The sequel to the 1998 game Magic and Mayhem, Magic and Mayhem: The Art of Magic is a blend of fantasy role-playing game and real time strategy game. Playing as the young wizard Aurax, you stumble out of your hut on your birthday to find that your hangover is the least of your worries. Hastily taught magic by your sister, who quickly becomes another damsel in distress, Aurax must use his new-found spellcasting abilities to fight back the forces of chaos and save his sibling. Rather than simply just raining down magical death on his enemies, our young hero can summon creatures to fight for him. These creatures are then controlled in real-time and can do battle against enemy armies or creatures summoned by rival spell-casters. Receiving mixed reviews on its release, Magic and Mayhem: The Art of Magic will appeal to strategy game fans and gamers who prefer a fantasy setting.
The game will install with no issues on modern versions of Windows, simply insert the CD-ROM and follow all on-screen prompts to install the game. During the installation process, you will be prompted to install the Gamespy utility, you can safely skip this particular component. The Gamespy utility was used to facilitate online multiplayer within the game, however the service is now shut down.
Running the game
The game will run on modern PC’s generally without any issues. If you have a multi-monitor setup, disable all but your primary monitor before you launch the game. If you want to skip the introductory videos, you can press the Escape (Esc) key. Like many older games, Magic and Mayhem: The Art of Magic places save game files in the same directory it is installed to. If you have trouble saving your game, either run the game as administrator or change the permissions on the games directory to allow all users to have read/write access. For a tutorial on how to change folder permissions, click here.
Tweaking visual and audio quality
Magic and Mayhem isn’t the prettiest looking game, but there are several options you can tweak in-game to get the best visual quality possible. From the games main menu, choose “Options”. From this menu, you should generally choose the highest screen resolution available, that is 1024×768. All modern monitors should support this screen mode. Remember that the game is a 4:3 aspect ratio (non-widescreen) title and should run with borders at the left and right of the screen.
On the sound sub-menu you can turn spatialisation to high quality, true 3D sound to ON and sound samples to high quality too.
On the model sub-menu, choose “Skinned (high resolution)” for both creature models and special effects for the highest quality.
Finally, in the Game sub menu, move the “Max no. of lights” slider all the way to the right. You are now done with the options menu and you can start playing the game.
Although the Gamespy service that originally managed multiplayer games has long since shut down, it’s still possible to play Magic and Mayhem: The Art of Magic in multiplayer mode. By clicking on the Battle option and then choosing Multiplayer, you can host a game on your LAN (home network). You will need a copy of the game for each PC that wants to join. One PC should be host, this should be your most capable PC. To join a hosted game, all you need to know is the IP address of the PC on your home network. You can find that out by using the technique discussed here. Don’t forget to allow DirectPlay and Magic and Mayhem through your firewall, Windows Firewall will pop up an alert notifying you to do this, you may need to drop back to the desktop to confirm this alert before other players can connect.
Playing across the internet should also be possible, although it may require special configuration of your home router or firewall, or use of special software such as Hamachi.