Magic the Gathering: Battlemage review by Al Giovetti


By Al Giovetti, 03/09/97
Genre: action strategy
Developer: Realtime Productions (Relative?)
Lead Artist:
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment Inc.
Phone: 516-759-7900
Requirements: Pentium, 75 MHz, 16 MB RAM, 90 MB hard disk drive space, 2X CD ROM, Windows 95, 2MB DirectX compatible PCI video, mouse, Macintosh

Magic the Gathering: Battlemage


There has been a lot of infighting between Microprose and Acclaim over this title including law suits, settlements, alleged broken settlements and counter suits. And amid all this financial mayhem and madness, the combat of the cards continues. This is a game that attempts to meld real-time strategy of Blizzard's Warcraft and Westwood's Command and Conquer with the classic card combat game, which has caused a sensation.

Acclaim's Magic: The Gathering: Battlemage the computer game is based upon a trading card game of the same name which is the property of Wizards of the Coast ( This card game has sold over one billion cards in six languages since it was introduced over five years ago. There is also a significant appeal to collectors with this card set. Many of the cards go out of print and increase in value due to their play value and power in the game. Single cards may sell for as much as $200 in good condition.

Company Line

A maniacal warmonger, Six powerful wizards, and legions of magical beasts.... Welcome to Magic: The Gathering - BattleMage

A devastating planeswalker war rages across the continent of Corondor. Ravidel, a mighty planeswalker, has gone insane from grief and betrayal. He now seeks the destruction of all other planeswalkers and the conquest of the land itself.

Ravidel hatches a diabolical plot to lure the universe's most powerful wizards to Corondor, trap them there, and force them to battle each other until they are weak enough to be picked off one by one.

Three of these wizards are Conquerors, who wish to take the mana-rich land for themselves. The other three are Defenders, who seek to protect the land and the people of Corondor from this onslaught.

Thus begins Acclaim Entertainment's Magic: The Gathering-BattleMage, a war of wits and wizardry that pits up to four players in head-to-head combat. Players face off on one of 30 richly detailed battlefields of varying terrain. Every spell, artifact, enchantment and creature is enhanced with stunning graphics, and each creature summoned in the game can be commanded to attack the enemy or defend an oncoming assault.

Acclaim's Magic: The Gathering - BattleMage offers real-time gameplay and a striking environment that immerses players into the action and drama of these magical duels. Adding time and spatial dimensions to the game are strategies such as using the terrain to protect a weak flank from sneak attack, or luring enemy forces into a deadly trap.

Magic: The Gathering - BattleMage offers gamers two modes of play. The Duel Mode allows players to build a customized army of creatures and spells based on the fantasy adventure world of Magic: The Gathering. Players duel the computer or against up to three other players via local area network, modem or the Internet. Two Sony Playstation or Sega Saturn Gamers can take advantage of the game's split screen feature for head-to-head combat.

Players also can engage in Campaign Mode, a turn-based strategy game in which the player conquers territories and accumulates magical artifacts and spells in the midst of an epic planeswalker war. Throughout the Campaign, players interact with more than 90 beings from the Magic: The Gathering universe. These encounters can be advantageous, providing players with silver, spells, artifacts and clues; or adverse, resulting in a magical duel. Campaign Mode changes each time it is played; new spells can be found with each encounter, including the never-before-seen spells of Mirage.

The fully animated creatures and spells of Magic: The Gathering - BattleMage are like nothing hardcore Magic fans have seen!

Game Play

Many things about this game will cause frustration. The cards do not reveal their spell casting cost, special abilities, and power ratings unless you click them to turn them over one at a time which lets the real time computer run all over you. Your hand is cycled through one card at a time with only the information of one card visable. An option which allows you to see all the cards is plagued by a bug which makes it unplayable. (Accolade now has a bug patch on their site that proports to correct this problem.)

The game is very slow even on the quickest platforms. The computer artificial intelligence is too fast unless you really have the game mechanics down, so that the real time works to your disadvantage.

Features both solo campaigns and built-in multi-player capabilities for up to 4 players. There are more than 92 interactive encounters across 31 territories of Corondor. These encounters feature mini-stories that allow clever players to pick up important spells, cut deals with rival wizards, gain silver or even conquer or gain the favor of a full territory.

Major roles for characters made famous in the Magic: The Gathering card game, including Tevesh Szat and Leshrac (from Ice Age), Dakkon Blackblade and Sol'Kanar the Swamp King (from Legends) and the Anaba Minotaur (from Homelands). The final confrontation between popular Magic characters, the Shadow Mage Jared Carthalion, and the BattleMage Ravidel.

When dueling, the two wizards are never on the same screen at the same time. You must use the W to keep the wizard in view.


You vie with other wizards to control the land.


The graphics are wonderful featuring artwork from more than 200 of the most popular Magic: The Gathering cards. Screen after screen of beautiful pictures, and control displays that lack function adorn the game.


There is a lot of clever and exceptionally done multi-frame animation. Goblins swing swords, Grizzly Bears fight in their hind legs, The lightning bolt cloud drifts over its intended target, and many other nice animations.

Voice Actors

Music Score

Sound Effects


A deck builder utility allows you to build a deck of seven cards for deuling. The utility requires altogether too many clicks to see the cards and may result in carpel tunnel syndrome.

Multi-player Features

Supports multiplayer campaigns on the PC via local area network for up to four players on IPX LAN, modem-to-modem for two players, or the Internet using the Kali shareware driver. Two Sony Playstation or Sega Saturn Gamers will be able to take advantage of the game's split-screen feature for head-to-head combat.

Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough


The status of future game packs and scenerios is in doubt in the face of the bad press that the game has received.


Tim says do not buy this game. Mike says this is a "terrible game."

Please send us your review or preview text by email to publish right here.


Tim Royal, Computer Games, issue 77, March, 1997, pg. 60, 20%.
Bob Proctor, Computer Gaming World, issue 154, pg. 158, 50%.
Mike Wolf, PC Gamer, volume 1, number 5, May, 1997, pg. 102 - 103, 30%.
Magic the Gathering Battlemage Acclaim web site


From: Bob Schwartz
Can I get the game Magic the Gathering:Battlemage by Realitive Production and the publisher is Acclaim Entertainment..for the MacIntosh. Thank you >

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