead.Reviewed by: Underdogs