Magic Carpet is a combat flight simulator set in a fantasy Middle Eastern setting. It was developed by Bullfrog Productions and published by Electronic Arts for MS-DOS in 1994. You control a wizard who rides on a magic carpet and uses magical spells to destroy monsters in an attempt to restore harmony to each world. Slain monsters leave behind mana which you can collect and bring to your castle to increase to power of your spells so you can defeat more powerful monsters. Other wizards also inhabit the land and you must compete with them at collecting mana. There are many spells to learn and 50 worlds to save.
I first saw Magic Carpet at a friend's house in middle school. I was very impressed by the game as I watched him play, but found it very difficult to control when I had a turn, however, I got better as time went on. We beat the first 25 worlds and then gave up when we found that the second half of the game strips you of all your spells at the beginning of each new world. Years later I made an effort to try and beat the game entirely, and beat the first 25 worlds, then went on to beat a large portion of the later worlds, but eventually got so frustrated on one of them that I gave up.
I do not own the game, and have not beaten it, but I have beaten about 35 of the 50 levels.
Best Version: DOS
— This section contains spoilers! —
- The game has great graphics, sound, music, and animation.
- The ability to use spells like crater and earthquake and see the 3D landscape being altered in real-time was amazing at the time.
- While few PCs could handle it at the time, the high-res mode was really impressive.
- I really liked the idea of battling other wizards for mana and having to protect, not just your castle, but your hot air balloons, and claimed mana.
- Stealing mana from your opponents, and trashing their castles to see their mana rain down is a very gratifying experience.
- The interface is well-made and descriptive. I like how each spell has an icon.
- The network multiplayer, though difficult to setup, is a really nice addition.
- It takes awhile to become acclimated to flying the carpet, though I'm not sure how to fix this.
- Some of the later levels are obnoxiously difficult. World 31 is filled with griffons and you have to avoid them for a very long time without a castle or lightning. World 33 is a large maze that has no room for a castle and is full of very dangerous monsters. Every time they kill you, you must start the world over from scratch!
- Like pretty much every game that tried before it, the 3D just doesn't work.
The North American box art has a magic-carpet-riding wizard shooting lightning at a wyvren with a Middle Eastern city off in the distant sandy hills. It obviously matches the game play, and I like the lettering, but the photo of the wizard is a bit cheesy looking. It would probably be better as a painting.
An expansion called Magic Carpet: Hidden Worlds was created a year after the original was released which feature more worlds, spells, monsters. Later still Magic Carpet Plus was released which combined the original and the expansion.