Magic Carpet retrospective

Flabbergasting findings on flying flooring...

That old 'Doom meets Flight Simulator' tag is a bit worn out by now, and never really did the game justice. How about 'Sinbad in an X-Wing'?

The actual setup slid you into the slippers of an apprentice wizard in a vaguely Arabian era, provided with a nice bit of anti-gravity carpet and the job of saving the world.

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As this involved building magic castles, killing rival wizards and nicking their mana in the name of 'stability', you'd end up becoming a superpowered demigod as a side-effect. Thumbs up!

Mana was also gained by toasting monsters, from poxy bees and crabs to krakens and the flying nutjob powerhouses known as wyverns. You certainly had the tools: Fireball was just the opening salvo in an arsenal that grew to include the hilariously aggressive Meteor, Volcano and cheeky mass murder smart bomb Global Death.

Brought into being by Peter Molyneux and god game guv'nors Bullfrog, Magic Carpet wove together stunning tech and enchanting scope with alienating ambition.

The real-time morphing 3D landscapes were revolutionary, and having the whole sky as your playground (though later described by Molyneux as "the most stupid thing in the world") was endlessly more liberating than grotty corridors in a Nazi fortress or so on.

But the heights to which it could rise were capped by elitist PC requirements and a split personality at retail, doomed by
marketers pitching it as a straight FPS, while the US box howled "Shred the Skies" as if it was some kind of '90s mid-air skateboard sim. Dunces.

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