System: Commodore 64
Title: The Magic Candle
Publisher: Mindcraft
Circa: 1989
Overall Rating:
 100 percent

The Magic Candle Title Screen


The best RPG. Ever.

As a kid, the moment I started playing it, I instantly got hooked. I would daydream about The Magic Candle in school every day, eagerly awaiting the time I would go home and resume my adventures in the world of Deruvia.


Behold Lukas! Thy adventure commences as you proceed to the court of King Rebnard, ruler of Deruvia.

Your adventure began a few days earlier, when you see a lone monk hanging a paper in the signpost on the road to Phaleng. Heroes Wanted. The Lands of Deruvia are in dire peril. A band of brave companions must be formed. Volunteers report to our royal castle. Rebnard, King of Deruvia. Moments later, from your hiding place, you see that paper shredded by a band of Orcs. For Deruvia is no longer a safe place for the children of light, with Orcs and Wolvinga wandering about the roads.

As a ranger, you have done a lot to serve the forest of Pheron. You have gazed upon the royal castle a many times, but have never left the forests. But you feel a sense of destiny, drawing you to King Rebnard's court.

The manual does a very good job to get you into the atmosphere. As you enter the castle, the manual further describes your experience. The splendor of the castle was more then he (Lukas [Ed]) had imagined: the towering ceiling, the intricate tapestries, the marble fountain in the main hall... Lukas saw the splendor, but could not marvel at it as he wished. A pall of gloom seemed to hang over the entire castle, damping everyone's spirit...

The game begins with you at King Rebnard's court. He summons you and tells you about the grave danger the Land of Deruvia is in. How those bands of Orcs you saw are trying to prevent the children of light from restoring the magic of the eternal candle. For if the candle fails, Dreax the Demon can escape the confinements of the flame, and Deruvia would be doomed. To make matters worse, the 44 guardians who attended to the candle and kept the flame burning, have all mysteriously disappeared! And the candle is melting. This does not look pretty.

The Magic Candle Kings Court

You have been chosen to gather a party of brave adventurers, and set out to prevent the escape of Dreax from the candle.

From the beginning, you can tell that this will be a very interactive game. You wander about the castle, freely exploring it and can talk to any NPCs (Non Player Characters) you encounter, asking for advice or for the latest rumors. Pay attention to what they say; The NPCs will often give you important clues. Read signs, inspect different elements in the environment. Your first task is to form your group of adventurers, one of the parts which I found the funnest part in the game. I played this game numerous times, each time experimenting with a different party, and each time the style of play was a bit different.

There are 12 brave heroes you can choose from initially while in the castle, and even more that you meet as the adventure progresses. All of the heroes have been aptly described in the manual, and were given a detailed biography with a good background story and a pinch of personality. From Sakar, the furious Dwarf Fighter, to Jimbo, the humble Halfling carpenter.

At the Knights' Room, you call forth the volunteers to interview them and examine their stats. Pay attention not only to the fighting skills such as dexterity and strength, but also to non fighting skills such as Charisma. Charisma is important in this game since some townsfolk will only talk to characters with a certain amount of charisma; Also, a character with a higher charisma will be able to negotiate better prices from merchants when buying supplies. To make the choosing process easier, the game lets you sort the potential candidates by their stats. So, for example, you can find out which hero has the highest bow skill or the lowest speed.

Races include Man, Wizard (I guess it's considered a race in this game), Elf, Dwarf and Halfling. Professions include Mage, Ranger, Fighter, Knight, Mercenary, Metalsmith, Gemcutter, Tailor and Carpenter.

The last 4 professions I mentioned deserve a closer look. RPGs don't usually include professions such as a carpenter or a tailor. While less beneficial in a fight, in Magic Candle these professions provide some useful advantages such as being able to build a shelter for the night or just work for gold.

You can probably do fine with most party combinations. I do recommend however, for your first game, to choose at least one Mage and one Fighter or Knight. If you really have trouble choosing, try this party: Min the Tailor for charisma and Tailoring, Sakar the furious fighter for the fighting skills, Ziyx and Eflun for Magic spells (Eflun has the very useful resurrect spell), and Alhan for his gemcutting profession and his skill with the bow. You can always change your group later (which is another great aspect of this game).

Magic Candle Party Creation

Thus as you can see, from the very beginning, the game is very, very immersive. I am not going to reveal how the story unravels, for that is for you to find out.

You have 800 days to save Deruvia.

Magic Candle Wilderness


The Magic Candle is a very sophisticated game. It might take you a bit to appreciate all the different things going on. You will encounter many interesting characters, both in towns and in the wilderness. Characters whom you can ask advice from, and whom can help you in your quest in some way. Or merchants to replenish your supplies. You will also encounter, of course, groups of monsters seeking to kill your party. Game includes a big, detailed, colorful map to aid you in your travels. Exploring is one of the most exciting parts of the game, for you never know what you will run into next. Villages, Temples, Dungeons, Towers- it's all in there.

When exploring the wilderness, you have to take into account the terrain type as you plan your journey. Always opt to travel on roads and bridges, for other types of terrains such as marshes or glaciers are more treacherous and require more time to travel. Certain spells, such as Teleport and Waterwalking, will help you get faster through certain obstacles. Also, there are patrols along the way. You can use a Locate spell to reveal an enemy patrol. When you attack (or are attacked by) a patrol, you enter combat mode. But not only will you be meeting enemy soldiers. You will also run into all sorts of interesting characters with which you can conversate and get some clues to help you accomplish your objective.

The Magic Candle Road Encounter

Combat is fun with fast paced, turn based, action. I have found the enemy AI to be quite challenging. Some monsters will decide to attack the easier targets. Other monsters will decide to attack the more dangerous targets, or the magic casters.

There are over 25 types of monsters, including Orcs, Goblins, Cyclops, Death Knights and many more. but they can be divided into 4 main categories: Soldiers (Close combat melee), Beasts (Also close combat), Archers (ranged combat) and Thaumaturges (demonical magic users). Each combat requires the correct strategy to prevent your party from being slaughtered. There are many types of weapons, spells, armors, potions, mushrooms, and herbs that you can use to aid you in your combat. Luckily, the manual does a good job at explaining what the effect of each item is. Using skills during a fight gives you a chance to increase those skills. After a fight, if your party is badly hurt, you should head into the nearest town to rest.

You will spend a lot of time in towns. There are a lot of things you can do in town. One of the most important things is to gather information from the townsfolk. This game has a great story to it, and you can find out more by talking to various NPCs. Some give out crucial information for the success of your mission. When you meet NPCs, you can greet them (which in many cases lets you know their name), ask them for advice, ask them for any rumors they have heard, or ask them about any topic if you think that they have knowledge of it. You can even offer a bribe to some. Some will direct you to other NPCs, tell you who to talk to and what to ask them about. I recommend that you take notes; For you won't be able to remember everything they tell you. Some give you very specific information, for example Belazar, in the royal castle, tells you to ask Father Orbonn in Port Avur about Zirvanad. When you later run into Father Orbonn, you have to specifically type in the word Zirvanad when talking to him. Many NPCs will send you on side quests, and believe me, there are a lot of side quests to be done in this game. And some good puzzle solving.

Aside from conversating, there is a lot more ro do in town. Go to the tavern to have a bite and a sip. Go research in the library. Go to schools to improve your skills. Visit merchants to restock on your supplies. Go gambling on a game of dice (But try not to gamble away all your money... you need it to save the world, remember?)

The Magic Candle Merchant Shop

Let's have a look at what makes this game even more special. There is a lot of liveliness and realism to the world. And you can do things that you cannot usually do in other RPGs. First off, you can split your party. For example, you can have your Mages study at the school of magic while your gem cutter is earning gold coins and Lukas is gathering information (and the Dwarf Warrior is probably in the tavern getting drunk). Your characters need to eat, rest and sleep, just like in the real world. Weapons suffer wear and tear and must be repaired. Time is an important factor in this game. Shops close during the night and re-open at dawn. NPCs have schedules and can be one place in the morning and move to a different place in the evening. You cannot enter random residences, you need to knock and know who you are looking for.

And just wait until you experience the breathtaking end sequence.

This world is truly alive.




You can use a joystick or the keyboard. Move the joystick until the command you wish to perform is highlighted. Then press the button and choose the direction in which to perform that action. As easy as 1-2-3. With the keyboard, you can instead press the key corresponding to the first character of the action, and then press a cursor key to determine direction. Depending on the situations, there will be different actions available. The manual is very comprehensive and does an excellent job explaining all the actions you can take.

The Magic Candle Town


I find this style of graphics great. The wilderness is very detailed, and the towns are very picturesque. Characters are shown sitting on chairs, standing, or sleeping in their beds. Torches flicker as the sun sets in. Water ripples. Lava bubbles. All these effects do a great deal in adding to the atmosphere and bringing the world to life.

Sound Effects & Music

Classic old school RPG sound effects. Very cool.


Not many have heard of this game. But all those who have played it immediately got hooked. I have a friend who asked his parents to get him the game Might and Magic  for Christmas when he was a kid. But his parents mistakenly got him The Magic Candle. He told me how this was the best gift mistake that had happened to him in his life, for this game was so great.

Summary/Author’s Take

The Magic Candle has all the elements of a successful RPG. A good plot and a huge, live, immersive world without too much hack and slash. This has got to be the best RPG. Ever.



100 percent

Intriguing background story. Excellent development of the plot through dialogs with NPCs. 


100 percent

This world is alive.





100 percent

Game is sophisticated, but controls are very easy to learn. Very comprehensive instructions manual.


100 percent

Very picturesque. Great atmosphere.

SFX and Music

95 percent

Cool Old School.


80 percent

The word 'Magic' in an RPG title is more readily associated with 'Might and Magic'.


100 percent

I rarely give out 100% to a game. But this one deserves it.

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